Volkswagen Passat (2005-2010)

When it comes to rock-solid reputations, few are as unshakeable as Volkswagen’s – emissions scandal notwithstanding. Whatever the segment, the company has a contender which is bought for its dependability, comfort and refinement. That’s exactly how it is with the German outfit’s fleet favourite, the Passat, offered in saloon and estate forms in a multitude of guises. But reliability isn’t always as good as that Volkswagen badge might have you believe and you won’t stand out from the crowd if you drive a Passat. You also won’t be excited by the Passat, but this is still a polished performer.

Key dates

5/05: The seventh-generation Passat saloon arrives (codenamed B6) with 1.6 FSi or 2.0-litre petrol engines along with 1.9 or 2.0 TDi units.

11/05: The estate goes on sale and a 3.2 V6 petrol engine joins the range.

6/06: A 2.0 TDi 170 engine appears.

2/07: The 300bhp 3.6-litre Passat R36 debuts.

4/08: The 1.6 FSi engine is replaced by the 1.4 TSi

10/08: The Passat Bluemotion 1.9 TDi arrives.

11/08: The Bluemotion 2.0 TDi appears.

5/09: The high-value R Line is introduced.


  • Oil pumps can fail prematurely, especially on diesel engines – but they go without warning so you can’t check them.
  • You can have four-wheel drive if you want; the 2.0 TDi 140 and 3.2 V6 petrol were offered with it. They’re rare though.
  • There are ECUs in the footwells; water leaks can lead to these failing, followed by lots of electrical problems
  • Without sensors, parking can be a nightmare, especially where saloons are concerned.
  • All cars come with an electronic parking brake, which doesn’t always release properly as the pads can stick to the disc.
  • Batteries can go flat because of a current drain somewhere, often the radio – which in itself can be highly unpredictable.
  • Premature and uneven tyre wear is common on Passats with Dunlop rubber.

We like

  • Build quality
  • Image
  • Engines
  • Spacious cabin
  • Choice
  • Equipment levels

We don’t like

  • High purchase costs
  • Bland design


Richard Dredge