Monday, April 7, 2008

Used Passat: Buyer Beware!

Used Passat, Buyer Beware!

I wanted to buy a used car. Not just any used car but one that had a reputation as safe, quality construction, reliable, and a blast to drive.

I learned a few things I wanted to share about one particular car maker which I assumed their automobiles used to fit that criteria, the German automobile company Volkswagen and its SUV, the Touareg, the zippy Passat and the cute little New Beetle and the grief consumers have had to deal with, shoddy mechanics along with dealers who treat their customers as annoyances.

Because of my own experiences in test driving a Toureg and Passat and reading customer reviews I won't be buying a Volkswagen, new or used. Reading other Volkswagen owners consumer reviews reveals a company doesn't care if their Passat's engine fails due to a cheap timing belt before 60,000 miles or that their $50,000 luxury Touareg is apt to spend more time on the back of flatbed tow truck than on the road plus dealers who treat their customers with contempt while their products are fraught with numerous problems.

How many of these flawed used Volkswagen cars are out there on the market with some unsuspecting buyer unaware that the sleek looking German engineered Passat sitting on the used car lot may have a ticking time belt ready to implode leading to engine failure or that cute little New Beetle is plagued with shoddy workmanship?

A couple of years ago I decided to take a look at Volkswagen's SUV, the 4 wheel drive Touareg. A beautiful car, driving the V-8 Touareg has been compared to the Porsche Cayenne. I went to the nearest Volkswagen dealer, a three hour round trip over a mountain pass in order to take both the V-6 and V-8 for a test spin.

The test drives were truly fun, the all-wheel-drive SUV was super responsive and the ride smooth. I checked out the specs comparing the Touareg to my Toyota Landcruiser.

The Touareg was a lot zippier and had a smoother ride, a very fun vehicle to drive. I took it for a brief offroad spin to check out the 4 Wheel drive Low. I fell in love with Touareg but wasn't ready to commit, I hadn't had a chance to read the reviews from the most knowledgeable source, consumers who had owned one. The salesman told me Volkswagen was known for its high quality, well built automobiles, and reliability. He also told me that in order for me to keep the Touareg under warranty I had to return for scheduled maintenance. I remember thinking to myself, this is crazy, there's no way I wanted to drive 3 hours round trip over a mountain pass for a mandated oil change. It was then that I realized the dealer was the closest Volkswagen repair shop in case I had to have it repaired.

Reliability is the most important thing that I consider, after all, what good is it forking out $30 to 40,000 for a car if it's going to be sitting back at the dealer with a mechanical problem? I feel the same applies for any car no matter how much I spend, I'm not a mechanic so I want the car to run a while before something has to be fixed.

My wife and I recently purchased a Toureg. What they failed to mention was that getting an appointment with service would take a month and a half. I tried to schedule an appointment today 6/20/06 for an oil change and was told the first available appointment was not until Aug 1st. Source - Edmunds

Read Volkswagen Passat: Buyer Beware at

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