Pros

  • All the European vibes for not a hugely outlay
  • Excellent driving characteristics (especially R36)
  • Understated style
  • Everything you’d want from a car in this class

Cons

  • Long list of potential issues
  • Can be very expensive to repair and maintain
  • Very poor reputation for reliability
  • Not special enough to consider over many of the alternatives

Verdict

This is a tough call but let’s start with the standard non-R36 Passat, simply, no, you shouldn’t buy one.

Yes they’re lovely to drive, they’re practical and they exude all the lovely Euro image stuff but the long list of common issues are only going to get longer, as will...

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Available in both wagon and sedan body stylings, the B6 and B7 Passat ranged from 2006 to 2015, however a slightly jacked up almost SUV Alltrack wagon model and a 4-door coupe Passat CC have also been available, however, these are rare on the used market.

From 2008 to 2010, the performance focussed Passat R36 model was available in sedan and wagon body stylings and it was both the fastest accelerating and flagship Passat model available at the time.

It’s excellent performance was thanks to its Haldex 4-Motion all wheel drive system getting the 3.6 litre V6’s copious power to the ground with minimal slip, not to mention near instantaneous gear changes thanks to the 6-speed dual clutch transmission, although, these DSG transmissions are not without their gremlins.

In terms of the more regular Passat models, mechanically the range features everything from front wheel drive 1.8 and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol fours and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesels, all of which will vary on power outputs depending on the trim spec, through to all wheel drive 3.2-litre V6’s and obviously the 3.6 in the R36.

Speaking of trim specs and sub models, there have been no less than 15 different variants spread across the 2006 to 2011 B6 pre-update and 2011 to 2015 B7 post-update Passats.

The 2011 to 2015 Passat revised pretty much every body panel and it received the expected updates to tech and features; however, under the skin, not a whole lot changed.

Available in both wagon and sedan body stylings, the B6 and B7 Passat ranged from 2006 to 2015, however a slightly jacked up almost SUV Alltrack wagon model and a 4-door coupe Passat CC have also been available, however, these are rare on the used market.

From 2008 to 2010, the performance focussed Passat R36 model was available in sedan and wagon body stylings and it was both the fastest accelerating and flagship Passat model available at the time.

It’s excellent performance was thanks to its Haldex 4-Motion all wheel drive system getting the 3.6 litre V6’s copious power to the ground with minimal slip, not to mention near instantaneous gear changes thanks to the 6-speed dual clutch transmission, although, these DSG transmissions are not without their gremlins.

In terms of the more regular Passat models, mechanically the range features everything from front wheel drive 1.8 and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol fours and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesels, all of which will vary on power outputs depending on the trim spec, through to all wheel drive 3.2-litre V6’s and obviously the 3.6 in the R36.

Speaking of trim specs and sub models, there have been no less than 15 different variants spread across the 2006 to 2011 B6 pre-update and 2011 to 2015 B7 post-update Passats.

The 2011 to 2015 Passat revised pretty much every body panel and it received the expected updates to tech and features; however, under the skin, not a whole lot changed.

Available in both wagon and sedan body stylings, the B6 and B7 Passat ranged from 2006 to 2015, however a slightly jacked up almost SUV Alltrack wagon model and a 4-door coupe Passat CC have also been available, however, these are rare on the used market.

From 2008 to 2010, the performance focussed Passat R36 model was available in sedan and wagon body stylings and it was both the fastest accelerating and flagship Passat model available at the time.

It’s excellent performance was thanks to its Haldex 4-Motion all wheel drive system getting the 3.6 litre V6’s copious power to the ground with minimal slip, not to mention near instantaneous gear changes thanks to the 6-speed dual clutch transmission, although, these DSG transmissions are not without their gremlins.

In terms of the more regular Passat models, mechanically the range features everything from front wheel drive 1.8 and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol fours and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesels, all of which will vary on power outputs depending on the trim spec, through to all wheel drive 3.2-litre V6’s and obviously the 3.6 in the R36.

Speaking of trim specs and sub models, there have been no less than 15 different variants spread across the 2006 to 2011 B6 pre-update and 2011 to 2015 B7 post-update Passats.

The 2011 to 2015 Passat revised pretty much every body panel and it received the expected updates to tech and features; however, under the skin, not a whole lot changed.

Exterior:

The electric windows can have issues, these can range from the windows hesitating to just failing altogether.

Across the range, although it’s not a hugely common, the fuel lid/doors can fail or just come off easily if they’re bumped.

The parking brake can have issues, including seizing up and being stuck on, not engaging properly or just complete failure. This can be down to EPB switches failing.

Passat wagon models in certain climates are prone to building up rust on the boot/tailgate, mainly around the number plate lights.

If a sunroof is fitted, it is critical to ensure the drains are regularly cleaned because if they get blocked water can make its way into the footwells and your car will smell like wet dog.

Interior:

The most common complaint we found was the headlining giving way and sagging due to the foam delaminating from the fabric.

The front seat base bolsters on the R36 are usually collapsed from people sitting on them sideways getting in and out.

Across the Passat range, the soft touch coating on various bits of the interior trim is known to peel or bubble easily.

Air conditioning compressor failure is a known issue.

Electrical gremlins with the keyfob have been reported, with the engine just not starting once the key is in the ignition and the steering column lock is known to lock itself automatically which means it’ll refrain you from actually steering the car. This often requires a VIN coded replacement.

Satellite navigation and bluetooth issues are known to occur and many of the infotainment functions can be a pain.

Then there are many reports and complaints of rattles and other noises in the cabin, this can be more apparent on the R36 as it does have a firmer ride, almost encouraging bits and pieces to shake loose.

Mechanically:

In Australia there are a variety of different engine and transmission options available in this generation of Passat so as to not have you reading the next “War and Peace” we will generalise a little bit.

Also, with the huge number of Passats sold worldwide equates to not having to look too hard for horror stories about every possible failure imaginable.

In terms of the petrol engines, excessive oil consumption is really common. At this age most owners choose to live with it and top it up between services instead of spending thousands fixing it.

There are also PCV issues that cause air fuel ratio issues.

There are some timing chain complications with higher mileage example too.

The earlier V6 models are known to have an issue with the oil pump drive gear retaining bolt leaving the chat. Some owners are replacing it as preventative

Exterior:

The electric windows can have issues, these can range from the windows hesitating to just failing altogether.

Across the range, although it’s not a hugely common, the fuel lid/doors can fail or just come off easily if they’re bumped.

The parking brake can have issues, including seizing up and being stuck on, not engaging properly or just complete failure. This can be down to EPB switches failing.

Passat wagon models in certain climates are prone to building up rust on the boot/tailgate, mainly around the number plate lights.

If a sunroof is fitted, it is critical to ensure the drains are regularly cleaned because if they get blocked water can make its way into the footwells and your car will smell like wet dog.

Interior:

The most common complaint we found was the headlining giving way and sagging due to the foam delaminating from the fabric.

The front seat base bolsters on the R36 are usually collapsed from people sitting on them sideways getting in and out.

Across the Passat range, the soft touch coating on various bits of the interior trim is known to peel or bubble easily.

Air conditioning compressor failure is a known issue.

Electrical gremlins with the keyfob have been reported, with the engine just not starting once the key is in the ignition and the steering column lock is known to lock itself automatically which means it’ll refrain you from actually steering the car. This often requires a VIN coded replacement.

Satellite navigation and bluetooth issues are known to occur and many of the infotainment functions can be a pain.

Then there are many reports and complaints of rattles and other noises in the cabin, this can be more apparent on the R36 as it does have a firmer ride, almost encouraging bits and pieces to shake loose.

Mechanically:

In Australia there are a variety of different engine and transmission options available in this generation of Passat so as to not have you reading the next “War and Peace” we will generalise a little bit.

Also, with the huge number of Passats sold worldwide equates to not having to look too hard for horror stories about every possible failure imaginable.

In terms of the petrol engines, excessive oil consumption is really common. At this age most owners choose to live with it and top it up between services instead of spending thousands fixing it.

There are also PCV issues that cause air fuel ratio issues.

There are some timing chain complications with higher mileage example too.

The earlier V6 models are known to have an issue with the oil pump drive gear retaining bolt leaving the chat. Some owners are replacing it as preventative maintenance but the transmission need to come out for access which means that peace of mind costs a lot of bucks.

The diesels suffer from all the usual modern diesel things, EGR complications are common and the whole inlet system in general just choke up on these things.

Speaking of choking, it should be noted, when these things are in the running in the workshop, they stink and it’s a stink unique to them and they stink more than any other small modern diesel.

The transmissions have their fair share of problems. The DSG’s most common issue is the mechatronics unit and they commonly have clutch and dual mass flywheel complications too. Typically, all very expensive repairs.

So, if the question is are they reliable? There is plenty that goes wrong with these Passats yet there are plenty around that have no issues at all. Then there’s the ones that have problems everywhere, like rattling dual mass flywheels, coolant leaks, oil leaks electrical problems and every fault code possible, and have been that way for years, and are still running.

So, in a way that is a type of reliability.

Exterior:

The electric windows can have issues, these can range from the windows hesitating to just failing altogether.

Across the range, although it’s not a hugely common, the fuel lid/doors can fail or just come off easily if they’re bumped.

The parking brake can have issues, including seizing up and being stuck on, not engaging properly or just complete failure. This can be down to EPB switches failing.

Passat wagon models in certain climates are prone to building up rust on the boot/tailgate, mainly around the number plate lights.

If a sunroof is fitted, it is critical to ensure the drains are regularly cleaned because if they get blocked water can make its way into the footwells and your car will smell like wet dog.

Interior:

The most common complaint we found was the headlining giving way and sagging due to the foam delaminating from the fabric.

The front seat base bolsters on the R36 are usually collapsed from people sitting on them sideways getting in and out.

Across the Passat range, the soft touch coating on various bits of the interior trim is known to peel or bubble easily.

Air conditioning compressor failure is a known issue.

Electrical gremlins with the keyfob have been reported, with the engine just not starting once the key is in the ignition and the steering column lock is known to lock itself automatically which means it’ll refrain you from actually steering the car. This often requires a VIN coded replacement.

Satellite navigation and bluetooth issues are known to occur and many of the infotainment functions can be a pain.

Then there are many reports and complaints of rattles and other noises in the cabin, this can be more apparent on the R36 as it does have a firmer ride, almost encouraging bits and pieces to shake loose.

Mechanically:

In Australia there are a variety of different engine and transmission options available in this generation of Passat so as to not have you reading the next “War and Peace” we will generalise a little bit.

Also, with the huge number of Passats sold worldwide equates to not having to look too hard for horror stories about every possible failure imaginable.

In terms of the petrol engines, excessive oil consumption is really common. At this age most owners choose to live with it and top it up between services instead of spending thousands fixing it.

There are also PCV issues that cause air fuel ratio issues.

There are some timing chain complications with higher mileage example too.

The earlier V6 models are known to have an issue with the oil pump drive gear retaining bolt leaving the chat. Some owners are replacing it as preventative maintenance but the transmission need to come out for access which means that peace of mind costs a lot of bucks.

The diesels suffer from all the usual modern diesel things, EGR complications are common and the whole inlet system in general just choke up on these things.

Speaking of choking, it should be noted, when these things are in the running in the workshop, they stink and it’s a stink unique to them and they stink more than any other small modern diesel.

The transmissions have their fair share of problems. The DSG’s most common issue is the mechatronics unit and they commonly have clutch and dual mass flywheel complications too. Typically, all very expensive repairs.

So, if the question is are they reliable? There is plenty that goes wrong with these Passats yet there are plenty around that have no issues at all. Then there’s the ones that have problems everywhere, like rattling dual mass flywheels, coolant leaks, oil leaks electrical problems and every fault code possible, and have been that way for years, and are still running.

So, in a way that is a type of reliability.

ANCAP rating

5 Stars – Tested 2008

Body Styles

4 door Sedan

5 door Wagon

Engines

2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, TDI, 147TSI, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Power

147kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

184kW – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

103kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

125kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

220kW – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

118kW – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

130kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Torque

280Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

330Nm – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

320Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

350Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

350Nm – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

250Nm – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

380Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Transmissions

6-speed Sports Automatic (FSI, 147TSI)

6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (V6 FSI, TDI, R36, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

7-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Fuel Consumption

5.4 – 10.7L/100km

Length

4765 – 4874mm

ANCAP rating

5 Stars – Tested 2008

Body Styles

4 door Sedan

5 door Wagon

Engines

2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, TDI, 147TSI, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Power

147kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

184kW – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

103kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

125kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

220kW – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

118kW – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

130kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Torque

280Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

330Nm – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

320Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

350Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

350Nm – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

250Nm – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

380Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Transmissions

6-speed Sports Automatic (FSI, 147TSI)

6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (V6 FSI, TDI, R36, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

7-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Fuel Consumption

5.4 – 10.7L/100km

Length

4765 – 4874mm (4 door Sedan)

4771 – 4881mm (5 door Wagon)

Width

1820mm (4 door Sedan)

1820mm (5 door Wagon)

Height

1447 – 1490mm (4 door Sedan)

1456 – 1550mm (5 door Wagon)

Wheelbase

2709 – 2711mm (4 door Sedan)

2709 – 2711mm (5 door Wagon)

Kerb Weight

1481 – 1720kg (4 door Sedan)

1481 – 1749kg (5 door Wagon)

Towing

740kg (unbraked), 1500kg (braked) (FSI, V6 FSI, TDI, 147TSI, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, R36, 118TSI, 125TDI Highline)

750kg (unbraked), 1500kg (braked) (FSI, V6 FSI, TDI, 147TSI, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, R36, 118TSI, 125TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model, 118TSI Special Model)

750kg (unbraked), 2200kg (braked) (R36)

750kg (unbraked), 1800kg (braked) (Alltrack)

ANCAP rating

5 Stars – Tested 2008

Body Styles

4 door Sedan

5 door Wagon

Engines

2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, TDI, 147TSI, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Power

147kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

184kW – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

103kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

125kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

220kW – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

118kW – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

130kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Torque

280Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (FSI, 147TSI)

330Nm – 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine (V6 FSI, V6 FSI Highline)

320Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 103TDI)

350Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack)

350Nm – 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine (R36, V6 FSI Highline)

250Nm – 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

380Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine (130TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

Transmissions

6-speed Sports Automatic (FSI, 147TSI)

6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (V6 FSI, TDI, R36, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, 125TDI Highline, Alltrack, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model)

7-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (118TSI, 118TSI Special Model)

Fuel Consumption

5.4 – 10.7L/100km

Length

4765 – 4874mm (4 door Sedan)

4771 – 4881mm (5 door Wagon)

Width

1820mm (4 door Sedan)

1820mm (5 door Wagon)

Height

1447 – 1490mm (4 door Sedan)

1456 – 1550mm (5 door Wagon)

Wheelbase

2709 – 2711mm (4 door Sedan)

2709 – 2711mm (5 door Wagon)

Kerb Weight

1481 – 1720kg (4 door Sedan)

1481 – 1749kg (5 door Wagon)

Towing

740kg (unbraked), 1500kg (braked) (FSI, V6 FSI, TDI, 147TSI, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, R36, 118TSI, 125TDI Highline)

750kg (unbraked), 1500kg (braked) (FSI, V6 FSI, TDI, 147TSI, V6 FSI Highline, 103TDI, 125TDI, R36, 118TSI, 125TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline, 130TDI Highline Special Model, 118TSI Special Model)

750kg (unbraked), 2200kg (braked) (R36)

750kg (unbraked), 1800kg (braked) (Alltrack)

Warranty:

  • 3 years / 100,000 km

Servicing:

  • 3 years / unlimited km

Model range, pricing & features

Volkswagen Passat Wagon R36-1

2.0T TSI, 2.0T TDI, 103TDI, 118TDI, 125TDI, 147TSI

Price when new: $38,990 - $46,990

Price used: $1,800 - $9,100

The 2.0T TSI and 2.0T TDI models debuted in 2006 with a comprehensive set of standard features.

From 2010, the Passat reverted to output and fuel type designators as model names, however that did not change the list of standard features.

The only noticeable difference is with the 103 TDI, which had 16-inch alloy wheels vs 17-inch alloys for the rest of the Passat’s petrol and diesel range.

Standard features:

17-inch alloy wheels (16-inch on 103TDI)
Full-size spare wheel
Body coloured bumper bars
Body coloured side mirrors
Body coloured door handles
Chrome radiator grille surround
Chrome window trim, body side and rear bumper mouldings
Electric sterring system
Driver and front passenger airbags
Front side airbags
Full-length curtain airbags
Rear side airbags
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Height adjustable seatbelts for driver and front passenger
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
Child seat anchor points
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control
Front and rear parking sensors
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Electric side mirrors
Heated side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down function for all windows
Cruise control
Halogen headlights
Rear Fog Lights
LED side indicators integrated into side mirrors
Rear LED taillights
Automatic headlights
Intermittent wipers with speed settings
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Rear wiper
Remote central locking
Engine immobiliser
Tachometer
Fuel gauge
Trip computer
Monochrome driver’s display
Electromechnical handbrake
Handbrake auto hold function
Power steering
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) and telescopic (reach) adjust
Multi-functional leather sterring wheel
Leather gear knob
Dual-zone climate control
Rear air vents
Pollen filter
Cloth upholstery
6-Way electrically adjustable driver’s seat
Manually adjustable front passenger’s seat
8-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
6-disc in-dash CD player
12V power outlet – 3
Front cup holders – 2x
Rear cup holders – 2x
Front bottle holders – 2x
Rear bottle holders – 2x
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Vanity mirror for driver and front passenger
60:40 rear folding seats

3.2 V6 FSI (2006-2011)

Price when new: $54,990 - $56,990

Price used: $2,400 - $7,700

The 3.2 V6 FSI adds all-wheel drive, tyre pressure monitoring, front fog lamps, anti-theft alarm, leather and heated front seats; floor mats and an automatic tailgate.

Adds:

4MOTION all-wheel-drive (AWD)
Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
Front fog lights
Anti-theft alarm
Leather upholstery (Vienna perforated leather)
Heated front seats
Floor mats – front and rear
Automatic tailgate (wagon)

Highline Editions (2010):

Price when new: $43,990 - $58,990

Price used: $6,200 - $12,700

The Highline editions were introduced in 2010 and included additional features over the 125TDI and 3.2 FSI models respectively.

Some of these features included: Nappa leather, front fog lights, aluminium trim highlights; and features exclusive to the 3.2 FSI only which were: 18-inch alloys, adaptive chassis control, electric front seats, driver seat memory and memory device interface (external music player connectivity).

Adds:

Nappa leather upholstery
Front fog lights
Aluminium interior trim highlights
18-inch alloy wheels (3.2 FSI Highline only)
Adaptive Chassis Control suspension (3.2 FSI Highline only)
Electrically adjustable driver and front passenger’s seats (3.2 FSI Highline only)
Driver memory seat settings (3.2 FSI Highline only)
Media Device Interface (MDI) – (3.2 FSI Highline only)

R36 (2008-2011)

Price when new: $64,990 - $67,990

Price used: $5,300 - $15,400

The top-of-the-range sports-performance R36 was released in 2008 and added 18-inch alloys, sports suspension, blue brake calipers, dual chrome exhaust pipes, rear spoiler, bi-xenon headlights, gearshift paddles, 10-speaker sound system, electric seats and side bolsters.

Adds:

18-inch alloy wheels
R36 sports suspension – lowered 20mm
Ventilated disc brakes with blue brake callipers
Dual chrome exhaust pipes
Rear spoiler
Bi-xenon headlights
Gearshift paddles
10-speaker 250-watt sound system
Micro-fibre and leather upholstery
14-way electrically adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats
Electric side bolsters on front seats

This is a tough call but let’s start with the standard non-R36 Passat, simply, no, you shouldn’t buy one.

Yes they’re lovely to drive, they’re practical and they exude all the lovely Euro image stuff but the long list of common issues are only going to get longer, as will the costs in repairing them, plus for very similar money, if you want a sedan, buy a Lexus IS and if you want a wagon, buy a Mazda 6, both will provide everything the Passat has to offer, yet both come with far superior reputations for reliability and lower maintenance costs.

But what about the R36? Well, how committed are you because the R36 is purely for the enthusiasts. There’s no denying the R36 is a very special car and may go down as a future classic but like many classics, it requires its fair share of love and care. If you’re happy to provide the levels of commitment and attention needed, and your wallet is deep enough to justify the expenses involved, sure, why not, buy one.

But, there are a few other cars that tick very similar boxes that are arguably less risky.

If you want a comfy yet sporty all wheel drive, 6 cylinder wagon or sedan, a Subaru Liberty or Legacy fits the bill, sure it lacks the euro cool of the R36 and they do have their own maintenance issues but they are a worthy alternative.

As are the turbocharged 4 cylinder variants, which are

This is a tough call but let’s start with the standard non-R36 Passat, simply, no, you shouldn’t buy one.

Yes they’re lovely to drive, they’re practical and they exude all the lovely Euro image stuff but the long list of common issues are only going to get longer, as will the costs in repairing them, plus for very similar money, if you want a sedan, buy a Lexus IS and if you want a wagon, buy a Mazda 6, both will provide everything the Passat has to offer, yet both come with far superior reputations for reliability and lower maintenance costs.

But what about the R36? Well, how committed are you because the R36 is purely for the enthusiasts. There’s no denying the R36 is a very special car and may go down as a future classic but like many classics, it requires its fair share of love and care. If you’re happy to provide the levels of commitment and attention needed, and your wallet is deep enough to justify the expenses involved, sure, why not, buy one.

But, there are a few other cars that tick very similar boxes that are arguably less risky.

If you want a comfy yet sporty all wheel drive, 6 cylinder wagon or sedan, a Subaru Liberty or Legacy fits the bill, sure it lacks the euro cool of the R36 and they do have their own maintenance issues but they are a worthy alternative.

As are the turbocharged 4 cylinder variants, which are quicker, easier to extract more power and available with a manual transmission.

Or if you really want something unique, and you need a wagon, and it needs to be fast, have you considered the Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4, Toyota Crown Athelete or my personal pick, the Nissan Stagea.

Which, depending on the spec, add turbos to their 6-cylinder power plants and prioritise driving the rear wheels instead of the fronts, just saying.

This is a tough call but let’s start with the standard non-R36 Passat, simply, no, you shouldn’t buy one.

Yes they’re lovely to drive, they’re practical and they exude all the lovely Euro image stuff but the long list of common issues are only going to get longer, as will the costs in repairing them, plus for very similar money, if you want a sedan, buy a Lexus IS and if you want a wagon, buy a Mazda 6, both will provide everything the Passat has to offer, yet both come with far superior reputations for reliability and lower maintenance costs.

But what about the R36? Well, how committed are you because the R36 is purely for the enthusiasts. There’s no denying the R36 is a very special car and may go down as a future classic but like many classics, it requires its fair share of love and care. If you’re happy to provide the levels of commitment and attention needed, and your wallet is deep enough to justify the expenses involved, sure, why not, buy one.

But, there are a few other cars that tick very similar boxes that are arguably less risky.

If you want a comfy yet sporty all wheel drive, 6 cylinder wagon or sedan, a Subaru Liberty or Legacy fits the bill, sure it lacks the euro cool of the R36 and they do have their own maintenance issues but they are a worthy alternative.

As are the turbocharged 4 cylinder variants, which are quicker, easier to extract more power and available with a manual transmission.

Or if you really want something unique, and you need a wagon, and it needs to be fast, have you considered the Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4, Toyota Crown Athelete or my personal pick, the Nissan Stagea.

Which, depending on the spec, add turbos to their 6-cylinder power plants and prioritise driving the rear wheels instead of the fronts, just saying.

Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of April 21, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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