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VW Passat TDI vs VW Jetta TDI

patpat Posts: 10,421
What are your thoughts on choosing between the turbodiesel Passat or Jetta? It seems the Passat will no longer be offered in a TDI model. Since this means the Passat's 2.0 TDI engine will have only been available for one model year, is this of concern in terms of resale, parts and service down the road?

Would you choose a sedan or a wagon - and why?

Let's talk about these things here - help a member who is debating these questions make a decision!


  • From a purely economic point of view, the Jetta is the right choice. Better gas mileage, far more of them on the road, hence more parts, more knowledgeable service crew, etc. Also, being the first of the new body style (once you get past the fact that it looks like a Corolla), its value will hold up well.

    The Passat TDI is rated 38 mpg highway (though I am getting 41 with still less than 2000 miles on mine). It is the last model year of the body style that began in 1997, and as you note, the engine was sold for just one year in the USA.

    Yet I just chose the Passat TDI over the new Jetta. Price for the two was about the same. I made that choice for 2 reasons:

    1) Passat is bigger, hence more crashworthy. Adults can sit in the back seat.
    2) Passat does not look like a Corolla.
    3) Passat has 134 HP vs 100 HP for the Jetta.

    I think the Jetta is a great choice, too, but the Passat worked better for me.
  • conismoconismo Posts: 5
    I would agree with you the "old" Passat looks better. I just replaced two Jetta TDI (01 &02) with an 05 Passat TDI as the new ones will not be here till next year. Not sure where you live but in Colorado there are plenty of both on the road. Either way the torque is what gets you up the mountain. Ultimately, you need to decide if the extra room is worth it, as they are basically the same price.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    I would agree with you the "old" Passat looks better.

    I bought the 2005 wagon TDI and love it. I had 5 adults and drove up North today. It has the same power & handling, as with 2 on board. My passengers were surprised. One of them has a Corolla. He told me with 3 on board, he can't hit 70 MPH up this grade we kicked up to 80 on today. I have not looked at the 2006. I hope they did not screw it up like the Jetta. Looks too much like an Audi to me.
  • I live in flat Eastern PA (near Philadelphia). The low-end torque is amazing. Bought gas this morning, I averaged 41.5 mpg. Still only 1800 miles on it, so improvements are anticipated!

    I have noticed that while it still has plenty of power with a full load, it does use more fuel, but that should not be surprising.

    In time, as more of the new Passats hit the road, the B5 will begin to look small and dated. But that doesn't much worry me.
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    Since the 2.0 TDI engine will continue to be one of three diesel engines available for the Passat in Europe, what information do you have indicates the engine will not be available in the 2007 or 2008 North American Passats after the U.S. cleans up domestic diesel fuel?
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    If I had to buy one today or in the near future, I would go for the Passat for the reasons mentioned. The current lack of a Jetta wagon and AWD models is very disconcerting, though.

    However, everything will change with nationwide introduction of low-sulfur Diesel in the US in 2006/7. It has been VW's stated goal to use their experience in powerful, low-fuel consumption Diesels to hit the market at that point, in part competing against hybrids. There are quite a number of VW Diesel engines out there that have been available for years in Europe, but not here. Then there are new ones, like the attractive 170hp 2.0TDI. I just hope VW gets it right this time and makes these engines (and engine choices) available in all models (including wagons and AWD versions) as soon as possible... rather than getting there too late, once more.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Of the choices for you, I'd get the Passat--unless you prefer a manual transmission. The Passat has more power and torque and is quieter. Being available for only 1 model year won't hurt resale at all. Any diesel seems to have high re-sale right now.

    I prefer the stick shift because with a diesel, both the mileage and acceleration are much better. However, with the Passat's high torque, you still get decent pickup, and good mileage as well for a mid-size car. Once VW attaches the dual clutch, self-shifting manual transmission to the diesels, that will become the transmission of choice
  • Model: Passat Wagon, GL with ESP
    Location: Anchorage AK:
    Drawbacks: We have very high sulfur fuel, as we got a special waiver years back.
    Miles: 5400
    Passat Choice: We needed the size for my wife’s comfort, as much fuel efficiency as possible and what we do with it (replacing a SUV).

    I believe the Passat TDI 2.0 was here for 2 years, though I thought the diesel would continue for the 2006 mid year point when its replaced by the new platform (and no diesel). I am not seeing it so…..Still calling it a 2005 and producing? Unsure.

    That said, all the parts for this care are going to come from Germany, and the engine is still made there. As the trany is the same as its been for years (to the best of my knowledge) and the rest of the accoutrements (doors, controls et al) certainly are the parts situation should not be an issue.

    Add in that the injection system is extremely simple physically, though technically a real wonder, diagnosis for any problems should not be any issue. Nice to, that if there is a problem with the injection system, its very likely confined to one Unit Injector, and easy to change, relatively inexpensive (and less hesitation to do so by VW I would think).

    So, I see not reason to not buy it, if it suits your needs.

    In our case, my wife cannot do a manual anymore, ergo we had to have an automatic in any vehicle we own (and lucky to have bought a truck with an automatic when the problem first set in).

    As the Passat Wagon came standard with the automatic and diesel in the GL, we felt fortunate to get a package we didn’t have to pay extra for (and we are happy with the GL, saw no need for the extras of the GLS, GL has suited us just fine).

    With the torque from that engine making the automatic feasible for wide range of use, we are completely tickled with it. The new Jetta gets the 1.9 with 100 hp and 177 ft lbs. of torque, in a vehicle the same size.
    As for mileage,

    It’s a bit wild at times in city. On the way to work at 5:30 am, I have seen 43.5 on the trip meter (all time high, though the range is 39-42.5). I can time the lights very well and the speeds are in the 38-43 mph range..
    On the other hand, stop and go traffic, we occasionally see 26. Average (measured) has been 31-34. Computer is 1-3 mpg gallon off indicated in town.

    Its been above the 38 mpg since the start (assuming a longer trip, 20+ miles). After it settled in (above the 1,000 miles mark). Worst was 38 mpg, 3 large people, back fully loaded, and one passenger seat full of briefcases, coats handbags etc.
    Best has been 42 mpg, and a recent 220 mile trip with 2 in car and about half loaded in back was 41. We seem to do 41 pretty consistently now. One trip has a serious headwind component, and if it doesn’t balance out over the trip, that has a major affect. We drive 58-60 in the 55 zones, and 68 in the 65 zone (less if just a Sunday drive and we aren’t holding up traffic). Above 70 mph, the wind speed holds it at about 39 mpg. Usually not in that much of a hurry, so keep it under 70.
    Trip meter is much more accurate, .3 to 1.5 optimistic.

    It hits a sweet spot occasionally, and it can be amazing for in town. I expect at some point between now and 15k, it will move up. Something to look forward to, and already exceeds expectation (so much so I am now greedy, disappointed if I don’t get 36 mpg in town!).

    Worst has been the smoking issue. I resolved at least the oil in the intake system with the ProVent filter. I didn’t’ want to dump the crank vent fumes overboard. Its against part of my attitude in not polluting) .
    We still are getting large clouds, I believe that may be the catalytic cleaning itself when it gets hot. I’ll try the additive and see, and also we join the rest of the US with the low sulphur in 2006.

    For us its working well. We moved from 2 fuel users, to retiring the one SUV (keeping the pickup) and are putting as many miles as possible on the Passat. That’s cut the fuel bill by 2/3 to 3/4 for us. If you started with a fairly economical car in the first place, you would not be getting that payback. At last 60% of the car payment is saved in fuel, probably more. Diesel is close to unleaded prices if you shop a bit.

    Frankly it’s a bit low clearance wise for all time use in winter, but we have the pickup to use when needed, so decision will be to stay home if possible, or whoever has to be someplace to take the pickup and roads will need to be clear for the second car use.
    Balancing that is the extremely effective anti lock brakes, skid control and handling of the car. Also heated mirrors, excellent windshield wipers, great headlights etc.
    We got to play with the traction system on one icy hill just before winter left last year, and it was very impressive (I see no need for 4 wheel drive with that and its low ground clearance, what it has doesn’t get you through, more wheels drive won’t, just have to take pickup or stay home).
    Very much looking forward to playing with the ESP (reports are its amazing).

    So Far:
    We consider ourselves very fortunate to have started looking, been able to test drive both the Jetta and Passat, settle in on the Passat, and then have one come through that met our requirements (GL with the only extra the ESP, which we would have taken without, but wanted as being able to just drive and not worry about skids can save you from a collision).
    Also very fortunate that VW made a vehicle like this. Frankly there is nothing like it in the US that meets the economy, size, with the mandatory automatic transmission that the Passat does. My wife just cannot fit into a smaller vehicle. Narrow availability window for this vehicle and fuel prices going through the roof like I anticipated (I had a bad feeling about it and we got it as they went up through $40 a barrel.
    It’s a very fun car to drive, just shy of a true Sports Wagon (though I would argue that its at least on the low end of that category). It makes the errand and trips into town enjoyable again.
    Also, as I have to make it to work (my wife can usually juggle her work as its mostly at home and some in town), it may mean the difference between a downward economic spiral. Our house choice was dictated by what we could find that we could afford and style needed (ranch type are not common in Alaska), not location, and that means an 11 mile drive for me. I can adjust some of that with bicycling to work, but its spotty in the winter, and if its raining or I am sick, I just can’t do the 11 miles, and still put in my 10 hour days. At lower fuel prices the pickup and SUV worked, though again the SUV was as much what my wife was comfortable in.

    Jetta TDI:
    The old smaller one has plenty of git up and go with the automatic and 3 people in it. I don’t think the larger new one will. If it suits, s
  • I have a 2005 passat tdi ran excellent till lat week ant the transmission blew just like that.The dealer cant figure it out .It was well taken care of and has 106,000. highway miles. They are looking at $4,000 to repair :cry: .I am looking to get rid of it. V.W. USA doesn't want to help did u every have any trouble with yours??

    sam from CT.
  • whoops replied to wrong person - reposting -

    I saw your post about the passat tdi with the blown transmission - if you do decide to sell, let me know. I guess I might be interested in fixing and driving it myself, and I could certainly give you more than a dealer would as a trade-in (well, most likely anyway)... Thanks, Erik millerik -atsign- yahoo dotcom
  • Ditto, I have an 05 TDI Passat as well. My tranny just blew. I bought this car new, it was maintained on schedule. I have all the records and I'm really upset. I would very much like to find others who have had this problem with this car..
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    It could be a luck-of-draw thing, assuming all the services were done properly (also, what service is there - change ATF & filter once at 100k miles maybe?)
    anyway, i haven't heard of any trend towards the passat TDI slushbox failures.

    But have you replaced the engine oil-chain system with the replacement gear system from VW? That's a $1k or $2k job too and is required on all the USA passat TDIs, as far as I understand.


    As for the forum subject, Jetta TDI vs Passat TDI... I've owned both, and the Jetta TDI seems prefereable for many reasons.! Also it's somewhat moot since Passat TDI hasn't been offered for 5 years and apparently will not be offered any year soon.
  • Thank you for your reply. We replaced the drive belt tensioner for around $600 at 130K.Is that what you're talking about? There is no mention of the oil chain system or replacement gear system on any of our records. The car now has 156K miles. We've decided to go ahead and replace the tranny. The cost is more than the value of the car but we know what we have and feel if we buy we'll wind up putting that much extra into anything used. I'd certainly appreciate comments, advice or suggestions on this. thanks, AZmerkin
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    This article should clarify the Passat TDI oil pump issue for you.
  • mine went today with 128k miles.

    the car started lurching or hesitating at around 40mph, then the check engine light came on, then i had no drive power at all.
    i pulled over and there was fluid leaking on the ground.

    I had just been at the dealer for a glowplug recall changeout, and am very suspicious. they put it on the rack, pulled off the cover and it looked like it had been leaking for a while. trans was dry and mechanic says its toast!
  • azmerkinazmerkin Posts: 3
    Car is in too good of shape to let go for $5,000. Tranny cost more than that. I think it's the tiptronic concept. Not worth the metal it's cased in.
  • dm148300dm148300 Posts: 1
    edited March 2011
    My tranny blew too at 155,000. Not just a small fix either; about $4000 all told. I replaced the alternator ($400) less than a month ago, sensor went out a little before that. I have not had good luck with this Passat at all ('05 TDI). I don't think I'll buy another VW based on my experience with it. Not to mention that you dare not put anything other than synthetic which runs me about $70 per oil change.

  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    seems like those 05/04 passat TDIs have been expensive to maintain. i had one too but sold it around 80k miles before it had problems (the common oil chain failure).
    that is quite the cost for a new automatic transmission.
    combine that with the $2K oil chain->gear upgrade/repair for those 05 TDIs!

    for either diesel or gas-engine, maybe drivers should insist on a standard transmission if they want the best chance to drive >>100k without a major transmission repair ?
  • harstarsharstars Posts: 2
    Actually, I'd like to start this discussion all over again pertinent to the redesigned Jetta 2011 and coming Passat 2012....
  • papamoochpapamooch Posts: 1
    O.k. I just lost my transmission this past week too, with only 125K miles. I am being told that a new one could run me a total of 7K, and rebuild for 5300. I believe this is both parts and labor. We are definitely past the point of ROI, and as far as my wife is concerned, this has been a money sucking pit of a car. Not sure what to do or where to go with it. We are thinking we need to just scrap it for parts. Any takers?
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    Thank you. With the 2012 Passat TDI's now arriving on the lots, this forum should generate some interesting discussion.
  • espelandtespelandt Posts: 1
    Where are you located? I have been looking for a Passat wagon and this could be just the project.
  • I'm a simple guy. I ignored all those blogosphere VW purists who have been moaning about the end of VW exceptionalism with the coming of the new 2012 Passat. All I wanted was simple: the TDI, a stick shift and a sunroof.

    Only VW doesn't sell those three things together. You want a stick, no sunroof for you. Seems someone upstairs thinks the reason people buy a stick shift is to save money, ergo why would that same customer buy a luxury item like a sunroof? Ach du friggin' lieber! Could you be more clueless than that?

    It fits though with the aforementioned VW purist complaint that in dumbing down for the US market, they're using a Camry template to interpret the US consumer--and writing off all those American customers who paid up to buy a BMW or AUDI with a manual and a sunroof, not to mention Porsche, i.e 2/3 of the rest of their product line, because they actually like to drive a vehicle not just point it down the road.

    So, I'm sorry I waited 7 months to buy a Passat and VW wrote me out of the database of potential sales. I had my money in my hand ready to go in and buy. F-'em. I'm going to go buy a BMW just to spite 'em. And I'm serious.
  • delegatordelegator Posts: 4
    Wow, that's some expensive spite considering that a BMW within shouting distance of the Passat's size (5 series) will cost you at least $15k more than the top of the line Passat. And also considering that the BMW 5 series comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. I suppose now you'll be mad at them too?
  • Dear Delegator: In the real world of economic decisions, instead of some fantasy parallel world, consumers make tradeoffs until there's a point where they don't.

    VW couldn't put together a simple package in its new Passat--a stick, sunroof and diesel engine (never mind ask for awd). In effect, they forced me down the product line to a Jetta to pay nearly the same money.

    Any consumer will walk away from being forced to take less for what is effectively the same price.

    Whatever deal I make elsewhere at least has to make sense within the products offered.
  • artuartu Posts: 7
    The VW website says in the 2012 Passat video that there are special leasing and finance rates for the new Passat. Does anybody know anything about that? I'm interested in the TDI SE model 6 speed man. Thks Art
  • delegatordelegator Posts: 4
    Hey, I don't disagree with you deciding not to buy a Passat. I just think that your claim that you'll go buy a more expensive vehicle that doesn't give you what you're looking for is just silly.

    The fact is that VW made the decision to simplify their product offering because it makes economic sense -- they can offer the vehicle at a lower price because they get economies of scale by building only certain packages and combinations. If you don't like it, then don't buy one -- just don't make it out to be some nefarious plot by VW to overcharge you for a Jetta.

    In my case, I wish I could get an Opera Red exterior with the gray leather interior, but I can't -- the only options with Opera Red are beige or black. I also don't particularly need a navigation system, but in order to get the features I do really want, I have to go with the SEL, which means accepting the nav system (including the cost for it). I can either decide to pay for the SEL package, or get a different car. I chose the former. I just don't take the whole thing personally.

    Actually, I would just as happily have bought a Jetta if VW had made it possible to get some of the features I want: Homelink and automatic headlights to name a couple. But I can't get those in a Jetta at any price point, so I'm getting a Passat. Yes, that's a conscious decision by VW to move me up a level. But when I compare the price to all the competition, I see that I would pay the same or more for any similarly equipped, similarly priced vehicle -- in most cases, it's more.

    That's how the market works. As I was trying to point out, you aren't going to find many (if any) options for your manual transmission with a sunroof on a car with good driving characteristics. If you find one, take it. Just don't be emotional about it, because you can be sure the car companies aren't.
  • jay_zeejay_zee Posts: 1
    I was at the dealer yesterday. They did have a manual TDI, but it was a SEL. I was told the SE Manual will arrive in late September. Current finance rates were 1.9% for 60 months special.
  • My 2005 Passat TDI trans just failed at 112K. I called VW who said there where not enough complaints to confirm that 04-05 Passat TDIs have a high rate of transmission failure. So VW is saying they don't have enough complaints to consider a re-imbursement for a transmission that fails prematurely. I just saw on this site alone trans failures at 125K, 128K, 155K, and 106K. I am sure there are many more.
    Considering calling VW Corporate NA at 1-800-822-8987 to register a complaint. If enough complaints are received some re-embursement may follow. After all if the saleman said your trans would fail at 100-125K would you have bought the car in the first place?
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