Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon

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1996 Volkswagen Passat
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1996 Volkswagen Passat

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The Passat has never sold well in the United States. Weak engines plagued the early editions, ineffective marketing has played a role, and a muddled brand identity that has defeated sales across the board have all contributed to this car's seemingly invisible presence on the sedan market. Of course, its plain-vanilla styling didn't let the Passat stand out for much recognition other than the lack of a grille on the nose.

Volkswagen has been trying to change things lately, and the Passat has received a good bit of attention. The 2.8-liter V6 that has literally transformed Volkswagen's lineup from staid German sedans to road cars brimming with vitality was transplanted into the Passat. Last year, a revised exterior design gave this Volkswagen more character, and included a grille for the first time. Passats came fully loaded in one trim level for 1995; the only options were an automatic transmission, a sunroof and a CD player. Antilock brakes and traction control were standard equipment. With a singular GLX trim level, fresh styling, and renewed performance ability, Volkswagen focused the Passat's mission, and became the focus of people who appreciate quick, well-equipped German cars. Priced in the low 20's, and equipped with a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, the Passat GLX was a real bargain.

It seems Volkswagen has decided to fiddle with the Passat recipe again, and we fear that the focus placed on the excellent GLX will become blurred with the arrival of newcomers. Late last year, a bare-bones entry-level Passat GLS debuted with the meager 2.0-liter four cylinder from the Golf. At $18,000, the GLS is no match for the Ford Contour SE, which offers the same tight European driving manners and a whole lot more speed for the same price. Even Volkswagen's own Jetta GLS makes better sense, and you lose little interior room in the swap to the smaller VW sedan.

Later in 1996, a TDI (Turbo Direct Injection) diesel model will arrive. Volkswagen says this is one diesel that will be quick, clean and quiet. We've followed a few test mules around on the streets of Tempe, Arizona and concur; the TDI loses nothing in acceleration ability to the GLS. Still, the hit-and-miss availability of diesel fuel and relatively low prices for gasoline in the United States make us wonder why VW thinks North America needs a diesel Passat.

The GLX is still the one and only Passat to consider, in our opinion. It continues to offer an excellent blend of value, performance and exclusivity, in either sedan or wagon format. So what do you think a fully loaded German sport sedan (or wagon) might cost? The base price of a new Passat GLX is roughly equivalent to the price of a well-equipped Taurus LX. Surprise, surprise. We think you ought to try the Passat whether or not performance is important to you. It's a good car at a fair price, with the ability to put a grin on your face every time you drive it.

1996 Highlights

Daytime running lights debut, two new colors are added to the palette, and a new price-leader GLS model powered by a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is introduced. Midyear, a Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel model appears in sedan and wagon form.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Volkswagen Passat.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

GLX Passat Wagon
Meghan M.,10/13/2010
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.
Ripper in disguise!
vwlover007,09/15/2014
1996 Passat B4v Wagon with 5 Speed Manual & VR6 6 Cylinder. Don't believe all these cry babies who trash a complete & awesome model car because of door handle/ lock and window regulator issues with this model..... This B4 Passat wagon is perhaps the most under car that VW ever made. This car in VR6 5 Speed form is fast ! and fun! it rips nicely and handles well too.! & The car has lots of cargo room. It looks nice!. Is very comfortable to drive. It has good AC & a nice glass two way sunroof. This car cruises nicely without effort and above 3500 rpm is a ripper! a hammer ready to throw down if need be ;) My car has excellent ABS Brakes and the front calipers and rotors are Beef SWEET!
96 Passat GLX
knoschese,05/29/2002
A solid performer from day one. Great acceleration, braking, stability. Extremely comfortable; easy to find "perfect" driving position for any driver. Kudos: Engine, handling, ergonomics, trunk capacity & storage space. Gripes: Very expensive, easily damaged, and hard-to-locate 215/50/15 tires; exterior door handles (I've had to replace two of them). I'd happily buy it all over again.
Love VWs
jrpuppies,06/23/2002
This is our second VW--the first was a Jetta GLX. We love these cars for their superior engineering, design and handling. They are reliable and need little repair. Just maintain them as recomended and they will run forever. The Jetta we had was totaled in an accident and we were awarded $9000-- that was great it had 106000 miles on it and was running like a top.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
172 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
31 city / 41 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Diesel
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
See all Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 1996 Volkswagen Passat
Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon Overview

The Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon is offered in the following styles: GLX V6 4dr Wagon, and TDi 4dr Wagon.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon?

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Which used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagons are available in my area?

Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon.

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Can't find a used 1996 Volkswagen Passat Passat Wagon you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Passat for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $14,067.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $19,982.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Passat for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,802.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $12,669.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Volkswagen Passat?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Passat lease specials