My 1997 Passat TDI has been great. There's no smoking or tat-tat-tat
engine stereotypes. The torque is high, so acceleration is quite good (better
than my '87 Saab 9000). The miracle is the gas mileage! The worst I've had
in 5 years is 41 mpg, while the best was 59.7 mpg on the highway in May
2002. Devoted use of synthetic oil and use of Amaco's 47 centane diesel
fuel has aided mpg. One quibble...the door handles are bad, but otherwise
maintenance has been very cheap, and only for expected items (brake pads,
scheduled timing belt replacement, etc.). Replacing the original Goodyear
tires with Michelins improved performance. Cold weather has been NO
problem at all.
40+ mpg city, as high as 59.7 mpg highway, nimble, responsive, peppy,
driving, low maintenance, Volkswagen/Audi's "Smart key" functions which
closes the windows & sunroof or opens them by twisting the key in the front
Some of the hardware could be designed better, no glove box, trunk lock
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