2001 Volkswagen Passat GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)
If you have other cars, time and/or money to tinker, and want a nice and occasionally practical enthusiast's vehicle, the Passat 2.8 5-speed might fit the bill. As reliable daily transportation, not so much. Had issues with the cam tensioners, and I can see online that this is a frequent VW/Audi problem. Other problems with body hardware (back door not opening, trunk not closing, cornering light falling out), electrical, brakes, suspension, etc. It's great when it's great, but that's rarely the case. Actually, it's a very nice ride on the open road, but a beast in heavy city traffic. Next time, I'd sooner get a Mazda 3/6, or even a BMW 3-series for a small to mid-size sedan with a little sportiness. I will say that there is an active community that supports these B5 Passats, with online chat groups, and there are specialty shops that understand these cars and don't charge dealer prices. Just got quoted $800 for a clutch locally, and I hear of dealers charging several thousand for the same repair. Just no reason for it. If you buy a Passat used from a dealer, get the best warranty you can afford. You will need it, and soon! When checking the classifieds, it seems all of these have had a good deal of work done, and still have some issues, never being 100%, but still lasting quite a few miles, sometimes upwards of 250K. They sell in a tight range, not much more for relatively good shape vs. a fixer with potential. I'd say get it checked out first, but the average local mechanic is afraid of these cars, and for good reason.
Not only Forbes rank VW 1.8 Turbo 2001.5 New Passat as one of the top 10 makes and models that can drive reliably above 250,000 miles, but my owner experience point in this directions. This year model is the only one in the VW Passat history that the power train was built entirely on the Audi platform. While the chassis was extended from A4 and is shorter than A6, Passat the engine and transmission are one of the best power train Audi built ahead of its time. Many experts, not the jealous German auto-haters in America, called 1.8L turbo engine with torque and acceleration that beats smaller V6 engines - engineering Marvel. The Best Audi powertrain built my Passat keep going strongly, and adding mileage with flying colors.
For 127,000 miles driven understandably I needed to replace only wear and tear parts like twice the battery, front headlights, the alternator and of course - the belt, water pump and some other. This small turbo engine has remarkable performance and gas mileage and requires premium gasoline. The optimal economic speed is reaching 70 mpg and above when on cruise control achieved long trip average gas consumption of 34-35 mpg. On steep and long Altamon pass off Hwy 580 the driver need to only press a bit the accelerator engaging the turbo kick and this Passat/Audi engine takes you on the ride passing all vehicles in a short distance. This is how powerful is this engine marvel is. Drive handling is much better than competing Toyotas, Hondas, Mazdas and other mid-size sedans. 1.8Turbo Passat is much better performing car than the previous I own mid size cars from the most popular makes.
It drives, smell, looks like its Audi A4 cousin, and just as expensive to run and maintain. It is a great running car, with very good handling characteristics, it has an absolute classic style that I think will never get old. The interior although nice, is made of very poor quality. At the expensive of soft touch and expensive looking coverings, all of that starts to degrade, crack and rub off over time. There are rattles and squeaks happening that I notice does not happen on other cars of this year. The car has great gas mileage, but then its off set by the 1.8 T requires premium gas. It has great space for 5 and loads of head room. It's a great European car if it wasn't for the unreliability, cost of ownership, and expensive fill-ups. You could literally spend $1500 dollars on this car one month and in two months have another bill for 2K. I've had my VW experience so this will probably be the last VW product I purchase, and there is more to life than spending money on fixing a car..lol I rather bite the bullet and buy a Honda.
This car is a super fun and safe car. Lots of go, easy to manage, just all around a bad ass car. When it's not broken down. Mine had problem after problem. The transmission finally gave out at 172,000 and with that being 5,000 to replace plus $1000 for a catalytic converter and $1500 for a timing belt we sold it for scraps and got a reliable Honda. Fun to drive but hard on your wallet