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'08 Volkswagen Passat a good choice?

I just had an '05 Saab 9-5 die/ engine gone. I’m selling it for a song to someone who can fix and resell… now I need another car and I am very enamored w/ a certain '08 VW Passat Wagon.

I fear buying it due to my Saab experience and it’s also Turbo charged engine and Passats have also had problems. I think the '08 is ok but I am not sure.

Should I buy the Passat? I am rather ‘stuck’ on it?

Additional note from original post: the source of my info on VW is Consumer Reports. They do not say NOT to buy '08 V6 Passat but they also do not say TO buy it. There are Passats from other yrs that they say DO NOT Buy.

Are you looking at the v6 or the turbo 4? Looking at CR, Passats have had a poor rating pretty much all years. Look at an Infiniti G35/37 or Acura TL instead.

And how did that Saab die after only 6 years? That’s amazing.

The VW is 4 year old used car. Whether it’s a good vehicle or not depends on how it was broken in, how it was driven and maintained, whether it’s suffered an accident or seen floodwaters, etc.

What’s wrong with the Saab? I’ve found the Saab engines to be very hardy. I have had bad luck with vw’s. Good luck.

You have to define “good choice”. It will be more fun to drive versus some other similar cars, but it will be less reliable. Which is more important?

No Passat is a good choice if you have to consider budgets and reliable operation. It might be marginally better than the SAAB in some respects, but an older Passat will drain your bank account just the same.

Look at Hyundais, Mazdas, and late model Ford Fusions.

Wow, thanks for all advice. Guess I should take my mind off Passat. It is fun to drive, has lots of room and seems extremely comfortable w/ good visibility unlike some wagons I tried. I can't get another car that will constantly cost me though.

My Saab engine died due to sludge buildup. I put tons of money in the car, ie it had lots of problems, but probably didn't properly change the oil during one 2yr period. I have seen alot on the internet re: this problem for even younger Saabs. Mine has 94k miles. $5500 to fix it. I guess the Saab likers would think I should fix it? I tried to get some money from GM but did not succeed.


I am very enamored w/ a certain '08 VW Passat Wagon.

That is dangerous. Keep emotions out of it and you have a better chance of making a good choice.

The best USED car will always be the one owned by someone who took good care of it and did all the maintenance.

Good Luck

Engine sludging is caused by failing to change the oil often enough based on driving habits and conditions.

My view of VW is vastly different from others. It's based on working for several VW dealers and seeing them day in and day out and not on a singular personal experience, internet complaints, and limited in scope surveys, etc. Personally, I think VW builds fine cars.

Note with many complaints there is a willingness to apply a standard one way but not the other. Example, and this applies to other makes also. Someone on this forum posed a benign question about a Recall on a GM car and a poster stated a Recall was a "sign of poor engineering and workmanship".

I then pose the question of does this poor engineering and workmanship standard apply to Hondas, Toyotas, et al. Based on the answer, apparently not.

For every single problem with a VW there will be a corresponding problem with (fill in the blank).

To texases: the Passat is 4 cyl turbo (2.0)

The VW (and Audi) 1.8T motor is a pretty tough motor - don't know if I can say the same for the W8- and I think the 2.0T is based on the 1.8T. The hardest thing to maintain is the turbo...but...if you maintain regular oil changes, and use synthetic oil, it should serve you well for a long time. My '01 1.8T is still running strong at 125K. It's my wife's daily driver, and when I drive it, I drive it like a race car, so it's had plenty of hard use.

I have to agree with OK4450 in both his posts. How long it will last depends on how it was broken in, and how it was maintained. IMO, VW's are no better nor worse than anything else out there. It's up to the owner to take care of them, and we all know some do much better than others...and their possessions reflect that.

ok4450 wrote:
Personally, I think VW builds fine cars.

My friends and acquaintances with Audis and VWs have tended to have weird intermittent problems that aren't easy to diagnose, especially electrical gremlins. In fact, on a long drive just the other weekend, I saw two cars with brake lights that were stuck on. Both were Audis. Also, I took a just-delivered Audi A6 on a test drive a few years ago, during which the radio went out and then the check-engine light came on. Let's just say I wasn't impressed.

i always start with the Consumers Reports frequency of repair records; when we were looking a few years ago i liked the look of the Passat, didn’t like the CU data or that so few of them were around in central Arizona- parts and experience are harder to find with a rare car. second thing is to look at the NHTSA complaints, service bulletins, recalls, etc. especially the complaints because they can give you some idea of things not addressed (yet) by recalls and service bulletins. ended up with a honda CRV and very pleased except for the mileage. i also tend to see any turbocharged engine as a potential wallet vacuum. for all my initial love of VWs (learned my mechanics on aircooled flat fours back in the day) i first started noticing that none of my non-VW owning friends spent so much time working on their cars. over time it just seems like, german engineering or not, they just don’t demonstrate what is needed to win my support back, and that is an obsession for finding and fixing any and all problems that show up in their products. good hunting.

I believe it is a good idea to remember that the data that Consumer Reports and most all data reporting services are dismal failures in that they fail to adjust or recognize the differences in those reporting the data.

While I do look at the data CR and others have, but I do not place much faith in them. Remember readers of Consumer Reports, which are the only ones reporting, are going to be a little different that those who don’t read those kind of magazines. They may be more likely to report a minor problem for example or maybe less likely to report it.

I don’t throw out all the data, but I don’t make my decision based on the compiled data without considering the weaknesses of the system.

Many of the cars I have owned were rated low by the media, but I had very good experiences with the same models that had been rated low.

IMO, one thing that I’ve noticed with reports and ratings like Consumer Reports isn’t so much that data is reported, but what people expect from the vehicle, and then what they report. Not a very well constructed sentence, that, so let me try an example:

You buy a Chevy, of whatever average to middle range, and it starts making a strange interior noise. A rumble at speed or something that’s clearly not mechanical - so not dangerous, maybe a piece of trim that isn’t quite right. Well, it’s a Chevy, after all, and sometimes those things happen. Not reported.

Any BMW buyer, the lowest of the low Beemer, that gets reported. Sometimes as a real problem, rather than a strange noise.

It’s all about expectations, and what people define as luxury, economical or just plain not worth messing with.

chaissos ,

Well explained.

While not perfect, CR data has lots to say regarding long term trends in model and brand reliability. VWs have on average about twice the problem rate as the Japanese cars, year in and year out. If I remember correctly it’s something like 60 problems per hundred over 5 years for VWs, vs. about 30 per hundred for Toyota, Honda, etc. There is a difference.