Why I will never buy another VW. Replaced control arms twice in 80,000 miles. Bad ABS module, bad CCM, bad ECU, all oxygen sensors have been replaced, engine sludge problem, two bad window regulators, Emissions Workshop Errors all the time. Every two winters battery needs to be replaced. Took it to dealer for a check engine and was told I had 2 bad catalytic converters, $2,300. Had it scanned somewhere else and was told that it does have a catalytic error, but the dealer failed to mention several vacuum leak errors. I replaced $20 worth of vac hose, problem solved. Haven't had an error in 10,000 miles, this is a record!! Replacing the above parts with non OEM has helped a lot.
It is a great car for everyday use. I have mine for 6 years and I drove around 55K miles and it runs like a champ. These V6 engines are strong and hard to kill. The only thing I changed besides suspension, is timing ( which is normal every car, so is the oil), gaskets, thermostat, and water pump. Yes these are expensive parts, if you buy original like you should. I am a mechanic so every part I buy, I change it myself. This car is great for hauling cargo inside. So if you're looking for a first car and know something about how change little things and have budget limit to 5K, I suggest you get this car. Now it depends on a person, if you're planning on modifying like boosting, get a 1.8T, if not and want to have the car as a daily drive, get a V6. Why a V6 for a daily drive, because turbos are very expensive to replace, and you never know what the car went through with previous owner. You may also ask how is the mpg, well it's not perfect. After I changed the fuel pump and the filter, I started getting 13-15 in city, and 25-30 on highway at steady 60-70 mph, on premium 93 (recommended)
Overall, this has been an excellent vehicle. To me the most impressive aspect of the car is how it drives so well in snow & rain. I did have a few issues with the front end suspension around the 135,000 mile mark, but they have not come back since. Fuel economy has been as advertised averaging around 23 highway & 17 city. The exterior fit & finish is relatively decent, and the interior is so well built, it still looks almost like new. I've never driven anything but VWs. (I also have an 04 Passat Sedan). Keep in mind, VW is not like Honda/Toyota, VWs require a little more work, but will easily surpass the 500,000 mile mark. As long as you take care of a VW, it will take care of you.
this vehicle ran great first 80k miles. But the window fell out & a bunch of interior things broke while still considered a newer car. I read all the reviews on car. I got the car from friend knowing she was about to run into trouble with it. It was in good to fair condition. I bought it with another friend at a good price knowing we would be dumping a lot of $$$$ into it over the next few years who I knew could tackle the problems ahead. What I wasn't prepared for was everything happening at once AND PROBLEMS WITH the rack and pinion. I hope I spelled that right. If you are looking to buy a Passat 2000-2004 do a Vin history on it. If you're looking for a smart buy, this ain't it!
Great handling, comfortable and firm seats: I can drive from Florida to North Caroina in one day. And I am over 50. Power is good (I chipped up the motor). Brakes very good. Visibility is super. Small on the outside but plenty of room inside. Heat is adequate. AC still works and well!