Our 2000 VW Passat Wagon was one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned; it was rewarding to drive, had good fuel economy, and had no problem hauling all our gear for camping trips, etc
The performance in the various crash test programs (IIHS, Euro NCAP) was very good; there are many safety systems on the car (including rear side airbags)
We love the cargo-carrying capacity of the wagon format, plus we occasionally need the ability to tow a light trailer
Very good, for a car that is actually fun to drive (I feel that a hybrid is the equivalent of automotive novocaine).
The Passat is a very solid and well-built car; our previous Passat was very reliable (if maintained properly).