The exterior lines of the Passat B5 are perfectly proportioned, making it timeless, elegant and swank.
The interior is upscale and a model of European efficiency.
The 1.8T is an amazing little engine, capable of almost 100 hp/liter with an average of 20city/32hwy mpg. The best kept secret is the ability to "upchip" the engine to 214 hp and 247 lb-ft while maintaining the same fuel efficiency, all for under $1K.
I bought two Passats at the same time. Both proved equally reliable without any major repairs.
The VW dealership gives me a new loaner car when I bring in my vehicle for maintenance or repairs.