Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews
I love my passat, I bought mine with 127K miles and it has 291K now. It's roomy, comfortable, and a pleasure to drive. Has good all around visibility. True the door handles are a pain and the window regulators go, but the car has never let me down and I get about 43 mpg average. It's paying for itself. Important to find a good diesel vw mechanic as most shops haven't a clue. My goal was to keep it until 300K, but I'm going as far as I don't have to do any major engine work. It's going to be a sad day when I retire this baby
I am quite familiar with a lot of the issues I have been reading. One thing I have noticed with this car is that proper maintenance and proper fluids such as G12 coolant, premium gasoline, and synthetic oil are necessary for longevity. I have rebuilt the engine and replaced all of the gaskets, timing chain and tensioner, water pump, and cv shaft. I am approaching about 160k miles and I am still in love! Though, my boyfriend and I are VW enthusiasts and do many of the repairs ourselves and it is definitely important to find a VW mechanic and NOT a dealership. I will say, if someone is looking into this car, be prepared for a good amount of maintenance.
I have been a VW fan since 65". This was my third VW, and my first wagon. I loved it, and still do, its had a few problems, door handles, wheel bearings, gears, speedometer, window motors, rust, spindles, locks, and Volkswagen scalloping back wheel wear. These w's, you either love em or hate them. This vehicle needs better headlamps, the plastic interior was shoddy, half of it busted. The cup holder snapped off, the glove box, broke, little thing like that can piss you off. The seat rails screwed up. The heated seats, were replaced but, the seats were never the same. The odometer went at 181 k, and it was 1200 bucks to fix. This car is fun to drive but you must have patience.
I've had this 1996 passat since it was brand new and it's been in the shop no more than 3 or 4 times. I have the car in a manual (I hate automatics) and the ORIGINAL clutch is still working perfectly. There's a little rust on the drivers side door, but I live in a heavily salted part of Vermont, so that's understandable. The fuel economy is great for such an old car (28-34 mpg). The gearing gets a little iffy on the highway with a 4 cylinder (it does 70mph at 3200 rpm). Overall a really nice car with a great audio system in a car that refuses to fail.
I purchased my '96 TDI used with 125k miles, and it has turned out to be one of the most dependable cars I've ever owned. It now has 273k miles on the original engine. I'm quite impressed for a diesel, it's much quieter than Mercedes, does not smoke, burn oil, and it consistently gets 42-48MPG. I drove from Sacramento to Kennewick Washington on ONE TANK of diesel. Over the years, the car has began to "age", and as such, the door handles are faulty and cease up, the cup holders broke off, lid to glove box broke, and AC switch broke one really hot summer day. Other than that, this is a very comfortable driving, easy handling automobile that I will drive until the doors fall off.