2004 Volkswagen Phaeton Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine lineup, standard all-wheel drive, a features list Mercedes would be proud to call its own.
  • Low fuel economy, premium price for a non-premium brand.
Other years
Volkswagen Phaeton for Sale
List Price Estimate
$3,004 - $6,529

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Edmunds' Expert Review

It competes favorably with Germany's finest on nearly every level, but without the prestigious name it's hard to swallow the price.

2004 Highlights

The Phaeton is an all-new ultraluxury flagship sedan from Volkswagen.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Best Kept Secret in the Used Car Market
I purchased a used, certified model with 60,000 miles from a VW dealer. The superb materials and build quality make it seem hardly used. The buttons, carpets, leather surfaces, chrome, liners, etc all look new. The paint deserves special mention. My silver reflex paint scheme is beautiful. The car is comfortable, with ample room inside, especially the back seat area. The air suspension is sublime. This is the car to have on long trips. This car is truly exclusive, as less than 3,500 Phaetons were imported into the US. Thankfully the Phaeton remains in production, and obtaining parts is not a problem. Servicing by VW is a must. Recommend purchasing an extended warranty.
Better With Age
V8 4dr Sedan (4.2L 8cyl 6A)
I believe the style is beautiful and timeless, although it will pass as a Passat 99% of the time. Powerful engine, although it has a little drag as a result of its weight. Tech is terribly outdated, although upgrading is simple. Suspension is second only to RR Phantom on long stretches, although bumpy roads and sharp turns prove an obstacle. Small electronic issues will be endless. Cockpit is wonderful but I cant find an absolute sweetspot with seat adjustment. Interior lighting is magnificent. Basic headlights are ok, but the high beams are amazing on dark roads. Trunk space is easily largest in its class. Climate control is as good as it gets. Blind spots are large & intrusive. No rear view camera. Sound system is 9/10. Maintenance cost through dealership is a nightmare, but now with the car over a decade old, mechanics are privy to dealing with this type of car, and parts are easily accessible at great prices via eBay. I just replaced my front two struts for $1100 total (with diagnosis & labor). VW quoted me $3200 just to purchase the struts (without diagnosis & labor).
Bentley With VW Badges
V8 4dr Sedan (4.2L 8cyl 6A)
I've always wondered what it would be like to own a Bentley Continental Flying Spur. However, the price of a decent used one, currently around $65K is out of my budget. I knew the VW Phaeton was basically the same car minus the turbochargers. After shopping for a few months, I won the bid on eBay for a low mileage V8 model Phaeton at $11,800. My previous daily driver was a 1993 Mercedes 300CE cabriolet. The Phaeton is equal in build quality, more comfortable, has better audio, and handles better despite weighing 1,000 pounds more. The only drawback is gas mileage, which is about 4 MPG less than the Benz. The only modification I've made is adding Bluetooth capability. Updated on 1 June 2016 """""""""""""""""""""""""""" We've been using this VW as a daily driver for a year and 16,000 miles. Total mileage is now about 84,000. The only thing that broke in that period was the driver side rear window regulator. One of the the front passenger side upper control arm bushings wore out. Both items were fixed under the extended warranty. The car was in the VW shop for 3 days, mainly waiting for the warranty company (Solace) to provide the new control arms. The TPMS put up a "Flat Tyre" warning due to a nail and a screw in a rear tire. Tire was repaired and the TPMS went back to normal. If the spare tire is not kept fully pumped up, TPMS becomes unhappy. Looks like the 20-inch, 40 Series tires will be worn out in another 8,000 miles. That will yield less than 30,000 miles on this set. We're still very happy with this Phaeton.
Car as hobby
I craved this car for months, shopped for 6 months, and found a great deal, with remaining CPO warranty. The car is a dream to drive, and the ride unimaginably good. However, you learn that this is a finicky monster to maintain properly. The tires wore quickly because the alignment went out, and there are few places that no how to align it. Without a long term warranty? A transmission is 10K, and the wrong transmission fluid was spec'd when new. The speaker wires break. The regulators in the doors go bad starting at 60,000 miles. This is a car for people with money to burn, and two cars to drive. Oh yeah, the build quality is the burden of ownership, maintaining the dream.

Features & Specs

14 city / 21 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
335 hp @ 6500 rpm
11 city / 17 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
420 hp @ 6000 rpm
11 city / 17 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
420 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton features & specs
More about the 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton

Used 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton Overview

The Used 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton is offered in the following submodels: Phaeton Sedan. Available styles include V8 4dr Sedan (4.2L 8cyl 6A), W12 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl 5A), and Premiere Edition W12 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2004 Volkswagen Phaetons are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton.

Can't find a used 2004 Volkswagen Phaetons you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Phaeton for sale - 7 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $23,744.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $22,762.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Phaeton for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $23,316.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $15,948.

Should I lease or buy a 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton?

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.

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Check out Volkswagen Phaeton lease specials