Used 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon

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1997 Volkswagen Passat
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1997 Volkswagen Passat

Pros

  • Huge interior with lots of leg room, superb seats, excellent road manners

Cons

  • 2.8-liter V-6 responds sluggishly when harnessed to automatic transmission

Used 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon for Sale

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The Passat has never sold well in the United States. Weak original engine choices, ineffective early marketing efforts, and a muddled brand identity that defeated sales across the board have all contributed to this car's seemingly invisible presence in the 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 managed to increase brand awareness and sales lately, and the Passat has received a good bit of attention during the past few years. 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 four years ago. A couple years later, 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.

Marketers fiddled with the Passat recipe again last year, and we feared that the focus placed on the excellent GLX would become blurred with the arrival of newcomers. The bare-bones entry-level Passat GLS debuted with the meager 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the Golf. At $18,000, the GLS was 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 made better sense.

Later in 1996, a TDI (Turbo Direct Injection) diesel model arrived. Volkswagen said it was one quick, clean and quiet diesel. Still, the hit-and-miss availability of diesel fuel and relatively low prices for gasoline in the United States made us wonder why VW thinks North America needs a diesel Passat.

Evidently, the GLS idea didn't fly. It's gone for 1997. The TDI is still scarce, thanks to quality problems, and may not survive much longer in the U.S. market. This means buyers really have just one readily available choice when buying a Passat.

Fine and dandy, Jack. 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 GL. Surprise, surprise. We think you ought to try the Passat GLX 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.

1997 Highlights

GLS model vanishes from radar as Volkswagen prepares for launch of all-new Passat in mid-1997.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Volkswagen Passat.

Stay away!
A.W.,06/29/2002
Too many problems to specify. This car has been in the shop more times than all the other cars I have owned combined. The electrical system has failed numerous times. The sunroof track has broken four times. The AC and vent system has malfunctioned since I bought the vehicle. Luckily I purchased a used car warranty with the purchase. I have most definitely gotten my money's worth. I have heard from others who have also owned 1997 Passat wagons who have had as negative experiences as I. I am very VERY disappointed.
Anybody Want to Buy My Passat Wagon?
poskarp,02/02/2007
Although purchased used, this car was great until it reached its fifth birthday. Over the last five years this car has nickeled and dimed (or more accurately $500 and $1,000) us to death, especially with the pesky check engine light that has been diagnosed at least three times. I've put more into this wagon over the last five years than I did for my last two Toyotas which had double the mileage. So much for my European love affair, I'm going back to the orient where my cars have been reliable to over 150,000 miles
Love this car
DSL,08/09/2002
I have been really happy with my 1997 Volkswagon Passat Wagon. The only feature that I don't like is the electronic locking system which freezes every winter. Otherwise, it's a fun and good handling car.
Sporty but unreliable
So Cal Passat Driver,09/05/2002
Our Passat is like a race car; great high-performance fun to drive, but spends a lot of time in the mechanic's pit. Since buying ours in 1997 problems we’ve had include: 7 power window repairs; 4 oil leak repairs (still leaks oil); peeling interior door handles (replaced twice, still peeling); side-mirror control failure (twice); heater core failure; alternator failure; air conditioning failure (still doesn't work—real fun in summer!); check engine light regularly comes on (VW dealer will then charge you to fix problem, then the light comes on again as you're driving away-- 6 times so far for us, and the light is on again).
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Features & Specs

MPG
32 city / 42 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Diesel
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
172 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 1997 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 1997 Volkswagen Passat
Used 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon Overview

The Used 1997 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 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon?

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Which used 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagons are available in my area?

Used 1997 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 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon.

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Can't find a used 1997 Volkswagen Passat Passat Wagon you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Passat for sale - 12 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $9,487.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $22,516.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Passat for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $20,845.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $21,451.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 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