Planned to down size from 2 cars (Hondas) to 1 (wagon) in the next 2 years, but couldn't resist April's incentives. (Seems every one is paying about the same, less than invoice.) Also liked the fact that 05 Passats come fully equipped with options limited to 17" wheels and leather package. Chose 17" wheels. My independent mechanic, who always said buy Toyota or Honda, OK'd the Passat. He has seen no problems with newer Passats and described the TDI as one of the sweetest engines around. Hope reliability is as good as our 99 Accord. (Didn't expect same with 02 SI.) First full tank showed 28 mpg for mostly city driving. Trip meter makes you think it will be better. Expect mpg's to improve.
Like side/curtain airbags, the fit/ finish, which is equal to or better than our 99 Accord EX, and how it drives. Have to get used to low rpms on the tach and the diesel "hum" at speed. The Passat is 1" smaller than the Accord, so no "big car" adjustment needed. Rear/side visibility is great.
Tailgate release is annoying and could do without 2 ashtrays. Prefer storage for 1 or 2 CDs. Rear/side window tint could be darker, so had the windows tinted. (This may a southwest only issue.) Unsure about the red and blue night instument lighting. (Initially didn't like red display on Civic SI.)