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1992 Volkswagen Passat

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3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • GLS


  • CL


  • GL


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1992 Volkswagen Passat review: Our expert's take

By Editors

The Volkswagen Passat is VW’s idea of what a family automobile ought to be like. And VW is pretty much on target.

The car is large enough to meet the utilitarian demands of family use, but sporty enough provide some spirited driving — as long as the sedan is not expected to be a drag machine.

Introduced in 1990 as Volkswagen’s first entry into the midsized family car market, the 1991 Passat GL in sedan and wagon form are updated versions of the initial offering. It also is has profited from aerodynamic form and function courtesy of much wind tunnel work.

The automobile is the recipient of an uncluttered wedge-shaped design that features softer sheet metal lines than has been the custom with VWs. This has reduced wind noise and improved fuel economy.

It also has resulted in a four-door that is a pretty good-looking car. There is a lot of rake to the front end. The body’s flowing lines extend from front to rear. On balance, the sedan possesses a definite European atmosphere.

In operation, there are some Teutonic features, although this has been subdued a bit to cater to the preferences of American motorists. The Germanic influence is strongest in the firm, chair-height seats. Volkswagen believes this reduces fatigue. And there’s the radio that doesn’t turn off with the ignition key.

The principal objection to the radio is that if the sound is turned down, you may get out of the car and leave it on. You don’t have to be a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to visualize what happens to the battery if the car is parked overnight or longer with the radio playing.

Some condescending to the domestic market has been made to the ride, which is balanced between soft and firm. The Passat GL sedan that Britt Killinger, sales manager for Giganti Volkswagen-Porsche-Audi-Lotus, provided for a test car had a quite decent ride. And it handled rippling pavement without everything in the passenger compartment being shaken up.

The car’s 2.0-liter, 16-valve engine lost a little edge via an optional four-speed automatic transmission. But a family car is supposed to be easy and convenient to drive, and that’s more achievable with an automatic than with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The controls in the test car were all located conveniently, and I’d say they had a hint of Americanization about them. Also, the Germans finally have given in and installed a tilt wheel in the car.

All this complements some added room Volkswagen has managed to build into a midsized four-door. The automaker done it for less than $15,000, but lets owners go from there. A well-equipped Passat will lie in the lower levels of the luxury class.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior 3.0
  • Performance 3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 3.0
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Most recent consumer reviews


My daily commute!

Purchased my 1992 Passat GL used with well over a 150km on it sometime in 2009. Yes, I know its a real vintage by today's standards but I needed a knock about vehicle, with basic features. There are some numerous electrical challenges I've had to fix over time, electrical relays, power window motors issues, electric fuel pump issues. But they were easy to fix with replacement parts nearby and an electric technician who knows what he's doing. When I didn't make headway with replacement parts for electrical fuel pump, had to convert to manual pump, including changing carburator to compensate for manual mode. Fuel consumption reduced considerably as a result of this apart from the occasional cold starts in the mornings. I live in West Africa and my car was imported used from Germany. Still driving the old girl but needs an engine refit soon as my cylinders are worn out due to daily use. Its a durable vehicle but needs constant attention to keep it going. I do regular service on it. I admit my timing belt gave way not too long ago but she has kept going long afterwards.

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New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2016-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
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