By on December 3, 2015

Volkswagen has recently confessed admitted to a steep decline in sales this past November thanks to a 25-percent decline for the Volkswagen brand and a mind bending, 60-percent cliff dive for the soon-to-be replaced Volkswagen Passat.

Apparently, there are still plenty of 2015 Passats and Jettas available to loyal would-be owners along with a variety of other weird birds, such as the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Convertible and whatever dark backlot corner is still molderizing the aptly named Final Edition Volkswagen Eos.

All this corporate bloodletting brings on an interesting distinction for the Passat. You can now buy the very last, brand-new mid-sized sedan in America that is less than $15,000: a 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S with a 5-speed manual.

Should you?

My short answer is yes for an all-too-select few of the Best & Brightest.

If the car of your dreams is a large and fairly well appointed mid-size German sedan with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, no infotainment (but yes to Bluetooth), and a stickshift that almost maximizes your miles per gallon, do test drive a Passat. A 40-percent discount off MSRP is not a common day occurrence in the new car market, and I can see this exact type of vehicle working well with a specific set of folks.

Who exactly? Well, those of us who do a lot of traveling and could use all that room on a tight budget, for starters. Take that group and divide it buy the number of current Volkswagen owners who would be interested in this unique specimen, and you may have just enough interest to clear out the Volkswagen backlots in about six or seven months

In the world of road warriors, there are a few lucky drivers who pile up 30,000+ miles a year. These traveling folks want a car that can handle the rigors of highway driving with a lot of space, a suspension that doesn’t wallow like a late model Town Car, and has no serious noise issues. Highway miles aren’t exactly hellish on a vehicle. In fact, in the auction business, one of the more common formulas for auctioneers is to buy a relatively cheap midsize to fullsize car with 100,000 miles for around $5,000 to $7,000, then drive it until it hits around 250,000 miles.

You then sell that car for around $2,000, buy yourself another one, rinse and repeat. This method not only helps auctioneers easily track their mileage for tax purposes (a need for all self-employed road warriors), but also allows them to buy some of the more heavily discounted metal for a couple of quarters on the retail dollar.

Pontiac Bonnevilles, Hyundai Azeras, Saturn Auras and Toyota Solaras may be the bane of enthusiast tastes, but these vehicles have depreciation curves that make them pretty solid deals in the wholesale market. The public doesn’t want them, and that means there’s value to be had with these unloved rides. The same is true with this Passat, except it’s not used — just virtually impossible to sell at the moment.

Is a Volkswagen Passat S that can be had for less than $15,000 worth it to someone you know?

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109 Comments on “Is America’s Last $15,000 Midsize Sedan Worth It?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Dang Steve, now you have me thinking……..

    Haven’t purchased a VW since the early to mid 70’s, after our family had about a half-dozen starting in ’62. Couldn’t take the constant crap from the service department ‘advisors’ any longer. Plus the last Type IV had a multitude of issues.

    Two concerns regarding the Passat i) the fear of a VW out of warranty ii) why in a car that size, is it realistically only a 4 seater (due to not having a flat floor in the back)?

    Has VW experienced the same sales declines in Canada? Is there a comparable deal available up here?

    • 0 avatar
      andyinatl

      New VWs are not what they used to be in early 2000s; they don’t have any obvious expected issues anymore. My sister in law has a 2013 Passat TDI and it required absolutely nothing so far, other than oil changes and gas. While my Civic is in the shop getting deer hair plucked out of its side (along with few parts needing to be replaced due to impact), i’m driving around in the VW Jetta with same engine as this Passat and i must say i do like how it drives.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        As the owner of a 2010 5-cylinder VW with 70K incident free miles, I partially agree. That powertrain appears to be the best VW has offered here. Even so, some cracks are showing in the reliability record of the older MkVs in TrueDelta data, so I’d still want a solid 3 years of reliability data from there and Consumer Reports before buying a car with the 1.8T if I wanted to keep it beyond warranty/lease. I might make an exception for a $15K Passat though.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The recent spate of these new 1.8Ts with shearing camshafts has not been confidence inspiring. Reports of rear main seal oil weeping (due to malfunctioning PCV is what my money is on) is worrisome as well.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, you tell em Gtem! Ain’t nobody got time to deal with VW. Nothing they sell currently is confidence-inspiring in any way.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            But Corey, They look nifty. They ride nifty. They handle nifty. Shouldn’t an allowance be made for nifty? Besides, Wolfsburg now realizes it has to treat its dealers better than dirt, and there’s a now a chance the dealers will treat customers better than dirt. Isn’t that worth a look-see?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            No nifty allowance. The nifty went out the window about 1998 when they no longer looked nifty or unique.

            The dealers will be as crap as they always were, back to their old ways within a year. It’s not worth my hard-earned money.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            gtemnykh,
            Yup, that’s the type of stuff I’d be worried about with a new engine from a company with VW’s reliability history. In a couple of years, actual reliability data ought to demonstrate whether those issues are common enough to move the average.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            VW could also pull up sticks and go home.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I have had the pleasure of sitting in the back of one of these on a long trip. I am average height but above average weight cough..254..253..cough and I fit back there fine and also sat behind someone that was 6’4″ and had more space than I could have ever thought of. 4 would be great, 5 like all sedans would be better with smaller or should I say more average size folks.

    • 0 avatar
      Silverbird

      Ha ha ha – Same deal in Canada?
      NOPE.

      VW Canada is offering a “generous” $1,500 incentive on a base trendline (the closest to “S”) price of $24K.

      Lease deal is $269/mo for 48 months & $0 down.

      Lacking a truecar equivalent, it’s tough to see actual transaction prices, but I doubt dealers are giving more than a $1k off.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      We bought a 2014 Passat 1.8T as a delivery vehicle for our business, and it’s been trouble free. Now at 27k miles. Not quite the 150k mile test, but I have no doubt that it will make it to the end of the warranty period without issues. It’s been a great car – smooth, comfy, powerful-enough, surprisingly agile. Nice car.

      For $15k, to get a manual-transmission car with a back seat the size of S-class is both a bargain and a treat.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      We bought a 2014 Passat 1.8T as a delivery vehicle for our business, and it’s been trouble free. Now at 27k miles. Not quite the 150k mile test, but I have no doubt that it will make it to the end of the warranty period without issues. It’s been a great car – smooth, comfy, powerful-enough, surprisingly agile.

      For $15k, to get a car with a back seat the size of S-class is both a bargain and a treat. The manual transmission just adds to the appeal, in my book.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Or get one with an automatic, Nav and sunroof for 22K..That would be me. You really cant get that on anything else in its class at that price. Some are close but most with Nav and sunroof end up being around 25.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’m waiting for the $0 down/$199 lease on a manual Jetta (or Golf) wagon. Which means I’ll be waiting forever. But I can see a certain appeal of the current Jetta and Passat sedans, it’s just that I prefer a wagon to haul my rescue pups around in.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      This Monday I almost got a higher mileage 07 Passat Wagon with the 3.6 for $4200. Wagons have trouble selling these days so I stand especially clear of those that don’t have low miles. But if my family traveled with our two dogs, I would have been very tempted to pull that trigger. That Passat reminded me a lot of the last of the W211 wagons and the wholesale price was unbeatable.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    How can you possibly top a $15,000 Passat with a three year whole-car warranty? Drive maybe 15,000/year, and in three years, isn’t it likely that you can get at least $10,000 for it after the VW scandal dust has settled? So that works out to depreciation of about $1,650/year on a brand new full-size car with numerous amenities. You’d lose more than that the first day after you bought any other new vehicle. This is truly a no-brainer for the frugal.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I’m not sold on these cars as being reliable

      As long as you dont mind free but time wasting dealer visits. My Verano isnt costing me a dime of my actual money, but I’ve spent hours in shuttles, in rentals, in waiting at dealerships. It gets old pretty quick even if its covered.

      I am lucky to have a job where if I show up an hour late because my 1.8T camshaft sheared off, or my 2.0T puked all its coolant (alternate lives, same story) I can just work an hour late and all is square. But this lemon experience with a set start time would be grey hair or welfare inducing.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I like you, personally and otherwise, but that’s your own d@mn fault for being a GM loyalist.

        GM makes garbage vehicles and you should have driven that 2.0T Verano through the RenCen’s glass foyer by now, with a cow skull on the hood, mad max style, with a list of grievances for Mary “We won’t make any more crappy cars” by now, demanding a full refund plus extra monies for your pain & suffering.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          If it was a Jeep he could just drive it up the stairs!

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Come on DW, my car has been above and beyond crappy, for any automaker, whether its VW and their Germanic plastic water pump impellers, coil packs, etc. or just general GM malaiziness (I am trademarking this word! Called it!). Its a pile of crap, a true lemon, far worse than anyone would picture when hearing the phrase “I just bought a new GM car.”

          You know as well as I do that, as fun as it is to imagine Mad Max style retribution, that’s not practical. At best, to achieve what you describe in terms of restitution, I’d need to be filing suit. I decided that it wasn’t something I had the ability to pursue to the full extent. Lawyers aint cheap, the suit would likely take place in Ontario, I have a ton of professional commitments I cant be shirking to pursue this. Have I kind of let GM Canada win/get off easy by negotiating for and accepting for a full lease term extended comprehensive warranty and free onStar? Probably, yeah. Its still a huge pain in my rear when something goes wrong. But, I’m getting everything I can out of it until that turd goes back at lease end, and I decided that the fact that in 2.4 years, it will become utter lot poison that I’m not going to have to worry about selling, combined with the fact that I’m NOT out any actual money (I know, time is money, but I just have to write some of that off), its the best I can get out of it.

          All that being said, my points are valid, even more so based on my experience. Its a common thread here that you buy that

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You have the right answer Dave. Get through the lease and buy a truck at the end.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            weird, it submitted prematurely (that never happens to me!) and wont let me edit.

            Its a common thread here that you lease that 335i new so that when the HPFP goes, who cares its on warranty! You lease that GTI so when the windows stop going up and down, no big deal, dealer!

            My experience has been that an unreliable car, whether its on warranty or not, is a huge pain. Am I ticked off that GM Canada seems to have no accountability? Heck yeah. Have I “settled” with them on this case? Yeah, I got what seemed like the best deal I could short of suing them. But its not really fair to say that my GM loyalty (a bad habit I am in counselling for) is the cause of my issues.

            And just to reiterate, my point is this. Being on warranty doesn’t make up for an unreliable car.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I might be wrong but it appears to my eyes the front bumper on the K2XX pickups is part of the front clip and isn’t really a “separate” bumper per se. This is really the last straw with me for GM, might do certain older products of theirs but nothing new. Ever.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Ive purchased three new VW’s since 2008. The 08 Rabbit my daughter drives has 120K and has never needed any work….zero. The 2012 Jetta sportwagen tdi also had no issues. By September it had 47K so when the VW diesel scandal broke I found a dealer who gave me a fair trade in on a 2016 Golf sportwagen SE tsi. With my Neuspeed power module its got 200 hp and 250 ft lbs…..plenty for a 3000 lb daily driver. The new MQB platform and the MIB II infotainment system both work great.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Would you mind sharing what kinds of issues you’ve had with your Verano? My mother bought a 2012 (now has just over 30k) on it without incident. Should I be worried that it’ll implode on her? She tends to be a long-term keeper (10 years or so) when she buys a vehicle…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Dave has a 2.0T with a manual which is a rare bird indeed. The standard 2.4/auto should be fine, the only thing I seem to recall is a timing chain stretch issue which may not have been corrected by MY12.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’ve documented my issues in various comment sections along the way, but I cant remember which articles.

            Its been a pile though. A few obvious “Friday car” issues, misrouted hydraulic lines, rough metal finishing which caused shorts in wiring harnesses, a buzzy transmission that cannot seem to be diagnosed.

            The main issue seems to have been a faulty dual mass flywheel, which was replaced a few months ago. I had two incidents where the car refused to start, traced to faulty transmission/clutch wiring and sensors. A bunch more ominous CELs when out of town, away from close rescue. They replaced a pile of clutch position sensors, speed sensors, etc. Apparently those dual mass flywheels can have the opposite effect of what its supposed to be, causing excess vibrations., lunching all the sensors, and playing havoc with the car.

            My recent issues last week were both dealership screwups. I brought it in for an oil change and OnStar upgrade, and they managed to slightly dislodge a coolant line, and the car suddenly lost all its coolant while driving a few days later. I brought it in and they fixed it, but then the heater core was vaporlocked, so I had to take it back again. Really disappointing, they have been a decent shop till this.

            Basically though, it SEEMS (said with baited breath, knocking on wood) that the dual mass flywheel was the major contributing factor. This issue apparently also affects MT Cruzes sometimes, which is too bad, I think the Cruze is good solid, honest transportation. The 2.4 is of the ECOTEC line, and should be pretty solid for your mother. Build quality issues aside, the flywheel/MT seems to have caused most of my issues (yes, DW, I know the flywheel is probably a build quality issue). If it hasnt exhibited signs of being screwed together by morons in 3 years, I’d think you have a car thats probably a normal car.

            In summary though, the MT seems to be the cause of most of my problems, combining with this single vehicle seemingly built worse than most vehicles, regardless of brand. In a non-fanboyish way, I think a modern AT equipped GM vehicle is probably going to be fine, generally speaking.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      The problem is actually closing the deal. The last time I found a sweet deal like this through TrueCar, the dealer had an additional $1995 fee that he didn’t tell me about until I’d wired my deposit and was en route to pick the car up. He mentioned it casually on the phone: “a nineteen ninety-five competitive advertising fee”

      “Twenty bucks?” I replied.

      “No, nineteen, ninety-five. We have to add that to keep our quotes competitive.”

      Once I understood, we went back and forth with expletives for a while, and I found a different car elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        rcx141

        It’s scary that he must have tried that bait and switch on people that were OK with it

        • 0 avatar
          Thinkin...

          @rcx141: Absolutely. It actually took me about five minutes of back and forth to get him to say admit that it was two grand. He just mentioned it in passing:

          “So yeah, you’ve got the $18k TrueCar guaranteed price, plus our fees: $235 doc/title fee, $50 for a temp tag, nineteen ninety-five competitive advertising fee, and $XXX sales tax. You put $2000 down, so that will make the final wire, $2xxxx. See you this afternoon.”

          Luckily I don’t suck at math, so I noticed the final figure was way off. This was a massive dealer in NJ, so I’m sure that they make millions of dollars on this bit of fine print every year.

          The salesman was more than annoyed that I’d cracked the code, and then tried to tell me there would be a 4-6 week “processing time” for the refund of my deposit. After some choice words, and references to my attorney, the deposit was refunded the next day.

          Most surprising to me of all of this, is that I tried to contact TrueCar about it, and they genuinely could not have cared less. I just got the blanket “dealers are allowed to establish their own fee structure.” I tried to explain that this dealer was directly manipulating their system, offering what looked like great prices, undercutting local competition, and then just adding $2k right back on once buyers were on the hook. True Car seemed to think that practice was just peachy.

      • 0 avatar

        OMgoodness that is just priceless.

        “… We have to add that to keep our quotes competitive.”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m with Jeff Waingrow on this one. It is always better to buy something NEW with a factory warranty than to buy something used for the same money. If you need wheels, you need wheels.

      If you buy used, you buy someone else’s discards.

      If you’re willing to put money alongside the purchase price for higher maintenance and repair costs, then it becomes a personal choice.

      But if like so many of your peers you’re not awash in money, then frugality with the best warranty is the way to go. And that is NEW.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My wife has a Rabbit and I recently rented a new Golf. VW’s latest crop, especially with the new TSI engines, are really nice. I am hoping that this fiasco doesn’t kill their upcoming Tiguan or force them to cut more corners and return to the dark days of the MKIV. I think the next Tiguan will make an awesome family hauler.

    As for this, I personally would rather do a Jetta. If I am driving a ton of miles alone I don’t need a huge trunk and a backseat that can fit 3 linebackers. The Passat is huge without benefit- a CUV with a much smaller footprint would be way more practical, and the Jetta is no less functional. $15K though, yeesh. VW might be knocking on heaven’s door with this mess.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Totally worth it to me. The 1.8T is a little gem, especially when paired to the manual. The rest of the car is just fine. Roomy, great visibility, decent interior materials even if a bit dour at this S trim level. If you can get it for $15K, it covers a lot of the inevitable depreciation.

    However, all this rests on the assumption that the 1.8T doesn’t self-destruct within short order, and they haven’t been in our market long enough to know.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’d passat on it but would have to investigate any similar discount on a Tiguan.

  • avatar

    $15,000, 74 Months, 4% interest rate, $230 a month.

    Insurance – about $175 a month.

    Not bad for plebes.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      $175/mo for insurance? I spend $166/mo for three vehicles..2016 VW Golf SE Sportwagen, 2009 335d, and 2004 Nissan Titan in Thousand Oaks CA, not exactly a low cost area

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      $175/mo insurance? This is a NYC thing?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I think it’s a bad driver/bad credit score thing.

        I live less than three miles from Detroit, Michigan has expensive insurance because of how good minimum coverages are here, and I still pay less than that. I pay $1400 every six months for two vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s about double what I am paying, and I am overpaying on three bc PA is cognitively challenged.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I’m paying $230 per month for my wagon and Miata now that I’m back in Michigan. I had to get rid of collision and comprehensive on the wagon. Full coverage on it would have been another $90 per month. I was paying $185 in Washington, including $30 per month for full coverage. I understand why our rates are so high for our minimum, but why is collision and comprehensive so much more?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Because the insurance companies are trying to make back they money they lose on PIP (medical portion).

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Probably a HEMI thing.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        If you saw how people drive in NYC and Long Island, you would consider $175/month cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      I live in long island in a neighborhood with higher insurance rates due to people driving crazy pricey cars around (so liability is sky high here) and it only costs me $150 a month to insure my fully loaded Cayman S. Quotes for an accord or Camry ran less than the Porsche when I checked so I doubt the Passat would be more.

  • avatar
    Dan

    First, you’re describing a unicorn. Nobody wants a stick in this class of car. Cars.com lists all of 23 Passats – out of 7000 and change – so configured nationwide.

    Second, $15,000 isn’t data. It’s Truecar’s algorithmic extrapolation from insufficient data. This is a trim that sells in the low single digits monthly yet they claim to have 100+ sales as datapoints – and the cheapest one was $18,300.

    The cheapest cars.com listing for any new Passat, standard dealer scumbaggery about paperwork fees and leaving off destination and all, is $17,000

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      I live in Autotrader country. They have far better metrics, and TrueCar does far more business on the new side than Cars.com will ever realize.

      I also took the time to research their availability before writing this article. These cars are still out there. If it’s worth $15,000 for that certain someone they can have at it.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        OK. Autotrader lists 21 of 8,673 Passats in 1.8S stick trim, and 23 more as “S” stick. None of them, or the other 8,629 are listed anything close to $15,000 either.

        I get it, this is the textbook definition of an unsellable car, it’s been sitting in the back corner of the lot since April, the right guy on the right day could haggle it down to $15,000.

        It’s still a unicorn.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I didn’t want to make this write-up too long. But you know what? There is one other unique facet to this type of deal that makes the Passat even more attractive.

    You can upgrade it. Leather seats bolt right in, and I believe that even the interior door panels are interchangeable on the low-to-mid trim lines.

    Wanna spritz it up over time? Just go to a junkyard and find yourself a new set of seats and other interior appointments that are to your liking. I did this awhile back on a near-base Nissan Versa and it turned out fantastic. Leather instead of cloth. Upgraded door panels, wheels, tinted window, stereo upgrade. I bought a 2011 Versa that got wrecked by a lady who had liability only insurance for $1000, exchanged the good with the bad between the two, and sold the donor Versa for $1500.

    I didn’t mention this in the article because I didn’t want to make this one too long. When you read about this $15,000 VW, keep in mind that you can always upgrade if you want to drive a more loaded version. Just be patient, and you’ll find those opportunities. This is really a near-base car instead of a truly base one. That always helps considerably when it comes to the upgrading process.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Bluetooth but no infotainment, cloth seats, a stick and a peppy turbo engine in a midsize? That sounds perfect to me. The only upgrades I would want would be the uplevel headlamps VW seems to make for all their models, and a decent set of alloys.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      As a current owner of a 1996 Passat TDi with all of the typical VW foibles (headliner currently being held up with an entire box of stick pins), this deal intrigues me. And it’s unicorn season all year long!

      My most recent unicorn hunt involves an Acura TL with the inline 5-cylinder with a manual transmission; one that is not completely worn out.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Finally got a chance to play the Schultzie video… excellent!

    Sgt. Schultz has long been my hero. To this day I always have a spoon on or near my person “because you never know when you might run into a free meal!”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I wouldn’t assume Volkswagen will still be around for this car’s lifespan.

    Besides, this car’s value will be destroyed on resale, partly due to its badge.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This is a valid point too – who are you going to SELL this to when you’re done? Dealer wouldn’t want such manual basic lot poison from the worst PR time in VW history, and neither will anybody else.

      Few people want a no options car in a mid-size, and even fewer want that car to have a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        VW people have no love for the Passat either. It’s all about the Golf, and sometimes Jetta.

        I can’t imagine trying to sell my wife on buying a $15,000 Passat.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          She’d be like, “What’s wrong with you, and we are waiting for the Navigator.”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Now that she’s been driving a 3.5TT vehicle for over two years, that engine is her power baseline. Everything that she has driven that doesn’t have at least that much horsepower “feels slow”. I’ve created a monster.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You know what they say, bball…once she has Ecoboost she never goes back…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hahaha.

            Possibly. I think she would be fine with a 6.2L Yukon or Sierra.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Has she driven a real truck before? I’m wondering if after a couple years she’ll tire of the truckiness.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            We’ve had a Navigator for a weekend a few times, and 10 days on vacation. She’s liked it quite a bit. Maybe a few months of ownership will change her mind? I’d be fine with an MkT or D6 Aviator/Explorer once we have our current MkT for another few years.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        This is a car for someone who keeps them 20 years and pushes them well north of 200k miles.

        Well, if it was reliable, it would be…

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        It sounds like we are experiencing a buy-low-sell-high moment with VW.

        Nobody will care about the NOx “scandal” in a few years, all affected cars will either get crushed or fixed. Other brands will experience other “scandals” (a.k.a. media spaz attacks). You can bet on that.

        Go ahead and get a VW if you want one, or if it matches your shopping criteria. You’ll be getting a great deal on a very good car.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I think you guys overestimate how big of a deal this is to consumers. It is falsification and fraud on an extreme scale and it is inexcusable, but it’s not nearly as sensational to the buying public as GM’s ignition debacle or Toyota’s unintended acceleration incident.

        Beside which, this is a car you keep, not sell. Pretty much any base-model family sedan that isn’t an Accord (and even then…) is going to hose its owner upon resale. And assuming there aren’t major issues with the 1.8T, you should be able to keep it for quite a while.

        I do object to the fact that it’s a 5-speed manual. I think everything but the cheapest cars should have a 6-speed manual.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Kyree

          I second that with feeling. Of my six TDI owning friends who I have talked to, the universal response is that VW will “fix” their cars over their cold, dead, bodies. The rest of the non car nut public pretty much has no idea this is even happening.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @CoreyDL

        Depends on where you live. Up here in cheap Yankee country, you will have NO problem selling something like that. You want to see late model stickshift cars, take a walk around Portland, Maine sometime.

        “Stripper” is not really the appropriate term for this car, it has at least as much equipment as my folks Oldsmobarge 98 had, other than leather that I would not want anyway.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I wouldn’t buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Better question: is there even one to buy?

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Not anywhere near me (Seattle area) – I just checked a few dealers’ inventories. And EGADS, one local dealer’s website was so farked up with multiple in-window popups “would you take this survey” “Jan here to chat with you” etc, and when I finally got all of those closed, it wouldn’t even let me search their inventory! And I even tried with two different web browsers with the same result. FAIL. How some of these places even stay in business is beyond me.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Pontiac Bonnevilles, Hyundai Azeras, Saturn Auras, and Toyota Solaras”

    Those have something in common: relative reliability. This doesn’t come standard on the Passat AFAIK.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Let’s see, what order would I put those in for cheap motoring:

      Solara
      Aura
      Bonneville (just because so old now, and no V8 one, and I hate the interior)
      Azera

      Is that Hyundai 3.5 or 3.8 any good? Assuming it’s some version of the thing in the XG350. If the Azera engine is reliable, then I put it above the Bonneville because it actually has some taste*.

      *Very late Bonne in right color has taste, but not a lot and they’re hard to find.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Obviously Bonneville must be equipped with our lord and savior to qualify, Solara is a Toyota, Aura runs a 3.5 60V6, IIRC. I’m not sure on Hyundai but I’ve never heard they are specifically unreliable, unlike VW.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I may need to move the Azera up and the Aura down, based upon trim bits availability which is likely to be not great.

          http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hyundai-Azera-GLS-LEATHER-SUNROOF-ALLOY-WHEELS-/191750476074

          So the Azera has got a 3.3 V6 – different engine then than the leaky bum in the XG350. It’s basically the Hyundai Avalon. I think I move it above the Aura based upon the interior looks and price, both of which are fine.

          Also I’m now thinking about just how many Grandeurs (mostly LPG fueled) were in SK as taxi duty. They do hold up.

          Solara
          Azera
          Bonneville
          Aura

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ll be near Flint North (factory that built the 3800) tomorrow. Should I find some scrap metal or concrete to become holy relics for The Church.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah yes my son, thy must gather holy relics for our grand cathedral. See if you can find the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch there as well.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Um, Bonneville is superior to Aura.

          3800 + G-body vs 60V6 + Epi-I

          Not even a contest.

          I’d also slot it above Hyundai, but that’s me.

      • 0 avatar

        Although I would much rather have the 3800, I believe the Bonneville came with the LD8 Northstar V8 circa 2005

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The Passat isn’t really one of VW’s problematic cars, for one. For another, there are few at this price. Even TrueCar says the average transaction price is a shade over $20K for the same. And, lastly, the touchscreen, navigation unit or even probably the CarPlay radio in the 2016 cars can be retrofitted with relative ease (or nothing as complicated as the nightmare that is a CCC/CIC to NBT iDrive retrofit on a BMW). Same with the camera, although you might have to tap into the fuse box for that.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Precisely zero manual Passats to be had in Denver…this thing’s a unicorn.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      There are a lot fewer of these now versus a month and change ago. Back when I was writing a lot of Volkswagen related articles it seemed like these were at every dealership here in metro-Atlanta. Now there are only a few.

      Still, I can see someone pulling the trigger on something like this. For every S that’s an apparition, there’s an SE that can be probably had for about $2,000 to $3,000 more. These vehicles just aren’t moving at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few of these eventually wholesaled to the auctions. VW will continue to crank out the 2016 models pretty hard in the next couple of months to make up for the TDI-related slack.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    for the sales guy you mention here and I am one of those 30,000 mile a year drivers and have a VW TDI wagon this is a car you could make money on, some sales guys get .54 a mile plus fuel, so you could pay for this car in a year or so and then drive it for free still making .54 cents a mile drive three or four year and it becomes a kids first car. I would not be worried about the VW stigma most of them recently have been pretty good and it sure beats driving a used beat up civic.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    My 2012 2.0 TSi Beetle has been flawless in the 10k miles have driven it. Bought it certified for 12.5k in March with 33k on the odo. I actually like this car much more than I expected initially. Its comfortable, fast, handles nicely, and is extremely solid. Oh and did I mention 30-35 mpg easily depending on mixed or highway driving. It is just an enjoyable car all around. I may keep this one for a while.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    You can’t go wrong for $15-20k The reliability is better than the older model plus it is roomier than other mid-sizers. Personally I would rather have a Passat than a bland, mediocre Altima.

    I wonder what the deals are like on the closest thing to a Phaeton, near-unicorn Passat 3.6 SEL with the DSG though you can’t get Syncro AWD here in the states.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “German”, turbocharged sedan, with a manual. $15K. Man, that’s a deal. The 1.8 is one of the worst engines I have ever experienced; but I’m not much of a turbo fan, the car I sampled it in had a slushy auto, and I’m old and spoiled. A manual Passat still beats the heck, desirability wise, out of a slushed out virtually anything.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’d buy one in a heartbeat for that price if I had any use for a midsize sedan. The Passat is already, BY FAR, my favorite in that space, and one with a stick and the 1.8T for crazy cheap – oh yeah!

  • avatar
    stereorobb

    no doubt these are cool cars that are fun to drive but they turn into garbage after 50k or so miles. I like the early 2000s Passat myself. great styling, kickass sound system and fun to drive, but when was the last time you say a circa 2002 Passat on the road that wasn’t falling apart? I could swear the Passat for a brief time offered a W8 engine. true?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I did a 500 mile search on Autotrader.com and could not find one for less than $18k This seems bogus.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Sounds like a nice tuner car. Drive the hell out of it while under warranty, then chip the engine, install a sport suspension, performance tires, and high end aftermarket audiosystem.


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