The 1997 Volkswagen Passat never garnered much attention in the United States, but its updates to style and performance brings the GLX model to a wider audience. As a fuel-efficient midsize car, the Passat offers comfort over luxury and is available as sedans and wagons. Unfortunately, the low safety ratings, lack of options, and lack of power in models with automatic transmissions causes the Passat to have some extremely stiff competition.
Body Styles: sedan, station wagon
Engines: 1.9-liter four-cylinder, 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Passat TDi, Volkswagen Passat GLX
The 1997 Volkswagen Passat removes the GLS from the lineup. The diesel-ran Turbo Direct Injection (TDi) becomes scarcely available, but this never sold well in American markets anyway; the GLX V-6 remains as the only viable option.
The exterior of the 1997 Volkswagen Passat comes in eight factory colors. Other standard features include a roof rack for storage and 15-inch alloy wheels, while a powered moonroof is optional. The front intermittent window wipers and a rear window wiper make for easier visibility during inclement weather.
The 1997 Volkswagen Passat provides a roomy interior with plenty of legroom for everyone. The storage space is also more than ample. It comes in a single trim, but the interior is comfortably equipped with cloth seating, leather steering wheel trim, and bucket seats in the front. The trip computer improves the ease of navigating during long trips. Other standard features include AM/FM/Cassette audio system, air-conditioning, and powered windows and locks, while leather seating is available as an option.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Volkswagen Passat gets a 172-hp 2.8-liter V-6 that provides ample scooting power and makes 173 ft-lb of torque. The turning radius is 38.2 feet, and the acceleration is quick off the draw. Unfortunately, replacing the manual five-speed transmission with the automatic four-speed transmission makes this more-than-willing engine sluggish and less responsive. The TDi runs on diesel gas, but there hasn't been a large market for this in the United States for past models. However, Volkswagen still offers the highly fuel efficient model that only produces 90 horsepower and runs on a four-cylinder engine.
The 1997 Volkswagen Passat comes standard with a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, traction control, and driver and passenger side front airbags. Lighting includes fog lights and daytime running lights for extra safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated it four out of five stars during frontal crash tests for driver's side collisions and four out of five stars for passenger side collisions. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) rated its overall safety as ""poor.""
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Passat GLX: 16/23 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Passat TDi: 32/42 mpg city/highway
- Roomy interior for passengers and storage
- Great handling
You Won't Like
- Sluggish automatic transmission
- Costly repairs
- Poor safety rating
No options and low in safety but competitively priced.
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