This wouldn’t be an automotive review site without the VW Passat B6. No matter what age, sex, religion, height, financial prowess or TV orientation, everybody talks about the VW Passat B6. Here’s why, in today’s article.
“Help, I have an 2006 Passat 2.0 TDI and at 110 km/h the engine cut off and now it’s not starting. What should I do?”
One of the most popular questions around when you’re talking about the VW Passat B6. Many people made a fortune in 2007 – 2012 by importing these things from Germoney and onto the East of Europe. 500.000 km mileage? No problem – we’ll clock it back to 188.000 km. Car is totaled? Relax, we’ll carpenter it and sell it as “no issues, no wrecks”. Bought off a hairy-chested Turkish taxi driver that listens all day to Tarkan and talks via Bluetooth headset? No worries – we’ll just say that it was the secondary car of an Munich lawyer that was driving it only on weekends.
What made the VW Passat B6 such a popular car?
Much of the success of the Passat B6 is down to the legend of the now-defunct Passat B5.5, a legendary car built by Nokia 3310 standards. Just as tough, just as technologically advanced. The B6 Passat however marked the transition of VW from the people’s car to the premium brand that is today, but that brought in reliability issues since VW never was good at implementing new technology.
Another reason for the success of VW Passat B6 was the looks. The recipe was so good that they moderately altered it on the Passat B7 and you can still see some of it’s DNA into the Passat B8. Back then you had the Mondeo III, C Class W203, Audi A4 B7, Renault Laguna II and the horrible Avensis T25. It’s only real competition was from the BMW 3 Series E90 and the Alfa Romeo 159.
Engines VW Passat B6
- 1.4 TSI of 122 bhp – The first turbocharged petrol for the Passat comes with it’s iconic timing chain stretch issue, but that’s about it. Obviously, nobody bought it since we weren’t really ready for middle sized cars with washing machine sized engines.
- 1.6 MPI of 102 bhp – Really popular on the Golf, really weak on the Passat. Great for city driving, reliable and quiet, this engine was limited to city driving. It was about as muscular as Billie Eilish and about as rare as a decent toilet in a gas station. Also, every 80.000 km you’ll need to feed it ignition coils.
- 1.6 FSI of 116 bhp – Unlike the microscopic MPI, this bodybuilder of an engine gets an humongous 14 extra bhp. It’s still mostly an city engine and as a bonus it runs only on quality fuel and the timing chain costs more to replace.
- 1.8 TSI of 160 bhp – Now we’re talking. This engine comes in 2008 in order to replace the old 2.0 FSI and it kicks it in the nads. Notorious for the high oil consumption, but atleast it’s fast.
- 2.0 FSI of 150 bhp – This engine also receives a massive 14 bhp increase from the old 2.0 MPI. It also needs high quality fuel and it’s not 100% LPG compatible. If it’s better than the 1.8 TSI or not, I’m not going to get into this fight.
- 2.0 TFSI of 200 bhp – I honestly do not know if this engine uses more fuel or more oil. I do know that it’s a sensation of an engine, up to 235 km/h. A muscular engine that is blessed by 4 piston angels.
- 3.2 and 3.6 V6 – These engines are abit of Ronnie Coleman and Brock Lesnar for the Passat B6. Lots of strength, not much agility. Due to the sheer weight of the engines and the stock suspension make this car to understeer like Audis of old.
- 1.6 TDI of 105 bhp – This engine was supposed to replace the ancient 1.9 TDI. Is it economical? Yes. Is it fast? No. Is it reliable? No. This kid tried to surpass a legend but it fails miserably by being plagued with injector issues, EGR valve and DPF problems. Times do move on, but not always in the right direction.
- 1.9 TDI of 105 bhp – The classic kebab which you eat after a night of drinking because you know that it’s cheap, good and reliable. It still sounds like gravel falling off a wheelbarrow, but atleast you have reliability on your side. It’s a shame we didn’t get the 131 bhp version, but that would’ve killed the 2.0 TDI and so this engine had to be retired. Shame.
- 2.0 TDI of 140 and 170 bhp – There are 2 families of this engine. The first family is the Pump-Duse bunch which terrorized this car up until 2008. The main issue of this issue is that the oil pump has an balancing shaft. When this shaft stops working, the pump stops working aswell and your engine cuts off. The beauty of the german engineering is that the oil pump warning comes up only after 2500 rpm, so if you drive slowly you’ll be driving without oil and the engine and from the glove box NSYNC will pop out and sing “Bye! Bye! Bye!”. For good measure, change the balancing shaft every 150.000 kms. The second family came in 2008 when VW finally came with Common-rail technology. Mind you, Common-rail was first used in 1996 by Alfa Romeo. These engines don’t have a balancing shaft, but they do accumulate soot if you use dubious-quality fuel.
General issues VW Passat B6
- Most of these cars have over 500.000 km so watch out for normal wear and tear.
- The electronic parking brake motor has a tendency for breaking down. And if that won’t stop you, the rear calipers also seize and leave you stranded in the parking lot.
- The mirrors are glued with the cheapest stuff and they will fall at the tiniest gust of wind. But then again, real men don’t need mirrors.
- The automatic DSG gearbox is a sensibile unit so make sure to change the oil and filter every 60.000 kms and pray in a corner that the Mechatronic unit doesn’t break down.
- No VW without rust and the VW Passat B6 is no exception. Even if we’re talking about a car as rigid as rigor mortis, it’s still crucial to check for rust.
- The 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI come with dual mass flywheel which has a shorter life span than my dreams and in some extreme causes the flywheel can take the clutch and the gearbox with it.
Verdict VW Passat B6
VW Passat B6 represents in 2020 what the Golf IV represented in 2010: Everybody can afford to buy one, but not necessarily to maintain it. Also, most of them have billions of miles and adequate wear and tear. Still, the B6 Passat is still worth a look even 10 years after it’s retirement. But only if you’re some 30-50 year old family guy. Just like Barbara Streisand never sang trap music, neither was the Passat B6 a sports car. If you want something sporty, go buy something else. If you want a sensible family car, then the VW Passat B6 is definatelly worth a look.
3 April 2023 at 9:11
Just bought my third b6 Passat, all 2006-2007. It has 30,000 yes 30,000km. My first two have done in excess of 250,000 and we’re a pleasure to own. Hope this one is as good.