Used 1999 Volkswagen Passat

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1999 Volkswagen Passat
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1999 Volkswagen Passat

Pros

  • Tight structure, fun-to-drive, comfortable seats, nice sound system, artful design, an Audi at Volkswagen prices.

Cons

  • Excessive squat and dive when accelerating and braking.
Volkswagen Passat years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The first-generation Passat 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 all contributed to this car's seemingly invisible presence in the market. Of course, the plain-vanilla styling of the original car 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, quality and sales during the original model's last few years. As a result, the first-generation Passat received a good bit of attention from consumers during its final months of availability. But it was getting stale quickly, so Volkswagen released a brand new one last year for Americans to ponder.

Two trim levels are available this year: the high-end GLX sedan and the entry-level GLS, which can be had in sedan or wagon bodywork. While the GLS sedan can be ordered with an optional V6 engine, the GLS V6 wagon, which was originally offered to support the extra weight of the defunct Synchro option, has been cancelled. The base GLS, which costs little more than a well-equipped Chevy Lumina, is powered by a zippy 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Not long ago, we drove a couple of sedans equipped this way, and the cars zoomed to 60 mph quickly when mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Some turbo lag was evident at low rpms, but otherwise, the engine was perfectly capable of hauling 3,100 pounds of Passat. Equipped with a Tiptronic automanual transmission, however, the Passat GLS lacked verve around town.

Opt for a full-boat GLX and you're buying the top-of-the-line Passat with all the trimmings, at about the same cost as a well-equipped Toyota Camry XLE V6. Due to the cancellation of Synchro, however, the front-wheel drive GLX will not be available until the spring of '99.

VW's Synchro all-wheel drive system, now named 4motion, will not be available on any Passat until the 2000 model year, but consumers may see the cars hitting dealer showrooms as early as the summer of 1999.

A runaway success in Europe, the new Passat deserves acclaim. Based on a stretched Audi A4 platform and using plenty of Audi parts in its construction, the new Passat looks, feels, smells and drives like a more substantial car than its price tag would lead you to expect.

Passat's contemporary styling will wear well into the new century. In fact, we find the Passat's design more pleasing than the similarly sized but more expensive and somewhat avant-garde Audi A6. Our test Passats drove nicely, were solidly constructed and had great sound systems. The suspension rolled too much in turns, but otherwise, the car was perfectly suited to both canyon running and grocery shopping with the kids.

Volkswagen wants to double Passat sales in the U.S. After a week with the GLS five-speed, we doubt they'll have trouble. In fact, a GLS wagon with a sunroof, the all-weather package and an attractive set of aftermarket alloy wheels would be our pick of the litter. So equipped, it would compete with a well-equipped Ford Taurus SE. In 2000, when it comes with all-wheel drive, it will compete with the Subaru Legacy Outback wagon, but with better looks and that coveted German handling. For now, all-wheel drive contenders will be shopping Subaru instead, but the Passat is still a great choice for those who don't need to worry about blizzards or boulders.

1999 Highlights

After promising the availability of all-wheel drive this year, Volkswagen, in a last-minute product change, has cancelled the Synchro all-wheel-drive option on all Passats for 1999 and will not be offering the GLS wagon with a V6 engine.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 Volkswagen Passat.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Most Low-Maintenance Car I've Ever Owned
waterwish,02/11/2011
I bought the 1999 Passat Wagon used in 2001 or so, with 24K miles on it. It had been an executive car at VW in Dearborn. It must have been charmed, because it was the lowest-maintenance car I've ever owned. I hardly had to spend a dime on that thing except for oil changes and some regular, reasonable maintenance. This was before VW decided to make everything so difficult to repair on all their cars, so the dealers could make a fortune off of consumers with silly repairs. I was able to do simple things like headlamp replacements myself. In 2004 I stupidly traded it for a new one at 0% financing and now I'm stuck with a lemon. Don't buy an '04 Passat Wagon!
my favorite car
m barbehenn,04/01/2016
I took good care of the car, followed the maintenance schedule, and it never let me down. Bought it when my daughter was 2.5, gave it to her when she turned 16, got it back when she went to college. Geared for the highway. Turbo boost at any speed. Still gets 33mpg.
Great car!
federico28,08/07/2014
bought my car in 2012 with 164k today it has 195k I went from Los Angeles to New York and came back again to L.A without any problem. When I bought the car I replaced the main things to avoid future big problems, I replaced timing belt water pump and a few other little things. After that I only replaced a few small things nothing major until today I had to replace the clutch which lasted more than I expected since I bought the car knowing that the clutch was at only 20%. For the price the year, this car was worth every penny, I use synthetic oil and this car never quit on me or let me down. I believe the key in this car if you bought it used is how the previous owner toked care of the car
Old Enough to Vote, and Still My Favorite
Kathryn,06/19/2016
After 13 years and 130,000 challenging miles, this is still my favorite car so far. Love the positive, detailed road feel, the steady handling, the get-up-and-go turbo, the seriously reliable FWD - keep the nose pointed in the direction you want to go and you'll get there, whatever the road surface or none. Excellent on tight, rough, winding Greek mountain roads as well as vast super highways at 90 mph. Very easy to learn exactly how long and wide it is, and parallel park on the first try with only millimeters to spare. Also, as a wagon, it can carry a phenomenal amount of Stuff and still have room for a dog and a child, with no change in handling. Some lesser items have been a problem: the rear window motors ate themselves up years ago and, since I rarely carry more than one passenger, I haven't felt the need to replace them. The sun roof has a mind of its own. Rarely, the transmission can be clunky when downshifting, but usually only once at low rpms, with weeks between; it has done this all its life. I rated reliability low not because of the car, but because of dealership repair and maintenance support. Be discerning; the nearest dealer did such a number on my car that I'd send it to the crusher before I took it back there. Luckily a new one opened fairly nearby (this is Texas, so 40 miles is 'fairly nearby') and their service is superb. If you need to use a non-dealer, find a VW-trained mechanic. It really does matter. I have no intention of replacing this car, and don't mind at all paying more than its current market value every few years for routine maintenance and age- and wear-related work (new headlights, vacuum hoses, suspension rebuilds - I do not believe in slowing down for corners). Parts can be expensive, but do not/not try to save by buying after-market cheap parts. It wants and needs OEM. The car has fairly low mileage because I also own a BMW 330 ci convertible, but the VW is my go-to car for any horse-feed hauling, transporting dogs to vets, Costco runs, or iffy weather of any sort: rain, snow, wind.
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Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 1999 Volkswagen Passat features & specs

Safety

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
    Good

More about the 1999 Volkswagen Passat
Used 1999 Volkswagen Passat Overview

The Used 1999 Volkswagen Passat is offered in the following submodels: Passat Sedan, Passat Wagon. Available styles include GLS 1.8T Turbo 4dr Wagon, GLS 1.8T Turbo 4dr Sedan, GLS V6 4dr Sedan, and GLX V6 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Volkswagen Passat?

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Which used 1999 Volkswagen Passats are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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