The 1996 Volkswagen Passat is a solidly-equipped passenger vehicle available as a sedan or wagon, and is the last release before Volkswagen issued an extensive redesign of the model. Typical of many last-run models, the options list is fairly limited compared to later production years. Despite the limited options, the 1996 Volkswagen Passat has a solid list of standard features for a vehicle in its price range.
The Volkswagen Passat is available with a diesel engine option, which is unusual when compared to many vehicles in its price range. The 1.9-liter, four-cylinder, diesel engine is not as powerful as the 2.8-liter, six-cylinder option, but it provides substantially better fuel economy. In addition, the base price of the diesel model-equipped Passat TDi is significantly less than the gasoline engine-equipped GLX V6, although it does not have quite as many features or options.
Body Styles: wagon, sedan
Engines: 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, 2.8-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Passat TDi, Volkswagen Passat GLX V6
The only change to the 1996 Volkswagen Passat line is the removal of the Passat GLS. The lack of changes is due to fact that Volkswagen redesigned the Passat after 1996.
The Volkswagen Passat offers two body options on all models: the sedan and the wagon. The overall appearance between the two body types is fairly similar, other than the longer cabin on the wagon models. The bumpers are body-colored, but the lower section of the vehicle is black, regardless of body color. This slightly two-tone design works well for all of the offered colors, even lighter paint colors. The design has curves, but it still has an overall blocky profile.
The interior features offered by the Volkswagen Passat vary based on the model, not the body design. The Passat TDi offers power heated mirrors, power locks, power windows, an anti-theft alarm system, cruise control, air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, and a cassette player, all as standard equipment. A power moonroof is available as optional equipment on the TDi. The Passat GLX V6 adds a trip computer and leather trim to the aforementioned standard equipment and leather seating and heated seats to the optional features list.
Performance & Handling
The Volkswagen Passat has good overall handling and performance, and can handle any normal roadway condition without too much difficulty. The Passat has adequate acceleration for the most part, but the 1.9-liter four-cylinder is definitely a weak point, as it is a little underpowered, especially when compared to the 2.8-liter, six-cylinder model. The four-cylinder engine still manages to get the job done, so some drivers might favor it due to the better fuel economy and lower base price tag.
Both Volkswagen Passat models offer dual-front airbags as a standard feature. Four-wheel Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) are available as an option. Traction control is standard on the Passat GLX V6.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Passat 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel: 32/42 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Passat 2.8-liter six-cylinder: 16/23 mpg city/highway
- Sedan and wagon body options
- Diesel option
- Roomy interior
You Won't Like
- Does not offer as many features as other Volkswagen vehicles in the same price range.
- Less options than other model years due to the upcoming redesign of the Passat.
German engineering and style.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry