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Passat Wagon - 97/99 turbo

I am looking for a car and have come across two different passat wagons that are in my price range and both have under 150K miles. I haven’t gone to see them yet and am trying to do some research before I do. Edmunds seems to give them a 4/5 rating but says that the engine isn’t great. I have been trying to find a honda or toyota wagon but they are hard to come by and I only have about $2500 to spend. The passat seems great but I’m afraid that the repairs are going to be expensive. What do all of you think?

Thanks for your advise.

Run away form both. Late 90s was a bad time for VW. That’s why they’re cheap. Look for a Chevy or Ford in that price range.

Agree; the first major repair will cost you more than $2500. These cars are bad news.

A Chevy Cavalier or Ford Crown Victoria can be had in this price range and repairs on those are both less frequent and less expensive.

I agree with the others. A Passat is just another name for “money pit.”

A 97/99 anything could be a gamble and relying on info from Edmunds or other review sites to be the decision maker would be a mistake. An inspection pre-purchase or at a minimum, a lengthy test drive while paying close attention to how the car drives, shifts, accessory operation, etc is a must.

I would go for something a bit more generic; say a Crown Vic or Buick. With some footwork and patience you should be able to find a pretty decent ride for 2500 dollars.

For $2500 you won’t get much car. And you should have about $1000 handy for repairs that are likely with a cheap used car. So, if you have $3,500 available buy a $2500 car. If you have $2500 only, you are really looking for a $1500 car.

You should be able to find a Ford Escort wagon in your price range with some life left in it. Perhaps you should be looking for an old minivan. Lots of them around and for $2500 you might find an OK one.

An old Passat with a turbo on the motor, that has the potential to be a real expensive car to own.

The cost for parts alone on the engine is almost $6000, and the problems are across all years fo Passat 1.8T that you are interested in. I would pass on the Passat. I;m also skeptical of Hondas. and Toyotas, but only because they have high resale values. For $2500, you need to look for the newest car you an find i the best condition you can find. For $2500, you should concentrate on unpopular cars like a Chevy Cavalier, Buick Century, Chevy Malibu, or a Ford Contour, for instance. Maybe a Kia Rio. You could probably find a 2003 Cavalier in your price range. Also, look for a car that a senior citizen is selling. They tend to make them last longer to keep the total cost of ownership down. You can benefit from their attention to the car.