Find out if this car is the best match for you.
1997 Passat

Consumer Reviews

1997 Volkswagen Passat

$1,100 - $1,100  MSRP Range

Review Score

3.7 out of 5 stars

3.7

3 Reviews
67% of drivers recommend this car
Score Breakdown
3.3 out of 5 stars Comfort
3.3 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
3.3 out of 5 stars Interior Design
3.3 out of 5 stars Reliability
4 out of 5 stars Performance
3.3 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

Have You Driven the 1997 Volkswagen Passat?

Write Your Review
Write Your Review

What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 3 of 3 reviews

4 out of 5 stars

Fahrvergnugen is alive and well

by eurodiesels forever from DC metro area on Tue May 19 2009

The Passat TDI is great fun to drive. It is like the VW folks distilled the essence of driving fun and injected it into their cars. The 1997 Passat TDI is the best long-distance cruiser I ever have driven. The interiror is extremely comfortable -- at least as good as the Volvo S60 -- which is a good thing when you can go nearly 800 miles on a single tank. The handling and stability, especially on high-speed Interstate, is spot on. Plus, it handles twisty Appalachian back roads with aplomb. Acceleration from a stop is the weak spot in this car's performance, although it is on par with many four cylinder gasoline economy cars. The key to best acceleration is to shift early, allowing the TDI's low RPM torgue to do its thing. Revving the engine beyond about 3000 RPM is fairly pointless; doing so will decrease 0-60 times. Once the TDI is moving, however, the strong torque provides good performance. Importantly, the manual transmission is a must with the TDI. The manual allows the driver to shift the car at the appropriate time rather than waiting for the torque converter to spin up enough to shift. Not only does the automatic ruin the fun and performance of this car, it seriously reduces fuel efficiency. As I recall the EPA mileage estimates for the automatic were aout 8 MPG lower than the manual. Further, I generally exceed the EPA's estimates for the maual by about 2-3 MPG. I once got 50 MPG on a trip south from Maine. The copious torgue produced by the TDI allows the car to cruise effortlessly at and beyond US-legal speeds. It also enables the Passat to climb eastern mountains without the need for a downshift. In fact, the Passat TDI climbs mountains better than some V-8 SUVS.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Track Record

by MOB from Ontario, California on Mon Mar 09 2009

Rated 47 mpg. Learn to drive it right and you can squeak out 52+ mpg stock. Few small mods with regular highway driving and you can easily achieve 57+ mpg. I've done it a few times and this is my first manual transmission, let alone diesel. Different maintenance than a gasser, but properly maintained will last you 200K mi or more. Even with a tiny 90hp engine, I can beat most other vehicles off the line and up a ramp when they think they're all hot.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

2 out of 5 stars

Worst car I ever owned

by CL from Bethany, CT on Sun Jul 20 2008

Nothing but problems. Don't buy this car. I bought a 97 at $4000 80K. I owned it for 2 years, put of $1500 into it, ended up giving it away this year for $800. Major mechanical and functional problems.

2 out of 5 starsComfort
1 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
2 out of 5 starsInterior Design
1 out of 5 starsReliability
3 out of 5 starsPerformance
2 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does not recommend this car!!

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

1

Our Take on the 1997 Volkswagen Passat

Since the Volkswagen Passat bowed in 1997, it has had a dramatic influence on the landscape of the midsize sedan segment.

The Passat elevated the family sedan art form and proved that "stodgy" and "sedan" don't always have to appear in the same sentence. It was lean, lithe and athletic. Even as it matured with new front and rear fascias, a revised interior and a variety of powerplants, its sporty character remained intact.

Competitors cribbed many of its styling cues, but few were able to successfully mimic VW's command of interior design and European handling.

Now, for 2006, there's a completely new Passat, one that is larger, more streamlined and considerably more refined. It has a pronounced... Read More