2002 Volkswagen Passat GLS V6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A)
I bought this vehicle when it was less than a year old and being used by the manager of the auto dealership where I when after my BMW 328i blew up and burned down my three car garage. It was low mileage, had the same color (Oriental Blue), had leather seats, and was well outfitted. It turned out to compare well with the BMW, except in three ways: the gas mileage was not as good, it was not as quiet, and the interior was not as well finished. I was satisfied with it until the Passat started having repair problems unusual in vehicles these days, such as broken axels (2) and several other major events that, I understand, just don't happen in cars these days. I have had to have it towed from distant locations to the garage at least twice. I like the car, but its maintenance has been expensive and I consider it unreliable. At the time I bought it, it was a new model and, as far as I know, there was no report available that evaluated it.
The Passat B5 GLX model, in Wagon form, is a perfectly-sized, pragmatically-safe, multi-task-capable vehicle sure to satisfy most anyone in need of a vehicle that has a variety of kid, pet, and/or material hauling. Or a perfect size even if you're not hauling anything. It's not too big; not too small. Just right. You can drive it all day long in complete comfort, knowing you are protected with plenty of airbags. This is an extremely safe, vault-like constructed vehicle. Smooth transmission delivery. Powerful V-6 engine. 24 mpg average gas mileage. Completely competent heat and AC. My only negative critique is the level of attention a Passat owner must assign to maintenance interval servicing; all typical of VW's in general. For example, drive axle shaft and transmission shaft oil seals will leak (as all oil seals eventually do) will leak with age, if not through accumulated miles, and must be replaced to prevent loss of gear oil and/or transmission fluid. It is worthwhile (important) to find a fair-priced VW dealer service provider OR better yet, a less-expensive competent independent VW service provider who "has your back" and has the experienced eye to inspect and diagnose with wisdom and efficiency. German cars are not cars to be neglected when it comes to preventive maintenance, with problems addressed promptly and correctly. It's just the way Germans design and build autos. Toyotas and Hondas can tolerate some neglect/abuse and delay with PM servicing, but not German cars. In return, though, you get to drive a car that delivers a much more rewarding experience. There you have it. I also own/drive a 2007 Cayman. Gotta love German engineering. They're not the least expensive to own, but I value the better driving experience, albeit with more frequent maint. service interval costs, over and above a typical Accord or Camry. But, to me, life's too short not to have a more rewarding daily driver. Of course, it doesn't hurt for me to be a Mech. Engineer capable of diagnosing and fixing most anything. I paid $6,200 for a near-mint 43K mile GLX two years ago. It's is a car that will last me forever. No need to consider any newer model. Buy the best condition/serviced car you can find/afford.