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.
I purchased my '02 Passat Wagon new. I ordered exactly what I wanted. 15 years later, it has 213K miles and I still love the car. I was so hopeful that the Chattanooga TN plant would produce a Passat wagon, but they cave to the SUV market and will produce the Atlas. I will look at the Atlas since I live in TN, but it's HUGE. I will look at the 2018 Tiguan, but it won't get the same gas mileage and it will look and drive like an SUV.....I will likely drive on with my beloved wagon for another 100K. The only stressful maintenance I had with the '02 Passat was ignition coil failure resulting in being towed. The fix was less than than $300 and the towing was ~$400. I love the Harpers VW dealership in Knoxville. All the maintenance has been routine and as reasonably priced as one can expect.