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I was looking to buy a new car in 2007 as i'd become eligible for a company car. One of the cars on offer was the 1.9S TDI Passat, in the newer shape, rather than the one pictured here. At first I was a little put off, it had always seemed like an "old person" car, but I find the new shape so much more attractive. I've had the car for almost three years now and i'm definately considering keeping it beyond the term of the company car deal. Its so far (touch wood!) never let me down. The ride is very smooth, the interior is well designed, and surprisingly spacious, particularly for those in the back! I've done 30,000+ miles so far and the only time its been in the garage is for its service. According to other reviews i've read, the electronic handbrake is a common fault on this model but so far mine has been fine, as has one of my colleagues who went for the same car around 6 months before me. Fuel economy is good in this model, I can go an easy 700 miles plus on a full tank of diesel on motorway driving, getting anything up to 70mpg. It does have that "diesel engine" sound, but far less so than some other diesel cars. As I mention above the car comes with an electronic button for a handbrake which does take a bit of getting used to. Once you've mastered it though, you'll find it fantastic for hill starts, as the handbrake comes off automatically when you lift the clutch when you're in gear. Remember to have your seatbelt on though or you wont be going anywhere! I think the only downside I found with the car is that it seemed to just drink oil when I first got it. Apparently this engine is known for doing this, but after a few months that stopped happening. Being a fairly long car, I took the additional option of front and back parking sensors, mainly due to the fact my wife hit a wall with my previous car a week before selling it. The parking sensors are very useful in this car, and seem fairly accurate. The car has an NCAP 5 star rating for adults and 4 star for children so its proven to be very safe. One of the main reasons I chose this over a smaller car is due the motorway mileage I was doing at the time of buying...around 20,000 or my 30,000 was put on in the first year. I found it a breeze driving this car the 300 miles to the office on a monday and 300 miles back on a friday. I would definately recommend you conside this car if you're looking for a safe, reliable, family car, or a car for long motorway jouneys.
Since my wife had a very serious car accident when driving an ancient VW Beetle, we have stuck to the most tank-like cars we can find. She suffered bad injuries, but would have been killed if she had been driving a flimsy, modern car. The old Beetle was made of heavy-grade metal and stood up to the impact much better than a lightweight fibreglass car would have done. We had a Shogun for a while, but it was too much of a drain on the bank account (£500 for a gearbox, etc.), so we bought a Passat. It was the old shape, suitable tank-like in construction and a nice drive. We had it for two years and then they brought out the new shape, the one like the Audi. I fell in love. I WANTED one (well, in truth I'd have preferred the Audi, but this one was only too expensive, not "Don't be ridiculous!"). We couldn't afford a new car though. One day we were passing a local VW dealer and saw the car of my dreams sitting beckoning me from the forecourt. It was a bright red, shining, new Passat. It is that kind of red that is so red it's ridiculous. It was an ex-demonstrator and had a few miles on it, but it was about £2,000 below the going rate and, well, what is HP for?! It was the test drive that did it. Smooth, quiet, raring to go. The salesman didn't try to sell it to me. He just handed me the keys - it was all he had to do. Wise guy, he didn't talk down to my wife either - he just asked us who wanted the first go. That helped! The car is typically VW. Nothing fancy, essentials-only. But what essentials! Ours is a diesel and does about 70 mpg. Pretty good. It will go like the clappers in an emergency (which is obviously the only time I drive fast - unless my wife is asleep). The seats are good and very adjustable - back, forward, up, down - and provide good lumbar support. The gearstick and box are comfortable and smooth. Steering wheel fine, pedals fine, windmirrors electric (which k nocks up the insurance a bit, but I think it's worth it). I seems that every time I get in the car my wife was the last to drive it, so the driver's seat is so far forward that I can only squeeze one leg in and have to adjust everything until I get it perfect. Wingmirrors, rear-view mirror, seat - fortunatly, this doesn't take long. It's not too bad on insurance, but obviously doesn't qualify for the lower road tax. The good mpg makes up for that though. It's quiet for a diesel. The handling is good for a family car. It's a big, long car that could take a bit of getting used to when parking. I drove vans for years, so anything is easier than them. My wife is used to driving lots of different cars so it didn't take her long - one clip of the gatepost and a look at my face cured her of any parking problems very quickly. It's a pig to work on, as most newer cars seem to be, so I've given up doing it myself. It's a myth that only VW dealers can work on them, I've found a local mechanic who loves it and really enjoys working on it. He even has the little computer that plugs into the centre console and tells him lots of things to make him feel important and me feel ignorant. It's not heavy on tyres but does like a good drop of oil regularly. We have two young children, and there is plenty of room for them and a friend in the back - plus assorted Pokemon, Action Men, Barbies, teddies ...... but NO FOOD. This car is special and I'm not having it covered with gunjy banana goo that is impossible to remove. Of course, even though the children don't eat in the car (unless I'm really, really hungry), they still manage to get it full of crumbs. I tend to vacuum it out once a week. The seats are covered with a tough fabric that is quite easy to clean. The only drawback is that the interior is black and our dog is white. And he's not learned how to use the vacuum ye t. Have you seen the television advert for the Passat? It's the one where a man puts his muddy dog in a taxi rather than take him in his precious Passat. I think they based that advert on me! The boot is cavernous, but I'm not sure if that is a good thing. The bigger it is the more junk you tend to carry round. Great for holidays though (especially as I have two birds of prey and have to carry their big perches around - yes, they go on holiday with us!). DRAWBACKS There is a dreadful droning noise when the rear windows are open. There is a known electric problem with this model. We've only had just a couple of problems with the central locking not unlocking (it works after a couple of tries). Can't think of anything else. We'll probably keep this for a while as we're happy with it and we've paid for it now. I would have another when the time comes. I'd like one with air-conditioning next time.