In 2008 I had the misfortune of writing off my Volkswagen Golf when a stag jumped out in front of me near to a place called Tearmann in Tír Chonaill. Believe it or not the stag came out of it okay, but the Golf was a goner. After a month or so of arguing with my insurance company about the worth of my Golf I eventually got a cheque and immediately I invested in a 2004 Volkswagen Passat with a 1.8 litre petrol engine.
I was used to a smaller machine but I still felt entirely familiar with the interior of the Passat. The front cabin was nearly identical to the Golf (except for maybe a little extra leg room).
The 2004 Passat was a comfortable machine, but the model I had was basic enough and it was missing what I consider one of the most important things a car's interior should have - a centre armrest.
The car itself drove very well and to be honest it never once let me down. At the same time that I had the Passat my wife was expecting our first child and I decided that the family needed another car. My wife took possession of the Passat and I purchased for myself a wonderful E39 5 Series BMW (I've since sold that too and my heart still yearns for it). It was at this stage that the BMW started getting used more often than the Passat and during the heavy snows of 2010 we went travelling to my family in Wexford for a few weeks. When we got back to Dublin we found the Passat covered in snow and the entire front passenger area was flooded. I checked the windows - nope they were closed. The doors were closed properly too. Where did this water come from? It was this stage that I stumbled upon what appears to be a common enough problem with the VW Passat - it leaks water in. Especially if there is a build up of leaves around the well surrounding the bonnet - so....let that be a lesson to any owners of that generation of Passat (1996-2005). All of this resulted in the electrics going bust in the car because the water rusted through the wire looms underneath the passenger floor. I did learn a lot from the experience though as I sat with a mechanic friend of mine and we tried figure out exactly what electrics were damaged and how exactly the leak occurred.
Despite all of these problems I managed to sell the Passat to a garage very quickly. Even after showing the problems to the garage they were eager to buy. The reason for this is because that Volkswagen made a very good and generally reliable car with the Passat. I kept in touch with the mechanic and he had a new loom in place in days and had it back in full working order - the car was sold to a happy new owner within days.
In general my experience with the Volkswagen Passat was good - despite this little yarn of mine. If you are looking at a buying a used Passat I will say that you could do a hell of a lot worse. Please remember though that no matter what you opt to buy we always say it's a good idea to bring someone in the know with you to inspect the vehicle.