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2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T Variant

Off the bat, I’ll admit that the B5 and B5.5 Passat is not the most exciting or best looking car in the world. It was, however, a serious step up in quality and design for the company. As they had with the B2, Volkswagen turned to partner Audi for the platform for the B5 and B5.5 Passat. It launched after the Audi A4 by one year and was decidedly more conservative in styling, at least originally. As it had been in the B1,2,3 and 4 platforms, the B5 was available initially in two configurations – sedan and Variant wagon. Motivation was provided either by the new 1.8T turbocharged inline-4 or the standby 12 valve V6. In 2001, Volkswagen refreshed the package with styling that brought the Passat closer to its B6 Audi cousins; new projector beam headlights were the largest notable change, though truth told most of the exterior trim changed in between the B5 and B5.5. Engines were also upgraded; the 1.8T changed to the newer, higher output 170 horsepower model shared with the A4, the V6 sprouted 18 more valves for a few more horsepower, and the new W8 engine was mated to the Audi all-wheel drive now badged 4Motion instead of Syncro. You could also get the frugal TDi motor again; something that was left out of the U.S. Audi lineup at the time and had skipped the B5 generation. What the Passat gained by these interactions with Audi was a level of build quality and refinement that hadn’t previously been seen in the top of the range Volkswagen; if you knew what you were looking at, it was indeed as nice as the Audis, had slightly more leg room and was just as nice to drive. While they weren’t the headline grabbers, my favorite of the model run are the 1.8Ts in upscale GLS trim – and of course, you had to get a wagon:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T Variant on eBay

Year: 2004
Model: Passat GLS Variant
Engine: 1.8 liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 69,002 mi
Price: $ Buy It Now

2004 Volkswagen Passat Wagon GLS

Call me (Tom) at 239-693-4000 9AM to 10PM 7 days a week!

Auto Express South, located in Sunny Fort Myers, Florida, proudly offers this 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS Wagon with only 69,002 original miles. This Passat had an original MSRP of $26,485.00 and is shown in Silverstone Gray paint on Black Leather seats. It is an absolutely beautiful color combination and really sets this Wagon apart from the rest. The previous owner took meticulous care of this VW, it has been regularly serviced since it was purchased new and is in outstanding condition. It has been thoroughly inspected by our service department and is a Carfax Certified vehicle with no accident history as well. You could confidently get in this vehicle and drive it across the country if you wanted to!

This 2004 Volkswagen Passat Wagon is special; due to the fact that is a highly optioned Wagon with very low mileage. It has been well kept and would make the future owner very happy! It comes optioned with:

1.8L L4 PFI DOHC Turbocharged Engine

Cold Weather Pkg $325.00 Option

*Heated Front Seats

Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) $280.00 Option

Leather Pkg $1,500.00 Option

*Steering Wheel Audio Controls

*Leather Seats

*Cruise Control

*Leather Steering Wheel

Power tilt/slide sunroof with tinted glass, sunshade, pinch protection, and driver door convenient closing

Power Heated Side Mirrors with Integrated Turn Signals

60/40 split folding rear seat-inc: adjustable headrests, fold-flat feature, folding center armrest w/storage compartment, cup holders

Audible/visible anti-theft vehicle alarm system for doors/hood/hatch/radio/ starter

Central pwr locking system-inc: automatic door locks, key-operated window open/close, selective unlocking at driver door, key-operated closing for pwr sunroof

4 power outlets-inc: 1 in front center console, 1 in rear center console, 2 in cargo area

Premium V AM/FM stereo with cassette/CD player-inc: 8 speakers, Monsoon sound system

And Much More!

This 2004 GLS model is configured nearly the same as my 2002 with two exceptions; the color combination and the transmission. 2004 saw some minor changes; if you’re clever, you’ll note the rear wiper changed sides to the right (earlier cars the wiper rests on the left), but the most notable change is the swap in wheels – from the “Wellington” Ronal made model that GLS models got from 2001-2003, BBS now made the new flush cap model called the “Michigan”. It was a minor change but did make the Passat look slightly more upscale, in keeping with it’s quite expensive pricing. Indeed, looking at the sticker price, it’s possible to get a brand new well equipped Passat for LESS money over a decade on. My handy Passat configuration tool tells me this was a pretty popular combination; no less than 320 2004s were sold in this exact configuration – a massive leap over the 7 total (over two years) that match my car. Indeed, 1,179 were sold with this setup between 2002 and 2004. That makes it not particularly rare, but the condition of this example is far above normal owing to its Southern life and low miles. It’s also pretty well equipped, with the cold weather package, ESP (back when you could actually shut it off!) and the Monsoon sound system; all of which are nice additions to live with in the car (mine has the same options). With only 69,000 miles on the clock, this car hasn’t even reached the timing belt change interval yet, though you’d probably want to complete it if it wasn’t done. The 1.8T is a reliable powerplant, though the AWM suffers from being a little too complicated – I’m in the midst of rebuilding the PCV system which contains in the vicinity of 20 parts. The power isn’t shocking, but the car has plenty of motivation and returns excellent fuel mileage. What’s really nice about the 1.8Ts, though, is that they were lighter than the V6, TDi and W8 models – making them a fun drive, too. And with ESP, ABS an electronic locking front differential and some decent snow tires, they’re actually super to drive in the snow as well. This car is priced above the market by a bit, but the wagons do hold much more value than the sedans and this configuration – while not for enthusiasts – is probably more in keeping with the crowd that brought them originally. Nearly 86,000 Passat Variants were delivered in Tiptronic form versus just shy of 16,000 manuals in all configurations. If this car could be bought for around $6,000, I’d say it was a good value for a great condition, great looking car that would last for many years to come if properly cared for.



  1. Maxwell Rich
    Maxwell Rich April 9, 2015

    We had a 2003 Passat Variant GLX V6 4Motion, maybe in this front drive setup the 1.8T is ok, but you really want the 2.8 30V V6 shared with the B5 A4. We have had 2 cars with that engine and it was a workhorse, much more refined and reliable compared to the 1.8T. The 1.8T has been known to burn oil and even though its easy to modify, its a hassle if the turbo goes or you have a carbon buildup.

    Additionally the Automatic Climate Controls, Wood and Heads-Up-Display on the GLX model makes it a much more modern car. Hold your breath for a low miles GLX, adding the 4 motion in makes it an incredibly confident car is bad weather.

  2. Brad
    Brad April 9, 2015

    Very nice but the interior is so monochromatically dark and morose.

  3. Carter
    Carter April 9, 2015


    Interesting perspective, thanks for adding. I’ve had a different experience than you; I’ve owned two 1.8T 5-speed Variants, and both were/have been great. The early AEB motors felt down on power, but I got 100,000+ miles out of mine with no issues and it’s still going on the original turbo (last check at over 220,000 miles). My ’02 had the turbo replaced due to oil sludge problems at 40,000 miles, but has run like a top since I picked it up. Maintenance is key on them, and the oil leak problems seem to be a typical issue from the valve cover gasket and due to PCV issues. The AWM, with a few more horsepower and a revised power curve, drives very much unlike a turbo car. Engagement of the turbo is near seamless and there’s essentially no lag unless you’re well below 2,000 RPM in a high gear. Performance between a FWD 5-speed 1.8T and a 2.8 GLX 4-Motion is nearly identical. The AMX/ATQs are also known for oil leaks as well and the oil pan is particularly fragile, though cracking them seems more common on the A4 due to lower ride height. V6 4Motions also only came in tiptronic to the U.S., while you could get a GLS 1.8T 4Motion 5-speed in ’04/05. Only 500 were imported in that setup. I guess it comes down to priorities; for me, the complication and added expense of things like the automatic climate control coupled with the much more complicated rear suspension of the 4Motion don’t outweigh for me the driving experience of the 1.8T, which feels much closer to a GTi than to an Audi on the fly. Were I really in the market for a 4Motion V6, I’d probably try to get one of the 3.0 or 3.2 6-speed Audi Avants, personally.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Bryan
    Bryan April 9, 2015

    Love these B5 chassis Passats. They have a great ride and personally I think they are the best looking Passat generation.

    The fwd models tend to eat CV boots, and higher mile examples will probably need the cam chain tensioner seals and valve cover seals replaced.

  5. Maxwell Rich
    Maxwell Rich April 9, 2015


    Cater, full disclosure, we replaced the B5.5 Passat with an B7 A4 Avant 2.0T (Tiptronic), and the B5 A4 with a B7 A4 3.2 (6-speed). Couldn’t find the holy grail 3.2-6-speed Avant so we split the difference with the 2.

    The Avant is driven by my mother who can’t drive stick, hence Automatics are a must. Neighbors had a Jetta 1.8T which blew its engine twice, hence the hesitation regarding 1.8Ts for both the original Passat and A4. Having 4Motion/Quattro is also a priority when you are living in New England. Notably, this Passat is a Florida car, hence the FWD set-up.

  6. Carter
    Carter April 9, 2015


    I live in RI and haven’t personally had issues with the FWD setup over 5 winters. Proper snow tires are a must, but you’d be surprised by how well the car does, including the poorly cleared mean hills of Providence! The Jetta/Golf/TT run different variants of the 1.8T, though they do share most characteristics in common. Those 3.2 Avants are slick, but I hear carbon buildup is an expensive issue on the FSi motors. Have you had problems?

  7. Maxwell Rich
    Maxwell Rich April 9, 2015


    I actually am from RI too. The B5 was FWD and was subpar in the snow even with snow tires. (College Hill was undoable with snow on the ground in it) The 3.2 has been really reliable and aside from having to replace some rubber parts in the engine in the next few months at the 90,000 service (keep the seals from leaking) I have had no problems. Interestingly the 2.0T was the one that needed to have carbon cleaned out.

    With the 3.2 I have a pair of Snow tires and between the Quattro and the stick its been an amazing winter.


  8. markiteight
    markiteight April 9, 2015

    FYI the B5 Passat never came to North America with the 12v V6. All Passats of that generation used the 30v version.

  9. cdnpaul
    cdnpaul April 9, 2015

    I have this exact car other than leather and monsoon. We bought it as a demo early in 2004. It has about 86K miles now and has been reliable other than the oil sludge problem. Given the amount of salt and other crap they put on the roads here, I’m really impressed that the car still has no visible rust. I’m now deciding whether to change the timing belt and drive it until it dies or perhaps get a newer Passat wagon with manual.

  10. Carter
    Carter April 10, 2015

    @markiteight – thanks for the correction!
    @maxwell – interesting, perhaps in part it’s the difference between the tiptronic (I haven’t driven the 1.8T FWD passat Tip) and 5-speed. I live about a mile from Brown and have had no issues on the hills, even with snow cover. The ABS is even superior to our ’06 Subaru Outback.
    @cdnpaul – the timing belt service isn’t cheap, but unless the car is a complete wreck wouldn’t you be better served changing it and retaining some sales value rather than blowing the motor and having it be a parts car? Just thinking out loud.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  11. Kevin
    Kevin April 10, 2015

    So nice to see a B5 Passat on here! While the car might lack the features of modern Passats, the chassis specs and build quality are far better than its newer brethren. The model to get, if you can find it, is a 4motion car with the 5-speed manual. That powertrain, along with the fully-independent suspension, gives you a car with real sleeper potential. My sedan has a stage-one APR tune, Techtonics downpipe, (they finally make a bolt-on downpipe for the 4motion manual cars – no more welding necessary.) A8 rotors on the front and, most importantly, RS4 engine mounts, and it’s a hoot to drive. The engine mounts in particular transform the car from being a very solid, if somewhat dull, German sedan into something almost fun and tossable. My wife had a 2010 MkVI GTI the year I first did the mods, and in bad weather, on New England back roads, the Passat was the better car. The power went to the ground with no wheel hopping in tight corners and pulled out strong, and the ride over broken pavement with the often-maligned multi-link suspension was far more supple, almost feline. I bought mine with 84k miles, and it now has 147k miles on it now, and a bad throttle body is the only fault of note; as it’s worth not much, I see no reason to sell it. Since it’s coming due for a timing belt service, I’m instead wondering what more fun I can bolt on while I’ve got the nose in service position. 😉

  12. Bryan
    Bryan April 10, 2015


    If I recall, you can only get a stick shift B6 Passat in SEDAN form only, and only from 06-08, which would leave your only engine choice being the troublesome(read junk) BPY 2.0t. VR6 didnt come stick.

    Do the 90k service and keep your B5.

  13. Maxwell Rich
    Maxwell Rich April 10, 2015

    @carter. I am pretty sure we are neighbors. I’ll look for a driveway with a Passat variant and a Subaru next time I am running around hope st.

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