I've read some of the reviews for '02 Passats, sounds like a bunch of whining to me. I have an '00 wagon, V6, 5 spd, leather, sunroof. Great looking wagon, very roomy. Yes, it's expensive, if you get repairs done at the dealer. Don't be stupid, use an independent garage. I drive 25K a year, and have put 140K on a car that was a 3 yr old lease trade in with 48K miles. So I'm closing in on 190K. I just had the car checked out by a private mechanic. The check engine light came on about six weeks ago. I've been told that the catalytic converter is failing, but the mechanic said "just keep driving it, the car's in great condition". The car still has the original clutch.
This car flat out moves. 80 mph all day, no problems. Averages 27 mpg overall, 5 spd manual and the 2.8 V6 w/ 190 HP are a superb performing combo. Everyone who rides in this car all say the same thing "great car".
Too bad that VW had to make the new model Passat (2006 through 2009) so much bigger and therefore less reliable. The new Jetta Sport Wagon is the way to go !!!