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.
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!
Car drove great when running just like everyone says, tons of components (small, medium and large) fail just like everyone says. Instrument cluster failed, O2 sensor failed, all door and window mechanisms failed, wheel bearing failed, stereo failed, computer problems preventing inspection requiring resets that nobody (even the dealer) could manage to pull off, etc. etc. These cars have no re-sale value for a very good reason.
We bought our manual transmission GLX wagon new in 1996. The VR6 gets up and goes (with enough RPM's) and it handles GREAT!! The rear hatch seems to eat anything we try to put back there. We've replaced the clutch, one of the half-shafts and the front wheel bearings. ABS comes and goes (but the brakes still work). Fun car to drive. Not so great reliability (but not horrible either).
And I thought I had the only bad Passat! The Check Engine light comes on about once per month, with multiples of $100 consequences. Last month it was O2 sensor connector and it's ON AGAIN! Transmission leak fixed, but it's still losing fluid somewhere. Gas mileage nowhere near published w/ VR6. Wire came loose from drivers door handle, causing all power windows to roll down in pouring rain. Security system has not armed in some time - probably another broken wire. Don't let the battery get low, the computer will get reset. Previous car was 1985 GTI, traded in at 189,000 miles on this piece of junk. Been kicking myself ever since.