Review: Volkswagen Passat (1997 – 2000)


Solid family saloon that exudes class and quality inside. Refined, comfortable cruiser. Good rear headroom. TDIs very economical.

Nothing like as reliable or well built as the cabin ambience would incline you to believe. Overlight steering and vague gearshift.

Recently Added To This Review

1 April 2004

Worldwide recall of 870,000 1996-1999 Passat, 1994-1999 A4, 1997-1999 A6 and 1994-1999 A8s for "free check for possible damage of the rubber bellows of the front axle. The problem could lead to premature... Read more

1 March 2001

Worldwide recall of 560,000 1999 model year A4s, A6s, A8s and VW Passats to replace steering ball joints (track rod ends). Announced Auto Bild 11/3/2001. German 'Worldwide recall' of all VW Passats... Read more

Volkswagen Passat (1997 – 2000): At A Glance

Passat B5 1997-2001. Reverted to longitudinal front wheel drive.

What does a Volkswagen Passat (1997 – 2000) cost?

List Price from £25,580
Buy new from £18,737
Contract hire from £214.16 per month
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What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Passat (1997 – 2000)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Struggling to remove a timing belt

I have recently changed the harmonic balancer in my Volkswagen Passat 1.8 litre non turbo and had to remove the timing belt from the camshaft pulley - which was fine. I aligned everything to its correct position. But now when I try to turn the engine by hand via socket and ratchet on the crankshaft it locks up at about half a turn and wont budge. I have tried a few different things but I am stumped at what it could be? My car is automatic and I have tried all this while it was in the park position - does this matter?
Put it in neutral 'N'. In 'P' the drivetrain is locked up.
Answered by Honest John
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