This weeks test auto is the very popular 2004 Volkswagen GLS Sedan 4Motion (for all wheel drive).
Over the past couple of months I have made the rounds of this companies family of cars. From the very expensive Phaeton to Audi’s A8 to this Passat. There is a similarity between cars from the same country. It suspect it reflects the character of the people a great deal. Japan is meticulous and they pay great attention to detail. The Germans have a way of seeking perfection. Surely both countries are very nationally proud and their work ethic is unsurpassed.
Well, this German engineered Passat has a lot of impressive cousins and we all know how serious that people are about what they produce. Contrary to some critics this Passat is a fine automobile that has good genetics with the likes of other higher end products. It remains a popular contender in this class and inherits a lot of experience and qualities from its siblings.
Parts – 75% Germany
Assembly – Emden, Germany
Class: – Midsize
Cars: – Golf, GTI, Jetta / Wagon, New Beetle, Passat / Wagon, Phaeton, R32 & Touareg.
Handling & Performance:
Very good handling characteristics from the 4-Motion all wheel drive, which makes this car fun to drive. However I feel it is a little sluggish and underpowered off the line. But what is more maddening is the delay between pressing down on the accelerator and having to wait for that neck jerk you get when it finally connects. Remember riding a Cushman Scooter with its centrifugal clutch. That’s the sensation you get. Ok, so it dates me but I imagine many of you know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, this criticism carries over to Audi A8 at $72,000 and the Phaeton at $106,000. Ok, so why should I complain about the Passat? Well, I do, and I did make note when reviewing those cars recently. This was an annoying glitch.
Very nice. Daughter Jennifer was doing a coin flip between this and the Acura TL. She is extremely pleased with the TL, but I know she would have been equally happy with this VW. The Acura badge is admittedly more prestigious however, and for about the same money. You’ll pay very little more for a similarly equipped Acura.
Fit and Finish:
Outstanding. I believe this VW gets a boost from the common ownership of Audi, VW and Bentley. As mentioned, the Passat, Phaeton and Audi A8 all come from the same family and they have begun to up the class barrier for all company products.
You won’t go too far wrong with today’s bevy of beautiful automobiles from Germany, where beauty is more than skin deep. German cars exude the image of Solid, well built and sturdy cars. That gives a sense of confidence beyond what America has been building over the past 20 years.
Both Germany and Japan have earned and enjoy the worlds respect due to their build to last philosophy. However consumers today must take a hard look at American competitors for price and overall value.
VW Passat GLS $22-39,000, Dodge Intrepid $21-25,000, Chrysler 300M $29-33,000, Nissan Maxima $27-30,000, Volvo S60 $27-37,000, Chevrolet Impala $22-28,000, Buick Regal $25-29,000, Ford Taurus $20-24,000, Toyota Camry $18-24,000, Saab 9-5 $35-40,000, Honda Accord $16-29,000, Pontiac Bonneville $27-35,000, Acura TL $33-35,000, Mazda 6 $19-23,000, Mitsubishi Galant $18-26,000, Subaru Legacy $21-28,000.
Decent fuel economy, top fit and finish and very nice styling.
1.8 liter 170 horsepower 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed auto trans, all wheel drive, electronic differential lock, antilock brakes, power steering, front and side air bags, child rear door locks, theft deterrent system, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, split folding rear seat, power glass sunroof with tilt and slide, Monsoon sound system with in dash CD/ cassette player, trip computer. Options included leather package with wood trim, rear sunshade, 5-speed tiptronic, ESP Electronic Stabilization Program.
20 City and 28 Highway MPG.
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