Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

VW Passat Wagon vs Subaru Wagons

OK. I've been very patient with VW. I've wanted to
drive the AWD Passat wagon with a 6 cylinder for a
long time (seems like they've been dangling it
just out of reach foreve)r. I gather we're looking
at early-to-mid-summer. That's about the same time
as the redesigned Outback.
Any thoughts about the relative merits?
BTW, I have almost always driven a standard shift,
and I hear that the Passat will not have a
standard with AWD. That's strike one, but Passat
seems to have a lot of good things going for it.

- Bill


  • MiroMiro Posts: 15
    It's hard to say which one I would choose seeing that neither is available, nor reviewed by the mags. I wouldn't hold my breath with VW and since you want a stick Subaru would be your choice by default. I'd look at the GT (if you're looking for fun) or Outback (if you like the SUV concept.) Have some patience, because now we can only speculate.

    97 Legacy GT 5spd.
  • Bill:
    I will be considering the merits of these two cars. Where did you hear that the 2000 Passat wagon would not be available with both AWD and 5 speed manual transmission? I read something somewhere in the last couple weeks that might have implied that, but I haven't seen anything specific.

    I love the looks of the Passat and test driving a manual sedan version last week did nothing to eliminate it from consideration. But if they won't make the AWD in a 5 speed, that would make me the proud owner of a 2000 Subaru!
  • willywilly Posts: 2
    I can't remember offhand where I read or saw that; maybe in the brochure from the dealer. Interestingly, the Audi 2.8 Avant Quattro wagon comes with manual trans standard, so there's nothing about the technology that prevents it. Maybe (I hope) I was just imaging it.
    I was hoping to see the 2000 Subaru at the Baltimore Auto Show a few weeks ago, but they didn't have it. On the outside (from pictures I've seen on the Web), it looks practically identical... which is ok with me. The updated interior sounds like it's worth waiting for.

    - Bill
  • vwfan2vwfan2 Posts: 2
    I too would like the All Wheel drive Passat to show up sooner rather than later (proud owner of '95 GLX rocket ship). However, I drove the '99 Sedan w/the Tiptronic, which was very good. If the AWD came in the Tiptronic, I say, 'who needs the five speed...'
  • awolawol Posts: 1
    Some of you seemed to have missed the review of the AWD Passat V6 Tiptronic in the January 1999 Road & Track "Four-Season SPORTS WAGONS", pgs 76-91. Points of note: Curb weight-3600 lbs; 0-60 -9.0 sec.; EPA mileage 17/26 mpg; lateral acceleration-0.78g. They compared it to a (current) Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT, Audi A4 2.8 Quattro, and Volvo V79 R AWD. The liked the Passat alot, and enjoyed it handling, which is encouraging given the extra 400 lbs of the AWD over the FWD.
    Also, the October 1998 R&T new car issue stated the "1999" Passat AWD would not be available with the 1.8T. I have heard from Denver dealers and seen in print the the all Passat V6s would only have automatics, then my dealer got in a V6 sedan with a 5-speed manual! They didn't even know it would be available and speculated they might only see one per month. So much for accurary of VW press info (there's a surprise, right?).
    However, my bet is that there will not be any 1.8T AWD (given the vehicle weight) nor a manuals, just V6 Tiptronics given the EPA certification costs and VW's general character of only offering automatics in more loaded models of the Passat.
    Why not save yourself a few thousand bucks and a few hundred pounds and get an automatic with the traction control/electronic differential control for full 2-wheel drive, with some really good snow tires?
  • searoarsearoar Posts: 1
    Please read topic 149 for my troubles with a 99 Legacy Outback Al
  • jagat1jagat1 Posts: 31
    '00 VW Passat 4Motion vs.'00 Subaru Outback?...Tough choice.Have same predicament...But I lean more to the VW.

    Passat has great V6,Tiptronic 5 sp.(Subaru only has 4 sp.sportshift(?)..),
    German engineering and great built quality and value,and it feels like a more affordable MBZ.

    The Subaru though has extensive AWD technology up their sleeves,better reliability,love the boxer engine,a "Lexus-like" interior and exterior theme and cost
  • jimesjimes Posts: 2
    Bill, I'm in the same quandry: '00 outback or '00 passat. I spoke with my local dealer today who asked his VW rep and he said that VW was definately coming out with the Synchro model in August timeframe. I, too want a manual. Have you heard any more about this and VW's intentions.

    Regarding the '00 Outback's chack out the Australian web site. They've got a bunch of great looking pictures of the new outback suitable for framing. Obviously, the wheel's on the wrong side, but it looks like they've made quite few changes.

    Also chack out this site:

    I still haven't decided. I think I'll wait til they hit the showroom first.
  • MiroMiro Posts: 15
    Motor Trend takes a look at the 2000 Outback Limited:
    I'm wondering why you're trying to decide between two vehicles without having driven them. Will you consider other Legacy wagons too; like the GT or lesser trims? I wonder how many people know that Subaru builds sporty models, not just suv look-a-likes.
    Since you're still looking, is the SAAB 9-5 within your reach?
  • jimesjimes Posts: 2
    Miro, all very valid points. I do not intend to purchase anything without a test drive. I live in the mountains of NC, and really need an AWD version. With 2 kids, I need the space. I'm replacing a 7 year old 160K+ Camry. I'd like to stay within the 25K area and am aware of other Subaru stylings but like the way the new Subaru's look. I do not want a true SUV for MPG reasons.I'll have to check out the Saab's. I like the Saab stylings!
  • tvicetvice Posts: 2
    Don't look for Audi to make the Passat just like the A4 for less money anytime soon. I had a 93 Passat wagon VR6 and would have liked to have traded it for an awd Passat but none were available. I heard a rumor that the awd option for the Passat would be 5 or 6 grand extra which would have put it right in Audi territory. That's what Audi wants and they are driving the " corporate car " at this point. I went ahead and bought an A4 Avant 1.8T and am not dissappointed except its smaller than the Passat
  • mluikeymluikey Posts: 3
    How do you find the power with the 1.8T, I am
    considering the same car but I drive in excess of
    50,000 miles per year with a vehicle loaded with
    fabric samples. I'm concerned with pick up and
    weather the engine would last 200,000 plus. I currently drive a van and hate it.
  • jlb2000jlb2000 Posts: 1
    Does anyone know if VW is coming out with a V6 Passat wagon before January 2000? I have made a committement to purchase a Passat Wagon by Nov. 99. I was hoping to find out if VW will have the V6 Available by then. As I would rather have the V6 than Turbo 4.
  • tvicetvice Posts: 2
    Power is much better than my vr6 Passat with automatic which was a dog off the line and only became decent above 3000 rpm the 1.8t with manual tranny is surprising. The torque curve is so flat. Power does decrease with ac on and or carrying passangers. I also thought the v6 Passat wagon was already out. I've seen sedans with the v6.
  • kandacekkandacek Posts: 5
    I'm not saying things haven't changed, but when I talked to our VW/Audi dealer back in March, he told me VW decided to drop the AWD version because it would compete too much against the Audi A4 Quattro. Shame. I really liked the Passat I drove, but I wanted the AWD version. The A4 is just too small. Instead, though it's not an AWD either, I'm looking at the Saab 9-5 wagon. I need something that's close in size to my Taurus wagon.
  • dustoffdustoff Posts: 1
    I wonder if the Subaru is expensive to maintain?
    Anyone have info to share?
  • kitty6kitty6 Posts: 1
    I've drive both the saab 9-5 wagon and the passat gls wagon this week. Hands down the saab wins for handeling and power and yummy appeal. On the other hand a savings of approx.$$10,000 would sway me towards the vw. I'm in alaska and have a very limited number and options to choose from. My options now is to contact WA or other states to find the right vw wagon with the right options.
  • idgiferidgifer Posts: 5
    Kandacek - in mid-June, my dealer also told me there would not be an AWD Passat, citing the same reason. We have bought from him before, and he has always been straight forward with us.
    Dustoff - in regards to Subaru maintenance, I can tell you that in the 5 years I've had my legacy sedan, the only money I spent was for oil changes until I hit 45,000, when I did spark plugs, some of the belts, etc, and spent $250. It's been flawless and I almost hate to get rid of it, but I'm lusting after a 2000 Red GT Wagon....
  • cimteccimtec Posts: 2
    RE Mainteance

    I have had 4 subaru wagons: 85 , 88 Turbo, 96 Outback, and 98 Outback. About 350K total. Except for a blown plastic radiator in the 88 at 98K miles, nothing but routine stuff and have never broken down on the road. Will order a 2000 White GT in September.
  • Yesterday I test-drove 99Passat, 00Outback, 00LegacyGT, all wagons. My wife and I both strongly preferred the LegacyGT, and bought one. VW was much more responsive than we're used to, too much so, and too much road noise & bounce. Legacy just rode much better than Outback, despite better viewing from OB. Tried to ignore looks of OB.
    We have a 95Legacy LS sedan, love it. This 00 is a significant improvement in terms of ride and noise & power. No insult to VW, but we liked GT better, despite some hankering for a "European" feel and a new experience.
  • We have heard that the Passat AWD wagon will be available in the Spring of 2000. Does anyone know if it will be available in the 4 and 6 cyl. engines or the 6 only. Any idea of cost and availability?
  • astaasta Posts: 122
    randyc3 - I just saw the 2000 passat turbo 4 at an auto show here in southern california. The VW rep told me the AWD passat will only be available in a V6 and should (maybe) hit dealerships in March of 2000. Every VW dealer I have talked to in my area laughs openly at any promise VW makes - all of them said VW told them they'd get the AWD passat in January of 99!! The VW rep at the show offered the same reason for feet-dragging on the Passat AWD - cutting into the Audi product line. Today I called the VW information line here in the US and the girl told me VW will "definitely" be introducing a V6 Passat Wagon in first quarter 2000 - she just doesn't have hard production dates yet. She was a bit more vague about the AWD, but said late spring for that one. FYI: I test-drove and Audi A6 Avant - super car - tight, gorgeous interior, and the sales rep told me to go ahead and hit a dip at the road at 45MPH! I did and the Audi never flinched - the suspension is so clean and tight and the body is so rigid (very safe). Of course it costs 40K with leather, but it does comes standard with the AWD quattro system (which is permanently engaged). I really want to get another wagon (I have a saturn sw2) but if VW doesn't pony up I'll probably switch to a Jeep Grand Cherokee or the Honda Odyssey minivan. I'm going to check out an A4 Avant Audi, but I've heard the cargo space is prety small.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Why not check out the Legacy?
  • astaasta Posts: 122
    dudleyr - I know zip about the subaru line other than when I was up visiting my sister in seattle a few years ago at New Year's and the there was unexpected snowstorm dump of 2 ft in the city (seattle has one snowplow for the entire city), those little subaru wagons were the only vehicles on the road! They were everywhere, scooting through nearly a foot of fresh, unplowed snow without flinching. The AWD system looks very impressive. But, how's the power and styling? How would compare the legacy or outback with the Passat wagon, given similar engine configurations?
  • Can anyone explain (or point me to a reasonably
    good explanation of) the major differences of
    these two "AWD" approaches? Thanks!
  • Here is a good site for explaining the different
    AWD approaches:
  • My wife and I have recently test driven both the 2000 Passat Wagon and the 2000 Outback Wagon. My wife seems to prefer the Passat overall due to its very impressive build quality, fit and finish, but from her perspective, the Subbie comes in a very close 2nd place and she would be happy with either car. She wants me to surprise her with a purchase, which I plan to do in January.

    My dilemma is my heart says go with the Passat and my brain says to buy the OB. The Passat has many nice features, handles nicely and the acceleration is quite nice with the 4 cylinder, although it can become noisy when pushed too hard. I also test drove a '99 V6 Passat Sedan the same day as the Passat Wagon and did not feel there was that much greater throttle response to justify the extra cost. Besides, one can easily install a computer chip in the 4 cylinder to get up to 40 or 50 more HP at a cost of $400 to $500 extra to make it even more exciting to drive. One knowledgeable VW sales rep told me that he read somewhere where installing a chip into the Passat can cause the valves to prematurely burn. Has anyone heard of this happening? I have read somewhere that the Audi uses the same engine and on one of their models they use an upgraded chip on that engine to give it a greater boost. I don't believe Audi would place an up lifting chip in their engine if the values would burn sooner than they should.

    I have to say that having a 10 year powertrain warranty on the Passat would be very nice, but of course it would not be too nice if it required many trips to the dealer for repairs. I have read many complaints of reliability problems in other sites on this car, yet even after all the trouble, these same people absolutely rave about how much they are in love with their vehicle! Unbelievable! Are there any people out there who own a Passat who haven't had any problems? According to the new issue of a certain well known and read consumer magazine on the 2000 Models they have tested ( I do not want to mention their name, since I have heard in the past that this company has filed litigation against people who have utilized their name without their permission ), they have put the reliability of the '99 Passat in practically the same category as they did for the '98 Legacy in their April issue on the '99 Models and therefore they predict the 2000 Passat will provide above average reliability. Unfortunately, this magazine did not put the 2000 Legacy on one of their classical longer term test drives and they would not comment on the reliability of the 2000 Legacy at this point, since they say it is a new model ( due to the re-design and engine revisions no doubt ).

    My views of the OB was the nicer fit and finish along with the greater amount of room over the past OB's. I was somewhat dismayed over the lack of pick up and another magazine said that they could achieve 0-60 MPH times of about 9.8 seconds if they used the power brake method by revving the engine to 2,500 RPM then releasing the brake. This would not be a recommended practice on a FWD or a RWD car all the time, but I suspect that it would not be too bad on a Full Time AWD car like the Subbie, since the engine torque is being evenly distributed to more wheels. On one of my test drives with the OB, I did pull from a stop sign with the Trans shifter set at "1" which allows one to rev the engine at a higher RPM before shifting to the higher gear and this definitely increased the performance, but of course the tiptronic feature on the Passat is better for this type of manual shifting that includes 5 gears to the Legacy's 4. The handling around a curve at a higher speed was quite nice in the OB, but I feel the Firestone Wilderness mud and snow tires on this model do not allow for the greatest of handling and one magazine says that the car has a heavy understeer to it which did not produce exciting skidpad results. I am wondering if one can order this car with a different set of tires ( like the GT tires )from the factory? Is there an after market feature that would allow one to bolt on the turbocharger on the OB as the models sold overseas? If so, at what cost I wonder? Thanks for your help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Here are my impressions:

    The Passat 1.8T sedan I drove was quick with the 5 speed, but my friend's Tiptronic wagon was much slower and shifted slowly too. Stick with the manual, or get the V6. Pro: upscale feel, germanic. Con: turbo lag, real world prices are higher, 4Motion still MIA, premium fuel costs $1.69 around me (yikes!).

    The 2000 Outback is much improved over the '99: 4 wheel disc brakes, 16" wheels, rear LSD option, seat belt pre-tensioners and force limiters, side air bag option, DRLs, over an inch wider, more cargo room. The fake hood scoop is gone, and it looks more upscale inside, now matching the very nice Passat interior. Pro: full-time AWD, safety, low-end torque mates better with auto, more comprehensively equipped (AWD, alloys, roof rack, fog lights, etc.). Con: a bit heavy, auto models could use more power (H-6 coming for 2001).

    It's important to distinguish the various AWD systems. VW/Audi has two: 4Motion and Quattro, and they are different. 4Motion controls how power is distributed electronically, like auto tranny Soobs. Quattro uses a Torsen Differential, with a LSD front and rear. Oddly, the Audi TT uses VW's system.

    Auto Soobs work like 4Motion. For 2000, they also offer a rear viscous LSD in the all-weather package, which I highly recommend at its bargain price. Manual tranny Soobs split torque 50/50 all the time. The center diffy is filled with a silicon fluid, which thickens quickly when either axle is spinning quicker than the other.

    I own a manual tranny Forester, and basically it's so effective you just never begin to slip.

    All these are full-time, active systems that make part-time 4WD seem relatively crude.

    Audi charges $1750, I believe, even on the TT. VW should charge in the $1500-1750 range. Soobs have it standard on all its cars.

    Snow tires work well, but remember you have to mount them. They're louder and don't handle as well in the dry, so it was not a practical option for me, since we get snow sporadically (I'd have to mount/dismount them constantly).

    AWD also has its benefits in the dry. Handling in curves is more neutral. Weight is distributed more evenly front to rear. The front tires aren't overwhelmed having to steer and transmit torque.

    Subaru offers an automanual in New Zealand, so it may eventually appear here. They also have a low range tranny, believe it or not. The H-6 engine should arrive this fall, with 205hp, on GT and Outback Limited models, but with auto only the first year.

    Sorry about my ranting. Wait for the model you want, drive it, and buy what fits your needs and budget. Both are sweet.

  • I Recently purchased a Passat GLS V6 Wagon in Boise, ID, so they are out there. I did compare the Outback and the Forrester. Main difference I found was VW better on the highway, the Subaru AWD makes them better in the snow. I have the 5-Speed and that really makes this a fun car to drive.

    You just need to decide if you want AWD or not.
  • This is from today's Colo Spgs local paper in the
    business section talking about the LA Auto Show.

    "Volkswagen also said it plans to build in 2002 a
    convertible version of its New Beetle, which was
    reintroduced in 1998. And the company said
    four-wheel-drive versions of its Passat wagons and
    sedans will be available later this month."
Sign In or Register to comment.