Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Volkswagen Passat estate?
Any Passat should be rattle-free and feel comparatively fresh because of its rock-solid build quality. However, they do go wrong - perhaps more often than you might think - and (together with the saloon) didn't fare that well in our reliability survey.
It was a mid-ranker in the JD Power customer satisfaction report, although owners rated quality and reliability as above average.
Even so, be especially vigilant for noises from the suspension, ensure the car cushions you well from bumps, and check that it tracks straight and feels secure in corners. As well as suspension problems, watch for electrical faults, which range from false warning lights on the dash to electric windows.
Gearboxes have been known to fail on later cars, but it's rare and likely to have been sorted under VW's three-year 60,000-mile warranty. Finally, catalytic converters can fail on diesels, so be suspicious of any car being sold with a short MoT.