Written on: 23/03/2006 by Jimmski (2 reviews written)
Comfortable seats Cavernous boot Excellent family car Mainly reliable Xenon lights are superb Pretty good performance for its size of engine Reasonably good fuel consumption for size
Front wheels spin easily in the wet 1st/2nd gear gap in torque 6 speed box rather agricultural Not that quiet Handling doesn't inspire confidence Torque range at quite high revs for a diesel Can't manually adjust Xenon lights Build quality a bit suspect
Overall I really do like the Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI Sports car. Its a company car so when anything has gone wrong I haven't had to pay but so far I've had problems with a headlamp component (£250), air con component - it didn't demist properly(fixed under warranty) and the brake disks had corroded (prob due to keeping it outside but still not so good for a 3 year old car).
It has quite good performance for only a 1.9 engine - mid range is good for overtaking when in a petrol you'd not consider it unless you had a performance car. I get roughly 42mpg which is exactly what VW says it will get.
I'm not sure of the benefits of a 6-speed box. After all diesels are meant to be torque and the power range of the gears in the Passat is very narrow. You find yourself having to change down to 1st gear for a rolling start where in most diesels you'd get away with 2nd gear. It makes low speed driving rather jerky.
Also because you're changing gear so often the gaiter around the gearstick has worn badly in 3 years and you can go through a floor mat in around 6 months.
The interior does look rather severe in black and also dated but the controls are well places and easy. Apart from the cruise control. I have the multi-function steering wheel and the cruise control buttons are on the left whereas for me I'd prefer them on the right. My wife's Ford Focus has cruise that you can actually use on most roads because the button is responsive and on the right where I find it easier to use it. Passat's cruise is a bit unresponsive when reducing speed and really only any good on uncrowded A roads or motorways.
The xenon (optional) lights are very good but I get flashed a lot because you cannot manually adjust them. Be warned a xenon bulb costs around £150 + fitting (!) but does last way longer than a regular bulb.
The car is very spacious (almost Audi A6 size) with ample room for 5 adults and decent legroom in the back. The boot can cope with almost anything you can throw at it - very big and square.
The front seats are very comfy. The rear seats are rather hard and you sit on rather than in. Not a patch on an Audi A4 back seat or my wife's Focus.
The handling is OK but barge like. It is a big car and mine is the Sport with the so-called 15mm lowered suspension. I'd hate to think what the regular car is like! On fast sweeping bends and motorways the car is in its element. But it flounders on B roads. Having said that the ride is fairly compliant and not crashy.
In the wet its best to take it easy. I found that the quality and the newness of the tires plays a big role in safe wet road handling.
Breaks are good and don't fade to much.
As I said I do like this car despite what I've said here. Its a big friendly, rather good looking beast (mine's metallic red with rear privacy glass which goes well with the chrome window surrounds) that has decent road manners, ample overtaking performance (you can scare the odd Beemer!) and plenty of space for people and luggage.
My local VW dealer (Colbornes in Woking) has always been very good at carrying out services and any work.
I'd definitely consider the new Passat as a replacement.