1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

Recently, I’ve been spending some time driving an Audi C6 A6 3.2 Avant. While I have a report coming on that car soon, I mention it for one reason – what happened the other day when I was filling it up. The gas light pinged on and I pulled into the station; pop the fuel door, card in, nozzle removed, then I tend to pass my time judging other people’s car choices as they fill up too. As I filled, I made my way all the way around the quite full station and had summed up the rather unhappy lives of most of the vanilla SUV drivers in my head. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was still pumping gas. Filling the Passat generally limits my prejudice party as I run out of room at 12 gallons. The 530xi allows me to make judgements on more Kia drivers, as I’ve hit 16 and change. But I had strode past 16 with ease and the numbers were still going. Concerned, I stopped and began to look for the gas pouring out of the bottom of the car, much to the bemusement of my captive audience. Unable to locate the leak, in wonder I re-engaged the trigger and watched the number on the dial climb past 18 gallons. Now, the A6 gets pretty reasonable mileage for a big, heavy car – around 23 average, over 25-26 on the highway. And all told, if you ran it dry you’d be 21.1 gallons in the whole. That makes a real-world range of over 500 miles per a tank. Sound like a lot? It’s the type of number the B4 Passat TDi laughs at.

Especially in Variant wagon form, the B4 TDi Passats have become legendary. Equipped with the 1Z motor, they’re capable of a simply bladder-busting range. While the estimates of mileage on the car range from 30-41 mpg from the factory, real world results from some owners turn up with numbers closer to Prius-embarrassing 45 miles per a gallon. Now, if the Passat had a fuel tank the size of the A6, that would equate to a pretty large range. But they didn’t have a tank the size of the Audi – it was bigger. Much bigger. In the Variant, many owners claim 26 gallons fills their tank while some markets even had the option for a 33 gallon sump. The result is a pretty dependable 1,000 mile range and, driven very carefully, some VW TDi-faithful have gotten closer to 1,500 miles. Shocking. That means it’s pretty typical to see these TDis with multi-hundred thousand miles accrued, but that’s not the case here according to the odometer. No, this sedan – while it admittedly has a smaller tank than the wagon – has apparently traveled less than 40,000 miles. Here’s the really staggering part; at 20 years old, even going with the “conservative” 1,000 mile range, this car has only visited a gas station on average twice a year since new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi on eBay


Year: 1996
Model: Passat TDi
Engine: 1.9 liter turbocharged inline-4 diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 39,500 mi (TMU)
Price: No Reserve Auction

YOU ARE BIDDING ON A 1996 PASSAT TDI SEDAN WITH THE B4V MOTOR – BEST YEAR !

THIS VW PASSAT TDI HAS THE B4V MOTOR (PRE SCANDAL) KNOWN AS THE BEST TDI AND THE BEST BODY/YEAR. BUILT ON A AUDI SOURCED PLATFORM. THE MOTOR RUNS VERY GOOD – CONSISTENTLY GETS MID 40’S MPG AVG. TRANSMISSION SHIFTS PERFECTLY AND CLUTCH IS STRONG. BODY IS ALL ORIGINAL – PAINT LOOKS GOOD AND NO MAJOR RUST ISSUES – A FEW SMALL SURFACE SPOTS ON THE DOORS. INTERIOR IS GOOD CONSIDERING THE AGE. NICE ALPINE CD PLAYER. POWER WINDOWS, POWER SUNROOF. TIRES HAVE APPROX 70%TREAD. ODOMETER READS JUST 39K MILES BUT TITLE INDICATES THIS IS NOT ACTUAL MILES. SOLD TRUE MILES UNKNOWN. WILL NEED A NEW MUFFLER OR TAILPIPE. I PERSONALLY DROVE THIS CAR FOR THE PAST YEAR REALLY ENJOYED IT – RIDES VERY NICE AND SOLID. THIS CAR IS WAY ABOVE AVG. IN OVERALL CONDITION COMPARED TO OTHER 1996 PASSAT TDI’S I HAVE SEEN. I AM SELLING THIS NICE TDI IN A REAL NO RESERVE AUCTION. GOOD LUCK BIDDING !

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Okay, so my theoretical visits to the pump fun is ruined by the odometer discrepancy, but at least externally it certainly appears this Passat has far less than average miles traveled. The Windsor Blue Metallic paint could shine a bit more with some work but looks good overall, and some simple VW centercap stickers would dress up the wheel covers for a few dollars. Inside the cloth shows the most age but isn’t horrible looking, and if you’re clever you could track down some replacement seats or just recover what is there. The seller does make some obvious mistakes; the “B4V” title doesn’t reference the motor type, but the aforementioned and enthusiast loved Variant model of the B4 chassis. That B4 chassis, also unlike what the seller claims, is not Audi derived but mostly Mk.2 Volkswagen – this is basically a big Golf underneath, as was the B3. While there are some who like the later 1Z or AHU motors better, there are also plenty of fans of the early 1Z and the TMU status and lack of information about recent services like timing belt hasn’t slowed down bidding much. Despite being a generally less sought after sedan, the generally good condition has already resulted in bidding that has already crested $4,000. These early TDis aren’t known for the best build quality or driving experience, but have become quirky fan favorites in spite of their shortcomings. The new owner will just have to make sure to hit the bathroom before twisting the key, because you’re more likely to fill up before this car needs to.

-Carter

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2 Comments

  1. I’ll pay this wankster’s $200 document fee, but I will be charging him $200 for the paperwork I have to do — and I will do it in ALL CAPS.

  2. According to carfax this car had 142k miles in 2005.
    5.5k miles were recorded in 2011, six years later. There must have been around 200k on the odo before the cluster was replaced. You do the math. Unfortunately the car was always in “salt states”.

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