Used 2001 Volkswagen Passat Sedan
- Fun-to-drive, excellent value in base trim, stronger 1.8T powerplant in mid-2001, roomy/comfortable interior, solid build quality, available all-wheel drive.
- Some confusing interior controls, price goes up quickly with options.
Edmunds' Expert Review
This is our favorite midsize sedan and wagon. Don't make your family vehicle choice without driving one.
Volkswagen has been busy recently, buying up smaller carmakers, designing 12- and 16-cylinder engines and creating a new line of luxury vehicles. But the company has also found time to tweak its already excellent Passat sedan and wagon for mid-2001.
The exterior styling of the 2001.5 Passat is sharper and more Audi-like than the previous iteration, with a chrome-trimmed grille, new clear-lens headlight and taillight clusters and integrated foglights. Volkswagen engineers also gave the car a more structurally rigid body, which will yield greater crashworthiness, better handling and tighter exterior panel fits. Of course, we already liked the Passat's physique, and those who like a few more rounded edges may want to stick with a 2001 model.
Base-trim Passats have become an even better value, as Volkswagen has given the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine a significant power boost. This engine now makes 170 horsepower (up from 150 for 2001) and a nearly lag-free 166 foot-pounds of torque (up from 155). This powerplant has always offered good acceleration (power upgrade or no), and it contributes to the Passat's overall grin factor.
The 2.8-liter V6 remains unchanged; it makes 190 horsepower and 206 ft-lbs of twist. Optional on Passat GLS models and standard on GLX models, this V6 puts the fun back in functional with its broad torque band and strong acceleration. Both engines can be mated to a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The latter transmission is an automanual, such that you can drive it as an automatic or shift the gears manually (no clutch, though!).
Regardless of drivetrain choice, all Passats offer superb steering, handling and braking. With ABS four-wheel discs standard on all trim levels, an independent front and rear suspension and perfectly weighted power rack-and-pinion steering, the Passat is one of the most entertaining midsize sedans or wagons. Some drivers might find body roll to be excessive during canyon runs, but overall the ride quality is excellent. Buyers in cold climates or seeking the stability of all-wheel drive can opt to equip their Passats with VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system.
Inside the 2001.5 models, drivers will find the familiar Passat trimmings with a few more upscale-type features: chrome-trimmed gauges, a telescoping steering wheel and an updated center console with a wider front armrest, two integrated cupholders and a compartmentalized storage area. The backseat also receives an integrated armrest with a cupholder and additional storage.
Of course, the Passat already offered an impressive list of standard features. Items like air conditioning, cruise control, one-touch power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, remote trunk release, full-size spare tire, side airbags and heated exterior mirrors are on the base GLS models. GLX trim adds the V6 engine, sunroof, heated front seats with driver seat memory, leather seat coverings and door inserts, variable intermittent wipers with heated jets and an auto-dimming day-night mirror. The new-for-2001 side curtain airbag system protects the heads of front and rear passengers. Seat-mounted side airbags for front passengers have been standard since the current-generation Passat was introduced in 1998.
These mid-year changes should only add to what is one of the best midsize sedans on the market. Based on a stretched Audi A4 platform and built with plenty of Audi parts, the Passat looks, feels and drives like a more substantial car than its base price tag would indicate. Mid-year styling updates should wear well in this new century and its solid construction should keep the car feeling new as the miles add up.
Before rushing out to buy that new Accord, Camry or Taurus, you'd do well to at least test-drive a Passat.
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Features & Specs
Used 2001 Volkswagen Passat Sedan Overview
The Used 2001 Volkswagen Passat Sedan is offered in the following styles: New GLS 1.8T 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A), GLS 1.8T 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A), New GLX V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), New GLS 1.8T 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), New GLX V6 4Motion AWD 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), GLS 1.8T 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), New GLX V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M), New GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), GLS V6 4Motion AWD 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), GLX V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M), GLX V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M), New GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M), GLX V6 4Motion AWD 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A), and New GLS V6 4Motion AWD 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A).
What's a good price on a Used 2001 Volkswagen Passat Sedan?
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Should I lease or buy a 2001 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.