For starters, I did not want to buy this car, but I was heavily pressured into by my parents for my car. I've owned it almost 2 years to the date and bought it for pretty cheap with about 105,000. I properly put oil in the car regularly and service it myself. Since I've owned it I've had to replace all the vacuum hose as it broke apart, the timing belt, 2 rotors, radiator fan, a number of hoses, gas cap, and now the motor (head gasket blew). I don't think i've driven it more than 7 consecutive months without something major going wrong. The first thing happened about 7 months after I had the car, I believe it was something along the lines of I was getting terrible mileage, the car was overheating when it wasn't moving, and I was losing a lot of oil. We fixed everything, a few months later the car stopped working while I was turning, the steering locked, and it was smoking, scarier than hell. We fixed that, which turned out to be a lot of stuff, the car had also run out of oil (I had put oil in it just a week before) and it gave me no warning whats so ever. We finally get everything done again, and a few months later i'm driving and the front bumper just decides to fall off, no warning, no sagging, I didn't hit anything, it just fell off while I was going about 60 mph. I replace the bumper and the bolts for it. About a month later everything is going ok and bam, blows a head gasket out of no where. Now i'm replacing the motor. All of this in just 20,000 miles. I'm now going to drive the car for about a month when i'm done fixing it and then i'm going to sell it. Im done with it. Also the parts are expensive.
I bought my 2005 GLS TDI new after test driving a base gas model. At the time, the gas and diesel models were the same price, the diesel mileage was far superior, and the cost of diesel was quite a bit less than gasoline so this was a no-brainer. Now, diesel is often more expensive than gasoline, and sometimes even 15-20% more, so the diesel advantage is not what it once was. Still, I like being able to go almost 600 miles on a fillup, and I love the power, reliability and longevity of this engine. I have 175,000 miles on my Passat and have not had a single repair bill outside of scheduled maintenance. The most expensive maintenance is the timing belt replacement every 80-100K miles. The car has excellent pickup, not as peppy as the gasoline Passat, but much better than most cars that I've driven, including V8s. The 10,000 mile interval for the synthetic oil change offsets the higher costs associated with changing the oil. This service, like most, is best performed by the owner, the dealer, or a shop specializing in German autos. Maintenance costs are slightly more expensive and servicing establishments more limited than Japanese, American, Korean or other cars, but the Passat spends very little time in the shop. I think that this has been an extremely economical car, but it drives as well or better than cars costing quite a bit more to purchase or maintain.
I purchased a used 2005 Volkswagen Passat in 2011, with just about 107k miles on it. Being a VW I expected repairs in the years to come, but not the frequency that I experienced. In less then 5 years of owning this car, I have spent over 7K in car repairs. Its one thing to fix normal wear and tear, such as replacing breaks, and worn out tires, but to replace the engine mounts, hinges on the trunk, the window panel,screws on the door which somehow fell off, replaced the air pump which had water in it, work done on the sunroof which seemed to have issues closing, exhaust problems in the car, the temperature gage which broke, and the hood rod. Basically one repair after another. I have never owned a car with this much constant repair issues. Probably the worst car I have owned, and best decision was to discard this car, which I should have done years ago. Imagine, taking it to the shop 7 times in the last 13 months I owned the vehicle, totaling over 4k in repairs. Again, wish I sold it years ago, I didn't. I learned my lesson, never buy a older car with extensive miles on it.