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    Thread: Thinking about buying a 2012 Passat but concerned about reliability

    1. 04-18-2012 11:01 PM #1
      I've read through some of these forums, and I know a lot of you are biased towards VW. I need some honest feedback from past owners.

      I currently drive a Camry (don't laugh - it was given to me brand new while I was in college). It has been a fantastic car from a reliability standpoint. I have only done scheduled maintenance and changed tires, and it runs just as it did 7 years ago.

      That being said, it's boring and my days of pinching pennies in college are behind me, so I'm thinking about a new Passat SE w/ sunroof.

      I've loved the car on the 2 test drives I've taken. The performance and finish are phenomenal given the price tag. My only apprehension to pulling the trigger is the less than stellar reliability record I find on VW.

      Can any current/past owners give me some honest feedback as it relates to your experiences?

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      04-18-2012 11:29 PM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by ProspectiveVW View Post
      I've read through some of these forums, and I know a lot of you are biased towards VW. I need some honest feedback from past owners.

      I currently drive a Camry (don't laugh - it was given to me brand new while I was in college). It has been a fantastic car from a reliability standpoint. I have only done scheduled maintenance and changed tires, and it runs just as it did 7 years ago.

      That being said, it's boring and my days of pinching pennies in college are behind me, so I'm thinking about a new Passat SE w/ sunroof.

      I've loved the car on the 2 test drives I've taken. The performance and finish are phenomenal given the price tag. My only apprehension to pulling the trigger is the less than stellar reliability record I find on VW.

      Can any current/past owners give me some honest feedback as it relates to your experiences?
      I, too, drove an old Camry ('02), and it was a great car. You said it was a boring car; well, compare to nowadays technology, it was a little bit aging, but nevertheless, it is still a very good car in my opinion. The reason I buy 12 Passat TDi is because of the price drop, the roomy space, and amazing mpg. Plus, I really don't like the look of new Camry. The first thing you will notice is probibly how smooth the ride is. You feel more confirdent driving in12 Passat than your current car. It is also really fun to drive, and if later you start to have your own family, you have space for those kids. I think you won't regret it.

      I still miss my old Camry though.

    3. 04-19-2012 06:28 AM #3
      I appreciate that response, and I think you're right about all of it. I'm hoping some former VW owners will chime in on this to tell me of their experiences. I love the Passat, but I need a little more confidence in the brand before I'm going to step out and make the purchase.

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      04-19-2012 08:19 AM #4
      My experience, which my not reflect that of others, is after 5 or 6 years there is little difference between auto manufacturers - the reality is your gonna spend some money.

      In our case we typically keep one fun to drive and one family car. We have been driving VWs since 1987 and the second car has usually been a Ford. We keep out cars on average 10 - 12 years. I'm currently driving a 99 Jetta and overall I would say its had fewer problems than our 2005 Ford Freestyle. Mechanically the Jetta is and has been rock solid, most of the repairs have been the usual maintenance items. The one exception is when the serpentine belt went unexpectedly. Contrast that with on my Ford after 3 years changing lanes on the GW bridge in NYC it displays a message "Engine Entering Failsafe mode" and shuts down - a problem that has yet to be fully resolved by dealer. We follow a a fairly routine maintenance schedule on each car, we're drivers not fanatics, and we speak to the person that performs the actual service work to get a sense as to where they think certain things are at so we're not surprised and can plan for any major maintenance either car may require.

      We have a '12 TDI on order and it will become the new family (and fun) car to drive. We'll keep all 3 cars on the road as we have a new driver in the family this year. I'm currently planning on getting another 4 years out of my '99 Jetta.

      Do I expect to spend money on maintenance, hell ya, but then anyone that buys any car and thinks they can get by with just making their monthly payment after 3 or 4 years is fooling themselves.

    5. 04-19-2012 09:11 AM #5
      My strategy is to lease - this is my 10th VW and I have leased every one except for my 85 Scirocco. I put zero down and have always been able to keep my payments round 300/mo - which is why I drive a Passat and not an MB E350 wagon (my current SE 2.5 w sunroof was 310) . To me , if you do the math - works out the same as owning- given money down ,repairs and maintenance - maybe a bit more for that peace of mind factor. I would do this with any car brand. To me , VW gets me to the top of the stack in terms of getting the best car for the money - VW is an OVER ACHIEVER in that category. I personally would never buy a car (which in the end is bucket of bolts and a liability) and it is damn fun to crack out a new VW every 3 years

    6. 04-19-2012 09:16 AM #6
      I'm seriously considering the lease for the reliability reasons I stated above. I've negotiated a great deal on the lease (285/month for SE w/Sunroof for 36 months and 15k miles - no money down). Keeping it below 15k miles may be tough for me which is why I'm still considering the purchase and have concerns about long term reliability vs. some of the other manufacturers.

    7. Member capclassicv2's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 09:32 AM #7
      Honestly, reliability is a gamble on any car. I had a '06 B6 Passat that was in the shop every few months. I stuck with VW and got the Tiguan and only had 2 unscheduled trips to the dealer, one for a blown fuse and the second for a fuel pump replacement, both under warranty. The Tiguan was leased, the first Passat wasn't.

      If you're really worried, but like the car, lease it for 3 years. If it works out for you, look into purchasing a new Passat then, after all the first model year bugs are fixed.
      ||||||||||||||
      CURRENT: 2013 Chevy Cruze 2LT
      PREVIOUS: 2009 VW Tiguan SE; 2006 VW Passat 2.0T; 1997 Oldsmobile Achieva Coupe

    8. 04-19-2012 09:50 AM #8
      FWIW, I own a 2007 B6 Passat (currently with 65k miles). Overall, it's been fairly reliable - replaced PCV valve, leaking valve cover gasket, squeaky bushings. The issue I have is that it consumes 1qt of oil every 1000 miles (which is common for 2.0T FSI engines). I'd imagine the 2.5 engine in the B7 Passat has less issues, albeit dull performance. My impression is that VW made the B7 simpler from an engineering perspective, and thus should be more reliable.

      Will it be 90's Honda reliable? Doubt it. But I'm not sure today's Honda's and Toyota's can even match that level.

      I guess my point is, that I wouldn't be too concerned about Passat reliability.

    9. Member vwbrvr6's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 10:02 AM #9
      With the exception of the VW battery only lasting 2 years for me, I have had zero problems with all of my leased Passats. I expect this year's to be the same.
      VW's from my past.
      1986 Scirocco 16v, 1998 Jetta GLX Vr6, 2002 Passat 1.8t, 2005 Passat 1.8t, 2009 Passat 2.0t.

    10. Junior Member Kansas Slim's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 10:38 AM #10
      I've got a 2000 VR6 Jetta with 180,000 and have only had to change the water pump last year because it was leaking, and the tensioner on the serpentine belt gave out last month, breaking a perfectly good serpentine belt in the process. The later is probably my fault, because a couple years ago when I changed the serp belt my tensioner bearing was a bit squeaky, so I took it apart, greased it up and reinstalled. A new one was only $80, so I should have just replaced it then.

      Last fall I also had to replace the two thing-a-ma-boppers that hold the window in the passenger door. Ordered from ECU Tuning and pretty easy to replace. The center portion of the door panels on both front passenger and drivers side doors is held in place with plastic tabs and at least a couple of them are broken because the center piece tends to want to separate from the door panel when I push on the handle; and of course I saw a couple broken tabs on the passenger side when I hade the panel off. It doesn't rattle or squeak, though. Not really any different than door panels of other manufacturers that I have removed.

      I also have a hole worn ing the carpet where my heal sits below the gas pedal. I have a different floor mat there now. The "soft-touch" interior items show quite a bit of wear. I just might replace those items since I'm going to be keeping her for a while (climate control panel, both front door arm rests/plastic handle).

      The leather seats are still firm, in great condition front and back, and are still incredibly comfortable. I think they were made specifically for a taller guy like me!

      I was thinking about selling and getting a new GTI, but got my wife the new Passat instead. I think I'll be in this car for another 3 years now. Probably will need a new clutch before I'm finished. I've never had a car much beyond 160,000 miles. This one is in great shape and has many more to go with a little TLC.
      Last edited by Kansas Slim; 04-19-2012 at 01:06 PM. Reason: Additional durability comments
      Personal motor vehicle history: Dad's '78? Scout II, '78 Yam 175 Enduro, '80 Kaw 550 LTD, '77 Rabbit, '84 K1500, 77 F-150, '78 Corolla, '79 Chevette, '92 Escort, '90 Nissan Hardbody, '85 CJ-7 (I miss it so), '82 735i, '98 Taurus Wagon, '03 Renegade Liberty, '05 FLHRCI (still riding), '00 VR6 Jetta (still driving), '08 Edge, '08 Acadia, '12 Passat (wife's), '06 Beetle (Daughter's)

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      04-19-2012 12:48 PM #11
      I currently own a B6 3.6 Passat and while I love the car, it's had a lot of issues. It's at 80k and my CPO warranty expired last week. It's been in the shop more than a few times for unscheduled visits.
      Here is a list of items repaired or replaced in the last 2 years while under CPO...

      New Engine
      Control Arms
      Bushings
      Cat Converter
      Thermostat
      Transmission Seal
      Rear diff seal
      Headlight assembly

      Previously I owned a 2003 Jetta GLX and loved it too. It had a lot of electrical gremlins. VW service could never get those gremlins sorted out and the car spent a lot of time in the service dept parking lots as a result.

      My biggest peeve with VW reliability is actually the service. I know there are techs on vortex and I'm not trying to offend or insult anyone. For the most part I've found VW service sucks. I'm in Boston and have dealt with 5 area service shops and I feel that 3 of the five do terrible work and have total contempt for their customers. The other 2 shops do great work and treat customers well (IMO) I mention the number of shops because a lot of owners aren't lucky enough to have over 1/2 dozen VW dealerships nearby.

    12. 04-19-2012 12:51 PM #12
      I bought my TDI SEL back in September and just turned 20K last week, so obviously, I'm a road warrior. I too was a bit concerned about liability, but have been thrilled with the performance and reliability of the car. I have had ZERO problems, hiccups, glitches or anything. I sure couldn't say that about my previous BMW 7 series.

    13. Junior Member
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      04-19-2012 01:02 PM #13
      My last three cars have been 2012 Passat SE TDI, 2009 VW CC and 2006 VW Passat. My wife has a 2009 VW Jetta TDI.

      Only repair on any of above was for an a/c condensor on 2006 Passat at 11,000 miles covered under warranty.

      I was not goig to buy the 2012 Passat becuase of the front end, but caved after driving it twice when the 2009 CC was coming off warranty.

      I have no regrets and am quite shocked how much I like the car. Great interior and feels sold on the road. Some noise at higher speeds is only complaint. Backseat is huge.

      The TDI I drive gets better mileage than my wife's Jetta TDI. Best was 47 mpg Fort Myers to Tampa at 70 mph.

      Drive the TDI. You will like it and then buy it in my opinion.

      I like the car so much that I have bought an extended warranty for seven years, 100,000 miles for $2200. I may jsut keep a car more than three or four years for once. If I sell, it can be transferred to new owner for $50.00 or I can cancel with a pro-ration. This way I cam covered if I keep the car.

      Any German car out of warranty requires an extended warranty in my opinion. Time bomb waiting to go off. Good luck and bargain hard even on a TDI. Go in the last day of the month with attitude and tell them what they need to do to sell the car. Answer any question with a question.

    14. Junior Member Kansas Slim's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 01:09 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by steve3752 View Post
      Answer any question with a question.
      I like that one!
      Personal motor vehicle history: Dad's '78? Scout II, '78 Yam 175 Enduro, '80 Kaw 550 LTD, '77 Rabbit, '84 K1500, 77 F-150, '78 Corolla, '79 Chevette, '92 Escort, '90 Nissan Hardbody, '85 CJ-7 (I miss it so), '82 735i, '98 Taurus Wagon, '03 Renegade Liberty, '05 FLHRCI (still riding), '00 VR6 Jetta (still driving), '08 Edge, '08 Acadia, '12 Passat (wife's), '06 Beetle (Daughter's)

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      04-19-2012 01:33 PM #15
      I can't speak for the '12 Passat but I bought a certified used 03 GTi in Nov of 2004. I just recently traded that in for my new Passat. During that 7 year period I only had to do regular maintenance to the GTi. It was by far the most reliable car I've owned. I never once had any mechanical/electrical/engine issues for that car. That's what drove me to purchase another VW.
      2012 Passat 3.6
      2006 Subaru Impreza
      2003 GTi 1.8t

    16. Junior Member
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      04-19-2012 01:39 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by steve3752 View Post
      I like the car so much that I have bought an extended warranty for seven years, 100,000 miles for $2200.
      Was that the price for the VWoA extended warranty or did you buy elsewhere? If VWoA extended warranty which plan?

      I hope to pick up my TDI in the next month or so and want to be ready to negotiate with them on the extended warranty.

    17. n00b
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      04-19-2012 04:01 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by VW_JW View Post
      Was that the price for the VWoA extended warranty or did you buy elsewhere? If VWoA extended warranty which plan?

      I hope to pick up my TDI in the next month or so and want to be ready to negotiate with them on the extended warranty.

      I just bought my new Passat SE 8 days ago. He started with the extended warranty talk (the VWoA one... not sure specifically). Started at 2495, then he said 2195, when I still wasn't buying, he went all the way to 1895. I didn't get it. I can get cheaper aftermarket. <shrug>

    18. Member fazzster's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 06:59 PM #18
      I have had my 2010 CC 2.0T for 1 year & 9 months and have put 54k miles on her. Zero issues so far. Only mods are Eibach springs and cat-back exhaust....Go for the TDI...

    19. Junior Member
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      04-19-2012 08:54 PM #19
      I used Warranty Direct. The warranty offered at the dealer was around $2400 to extend to 60,000 miles. Five or six years. Cannot rememberThey said FL law prohibits any negotiation on price.

      I called Warranty Direct becuase we have their warranty on the 2009 Jetta TDI.

      They said FL regulates warranty prices also, but they could give me a rebate for having a second car.

      This dropped it to around $2,200 for a 7 yr, 100,000 mile with a $100.00 deductible.

      Can be transferred for $50.00 or so and prorated refund if canceled.

    20. Member MUG318's Avatar
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      04-20-2012 01:50 PM #20
      I think VW's have gotten more complicated over the years, much like other brands. But it appears that, like other brands, the dealer network has been squeezed to a point where they are hiring techs to support the majority of issues. If they get a toughie, they don't have any expertise locally and have to rely on corporate to come to the rescue. VW corporate is good but not great. No one has that one guy that has been around for years and knows what the issue is just by observation. No computer required.

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      04-20-2012 07:51 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by MUG318 View Post
      I think VW's have gotten more complicated over the years, much like other brands. But it appears that, like other brands, the dealer network has been squeezed to a point where they are hiring techs to support the majority of issues. If they get a toughie, they don't have any expertise locally and have to rely on corporate to come to the rescue. VW corporate is good but not great. No one has that one guy that has been around for years and knows what the issue is just by observation. No computer required.
      That's a great point. I found an Indy 3 years ago and he's that guy. That's what keeps me in the VAG family.

    22. 04-21-2012 03:56 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by steve3752 View Post
      I used Warranty Direct. The warranty offered at the dealer was around $2400 to extend to 60,000 miles. Five or six years. Cannot rememberThey said FL law prohibits any negotiation on price.

      I called Warranty Direct becuase we have their warranty on the 2009 Jetta TDI.

      They said FL regulates warranty prices also, but they could give me a rebate for having a second car.

      This dropped it to around $2,200 for a 7 yr, 100,000 mile with a $100.00 deductible.

      Can be transferred for $50.00 or so and prorated refund if canceled.
      I have to assume that the cost for an extended warranty is directly related to the expected usage rate. The fact that a Honda extended warranty of the same approximate duration (for example) is priced at about half of the Passat extended warranties seems to be less comforting than all of the positive anecdotal comments that populate these pages.
      "If stupid got us into this mess, how come it can't get us out?"

    23. Member
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      04-21-2012 04:35 PM #23
      Possibly, but more likely related to OEM parts expense and labor costs for Eurpean cars versus Asian.

    24. 04-22-2012 04:22 PM #24
      I rolled the dice on the Warranty. $2200 covers a pretty decent maintenance event. I don't expect it to occur below 100K miles anyway.

      I owned a 97 Jetta which didn't have many problems in the beginning, but since it was my College car, yea, I wrecked it (but not completely) -- jumped a curve while in the rain and the axle bent. The Tranny went later possibly because of this.

      Bought a 02' Toyota Solara after this, which was solid through 150K miles. Then things started to go south. By 180k, it needed a Cat, Airbag sensor replacements and a whole bunch of vac system work. Just as you did, I considered Toyota's perceived reliability and checked them out first before returning to the VW family here.

      I ended up basing my decision on whether I would look forward to driving the car every day if I bought a friggin Camry. The answer was quite simply no. It was beyond boring. Also, I'm not sure if today's Camry is as reliable as yesteryear's. They're churning a lot more now then in 02.

      The final thing that also swayed me towards the Passat was the fact that the Auto Transmission is built in Japan. I felt that the Automatic Transmission is VW's weak point in the past (especially in my experience). So since they farmed this out to Japan, it's a good thing. Anyone know what company there actually builds it?

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      04-22-2012 05:12 PM #25
      Aisin I think.

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      04-26-2012 10:49 AM #26
      I have had several VW's over the years beginning with a 1968 Beetle at 16. My most recent was a 2005 VW Passat TDI wagon. No repairs and still on original brakes with 148,000 miles. When I had 68K miles on it, I ended up having my local VW dealership doing the BSM procedure which VW covered except for the cost of the new timing belt.

      Now 2012 VW Passat TDI with 13k. No repairs needed.

    27. 05-01-2012 11:10 AM #27
      so far,
      1.squeeky brakes (Replaced Front Brake Pads)
      2.weird rattle when turning at slow speeds (Replaced 2 front suspension springs)
      then..
      3.the dealer put a small tear in my passenger side pleather seat, I dont know how they are going to fix that.

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