The fifth generation Passat, produced between 1996 and 2005, has been awarded the coveted title of Large Used Car of the Decade by the used car valuation specialists, CAP.
The ‘all-new’ Passat, revealed to the public at the 1996 Paris Motor Show, was hailed as a step forward in the upper medium class setting new benchmarks for quality, refinement, styling and performance. These improvements were recognised at the time with the Passat receiving a string of industry accolades including the prestigious European Car of the Year at the 1997 Auto 1 awards.
Mark Bulmer from CAP Black Book explained: ‘The Volkswagen Passat is a byword for quality, and the model launched in 1996 was a quantum leap forward in every area most important to the trade and the used car buyer. Volkswagen’s attention to detail meant that this Passat offered the sense of a prestige vehicle but at a mainstream purchase price. Legendary reliability means a deserved reputation as a dependable ‘workhorse’ and robust engineering and build quality means it is a safe bet even with mileage into six figures.’
Bulmer continued: ‘The new range of diesel engines offered a leap forward in terms of the balance between performance and economy, a combination at the very heart of success in the used car market. This quality set the 1996 – 2005 Passat apart from many other cars in its sector which could often prove prohibitively expensive to live with. By offering prestige quality at a mainstream price this Passat also influenced other manufacturers to up their game in terms of the quality of their own offerings.’
Commenting on the award, John French, National Used Car Manager for Volkswagen UK: ‘The Passat has always performed strongly and is well established on the used market with the strength of the brand image and residual values both ensuring high demand. I think it is a real credit to Volkswagen’s consistent focus on build quality and reliability that the previous generation Passat has performed so strongly and has been awarded this accolade.’
Now in its sixth generation, the Passat was originally launched back in 1973 and, over this 36 year period, has become one of the most successful models for Volkswagen. To date, more than 16 million Passats have been produced worldwide with over half a million being delivered to customers in the UK.