5k: Syncro de Mayo: 2004 Volkswagen Passat 4Motion 5-Spd
Kicking our Syncro de Mayo party up a notch, we’ve got this next 4Motion equipped late model, the perfect low buck daily driver for a cheapskate. It might not impress the neighbors like buying a new M5, but it’ll comfortably seat 5 adults, return decent fuel economy, and it has a 5-speed gearbox putting down turbocharged power to all four wheels. Sure, it eats through coil packs like a jonesing junky chews Chiclets and the engine cooks its internals like an LA inland empire meth lab, but when things work well, the Audi masquerading as a VW is great. Find this 2004 Volkswagen Passat 4Motion 5-Spd offered for $3,000 CAD ($2,481 USD)via passatworld.com forums.
Before you jump up and say “hey, you said that $3k BMW 540i 6-speed was the best $3k money can buy,” you’ve got to cool your jets and recognize that these two cars have a very different approach to hauling your family around. The BMW will certainly be faster, but the Passat offers 4Motion all-wheel-drive (for snow birds or NorthEastern folks) and great fuel economy from its 1.8 liter 4-banger.
Under the hood is 1.8 liter 20valve inline-4 that is turbocharged to produce 170 horsepower and 166 ft-lbs of torque. These numbers might not seem like much, but with the 3K K03 turbocharger and 5-valve per cylinder head, the little 1.8T packs a mean punch of low end grunt, with peak torque coming around 2000 rpm. Add one of the numerous aftermarket tuning company chips, and it puts out 200 horsepower and 225 ft-lbs of torque in an extremely wide/usable powerband.
Polish up those headlights, pour in some synthetic oil, and just drive. email@example.com
RyanM, don't you think this VW would make a nice car to haul around a new baby? Congratulations…!?!
K2, the resident German car reliability detractor, recommends one of the least reliable models to a new parent. For shame sir, for shame—this recommendation is so bad and out of character that it can only be premeditated. 😉
Ha! True. Really only care about the bambino. I couldn't really post in the TT post now could I?
Look, pretty much any VAG product is suspect on the durability front, and the Passat can hardly be worse than a Vanagon Syncro can it?
The WORST engine made in the 21st century. I think I threw up a little in my mouth remembering how my 2003 A4 had a timing belt tensioner snap at 63K, sending 12 of 20 valves looking for new real estate in the soft aluminum head (interference motor). This after spending $1300 on turbo wastegate/intercooler work 1 month before. Bought pre-owned, 1 owner, 59k. Financed $13k, had a $7k repair bill staring at me. AudI sucks. I missed out on the class action litigation because they didn't have me on their owners list, despite going to a dealership for a CELL (timing related it turned out) 3 weeks before failure. Biggest Drags in customer service too…… the single worst car ownership experience I've had, and I've owned 35 cars. Never will own a vw/audi product again (except for a MKII vr6 swap )
I did not write this, so don't blame me. Still, I've heard just too many stories like the one above for it to be just coincidence.
+1 for sharing, Arthur – thanks!
Do these really get that great of mileage? I was shopping a 98 TL and a 4 motion equipped passat. I took the TL for commuting after looking at the mileage sticker for the VW 25 or 26 hwy I think it said. Not sure which engine though.
I have one. All the good things in the description are true and I haven't experienced the bad. I've owned mine since 71k, now has 115k and is an awesome car. Yes, change the timing belt, yes use synthetic 5w40, yes, drive it hard. if you loaf around in it, you won't have fun and you'll probably sludge up the top end of the engine. Best mileage i got was on a 500mi road trip when I got 33 with the AC on. If 33 isn't impressive to you, remember it's AWD. I wish i could afford a second one, though I don't much like the all black interior, living in a sunny state.
33 isn't bad, and I tend not to trust the sticker numbers all that much anymore. I can get into the 40's in my civic si depending on wind and the window sticker said 31 hwy. I think last time I checked the average during summer I was around 35mpg and that's not being easy on it.