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
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.
I bought my 1997 Volkswagen Passat new in 1997 after having good luck with a 1989 Golf. However, the Passat has been of poor quality and I will never purchase another VW. Problems include the door handles, power windows and front end (tie rods, bearings). I get nervous when the "check engine light" is not on (faulty air pump, does not impact drving). It is a great handling car, it is roomy and I like the VR6 engine with the 5-speed manual transmission. I am at 135,000 miles and the next major repair will force me into a Honda or Toyota dealership.
How can I describe the worst car experience of my life. We bought this car used in '99 with 60K miles on it. Admittedly, we have driven many many highway miles and the car now has 196K on it but everything, everything has broken. We've replaced the brakes four times, two "super reliable Audi" transmissions (don't buy that sales feature), constant problems with door handles, constant front end problems, etc etc. We thought the car was cool and powerful- the best compromise for a growing family buying a station wagon. What we ended up with was a huge money pit that has not had the check engine light off for more than a week since we bought it.
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).