Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI Used Buyer’s Guide

Sometime in the last quarter of 2011, Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM office is now closed) launched this attractive sedan which was fully imported with an impressive list of features and safety equipment for RM184,888.

Then a few short months later in 2012, VGM decided that a local assembled version of this sedan would better its sales numbers and so its CKD Pekan selling price dropped to RM169,888 putting it side by side with Korean and Japanese business sedans. It worked as sales picked up fast.

In today’s used car market, this 2012 CKD Passat competes with the well-equipped Honda Accord and the reliable Toyota Camry. Yet, the Passat comes across as a good value as it is even more affordable if you buy one secondhand today as prices have tumbled to a low RM25,000 to RM35,000 for the early CKD Pekan model.

Yes, you do have some French offerings that should not be ignored like the Peugeot 508 and the 2014 Renault Fluence but the Passat is turbocharged with a quick acting 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (when it is working).

Codenamed the Passat B7, there has been some interested parties looking at this sedan recently due to its low asking price in the used car classifieds and the large number of units on sale allowing for potential buyers to take their pick of the best.

This 1517kg VW Passat is powered by the 1.8-liter Volkswagen EA888 turbocharged engine that delivers 160PS and 250Nm of torque. It will do the standstill to 100km/h acceleration in 8.0 seconds (if the DSG is working fine) and reach 220km/h is the engine is well maintained.

Ask any current owner and they will all say the car feels faster than the claimed time and handling is on par with its German rivals costing almost 50 percent more.

However, owners will also share their disappointment with after sales, warranty claims and parts availability and this is why Volkswagen dealers in Malaysia have been closing down one after another before this Covid-19 pandemic. The last VW dealership to close (January 2020) was Cergaz Autohaus along Jalan Damansara who shut their doors after 11-years in business.

So, back to the used Passat. What you need to look out for and we start with the smallest issues first which we have compiled from various popular forums in Malaysia. Yes, the information is readily available online and it is no secret.

  • The rear wheel sensor will fail and parts are not available immediately. This means your ESP, ABS and Traction Control warning lights will light up your dashboard.  
  • Rattling dashboards after just one year. Is it our roads or low quality fit and finish from the Pekan factory?
  • Engine consumes lubricant more than expected. This is a common issue with the TSI engines and also found in Audi vehicles.
  • Ignition Coil does not last and needs replacing every two years or so.
  • The thermostat housing will leak after a couple of years. Replacement is not as expensive as its rivals but happens too soon.
  • The water pump is another part that does not last as long as its rival brands.
  • Then comes the famous dual clutch gearbox failure. Most Passat owners would have had their dual clutch gearbox stuck in reverse or have no gear engagement at all. This mean a new gearbox under warranty. Some even managed to get a second replacement gearbox under warranty. So when buying a used Passat, make sure you get confirmation that this has already been done as now without warranty, the cost could be as high as the purchase price of the used Passat.

If the current owner (or used car dealer) shows you records of most of the above already done and service record intact for all the years, then this could be worth your attention. If any of the above is missing, walk away and look for the next car on sale.

You can actually find a Passat with an inspection report and warranty with Mudah mVIP which could potentially save you from all the trouble.

Please note that there are now a number of very capable private workshops that can handle your Passat issues and quickly so best to avoid the expensive authorized service center. Prices are much lower, waiting time lower and they actually solve most issues much better and faster.  

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