First let me say, I have NO complaints about the 1.8 Turbo 4-cylinder engine. It has been a wonderful, reliable, engine. I have always used synthetic oil and its just been great. My only nitpicking would be that it "sounds" like a 4-cylinder when idling (sewing machine?). Next: The Aisin automatic transmission. WOW!. About a year ago, the car (long story short) got bottomed out and the transmission got slammed into the road. I didn't think anything of it as it continued to work fine. When I took it for servicing much later on, the mechanic discovered that the transmission casing was cracked and like half of the fluid was gone! The transmission still worked fine! (but i did replace it).
Obviously based on what I said above, the car's most vital components (the engine and transmission) are VERY TOUGH. The mechanic that discovered my war-torn transmission was very impressed that it still worked fine. I really love the interior of this car. Even in older age, she still draws "nice car" compliments when people slide into the black leather seats. The gauge cluster is gorgeous at night (indigo blues and nice red) and every, and I mean every, button and symbol is lighted at night. The gauge cluster still rivals any brand new car's. All in all, its that German build quality and attention to detail that drew me to this car and that's the reason I still love her.
When I heard that the 2012 Passat won car of the year, I felt like a proud parent. I really did.
I've had the typical maintenance annoyances such as the timing belt and one of the CV joints. Also, the engine is very, very small when you think about it. It's a 1.8 liter. With that said, in its older age I think she's still a pretty refined old girl. I see these things for sale at dealerships still looking like new! They are well built, they don't "feel" old when compared to the new cars. The design, features, driving dynamics, etc all feels as up to date as anything. I recently had a brand new Dodge Charger rental car and 100% think my 110,000 mile Passat drove nicer and felt more sturdy.