Volkswagen Passat Saloon 2000 - 2005

Volkswagen Passat Saloon 2000 - 2005

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Very comfortable
  • Well constructed interiors using high quality materials
  • Good engines all round


  • Conservative styling
  • Not overly thrilling to drive


The Volkswagen Passat has been revised rather than being completely redesigned, but this isn't all bad news as it is feels extremely well constructed, is very comfortable and uses high quality materials inside. The handling is good especially on motorways, but it is never likely to thrill you. The Passat is better as a cruising vehicle especially when fitted with one of the excellent diesel engines available especially the 1.9-litre diesel producing 130bhp.

Exterior and Interior

The Passat comes in two body shapes, an estate and saloon, with both being good looking cars that are well built and extremely comfortable inside. Both models can seat four adults easily with five being more of a squeeze. The seats are all comfortable and very supportive making even the longest of journeys enjoyable. There is plenty of storage space in both models with the large boots being able to swallow everyone's luggage easily. The back seats split and fold down to increase the load space further to accommodate and oddly shaped items of luggage. The cabin comes with little storage pockets scattered throughout in the form of door pockets, cubby holes and a glove box. The quality of the interior trim is impressive feeling both well built and solid to the touch with all the buttons and switches on the centre console being easy to use and is well laid out with the same being said of the dash. The trim levels are the S followed by the SE and the Sport. Even the entry level S comes with plenty of kit that includes ABS, an alarm, climate control, front and rear electric windows, driver and passenger airbags, side airbags, service indicator, roof rails and remote locking. The SE and Sport add a few extras and options such as traction control, cruise control, CD multichanger, alloy wheels and headlight washers.

Performance and Economy

The 2.0-litre petrol is good if a little loud achieving 32mpg and goes from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds. The 2.3-litre V5 and 2.8-litre V6 offer better performance going from 0-60mph in 8.6 and 7.6 seconds respectively, but the efficiency suffers with the 2.3-litre achieving 30mpg and the 2.8-litre just 26mpg. The 4.0-litre W8 is one hell of an engine, but a bit mad in a car like the Passat with its 271bhp propelling the car from a standing start to 60mph in just 6.3 seconds. This may sound like fun, but the down side is that it only just manages to get into the low 20's for fuel efficiency. The 1.8-litre is the pick of the petrol lineup being both refined and strong if not the most fuel efficient, but it does achieve 34mpg which is the best in the petrol lineup and is no slouch either going from 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds. All the diesel engines are good, quick, refined and smooth even the entry level 100bhp 1.9-litre which achieves an impressive 50mpg, but does take 12 seconds to go from 0-60mph. The 130bhp 1.9-litre is better and the pick of the diesels. As well offering excellent economy at 38mpg it is surprisingly quick at 9.6 seconds from 0-60mph. The top of the range 2.5 V6 is powerful, but isn't that much quicker than the 130bhp 1.9-litre at 9.3 seconds from 0-60mph and the fuel efficiency drops away to 40mpg for only a few split seconds of extra speed.

Like to Drive

The Passat is a great cruiser thanks to all of its powerful and refined engines and with a well insulated cabin that keeps out all wind, road and engine noise. Because of this on motorways it is great to drive soaking up the miles and bumps with ease. However, it's when you get to more twisty roads that the Passat isn't as good. In the corners the handling is messy and there is a lot of body roll, but apart from that there is not much wrong with its handling.

Faults and Repairs

The Passat is a well constructed vehicle that shouldn't rattle even a decade later, but there are a few problems that you should be aware of. The suspension suffers more than most so listen out for any worrying sounds when test driving one and also make sure it drives straight and true. Other faults include problems with the electrics so check everything as well as with the gearbox and the catalytic converters which can fail on diesel engines. When servicing the smaller engined models will work out cheaper than the bigger 2.8-litre V6 and the 4.0-litre W8 and the same can be said when it comes to repairing them too. You can always use an independent VW specialist that should help to keep costs down.