Freelance car photographer Matt Woods bought his 2002 Volkswagen Passat Estate seven years ago, featuring the 130 edition of the venerable 1.9-litre TDI engine. He’s not too sure how many owners it’s had, but it was originally a sales rep’s car and even then had done over 170,000, mostly motorway, miles. He remembers the advert said that the mileage shouldn’t put him off. “I took it for a drive, it felt really tight and drove nicely, almost as if someone had clocked it, but the wrong way!” On top of this, it had the security of being maintained by a Volkswagen dealer and full service history, so he took the plunge.
Matt’s photo assignments take him all over the country and some weeks he can cover over 1,000 miles from his home in Ipswich. As such, the majority of the 184,000 plus miles he’s added over the last seven years have been for business. The shock absorbers lasted until around 200,000 miles and a new cam, plus followers, were needed at approximately 250,000 miles. The rest has been normal service stuff, including a couple of cam belts. Matt does his own servicing every 10,000 miles, where the oil and filters are changed. He only uses Volkswagen engine oil when servicing, but not the long life type. “I like it because it is slightly thicker than the long life stuff. Impressively, the Passat doesn’t seem to drink any oil between services.”
With over 350,000 miles on the clock, is it still as economical? “If I’m careful, I still get 50mpg at 60 to 65mph on long runs.” So, just how does this Volkswagen wear its miles? Well outside, apart from oxidised plastic headlight lenses and the odd stone chip, it looks like any other 2002 diesel Passat estate, with the worn Alcantara upholstery on the driver’s seat the only giveaway. He has no plans to retire this car just yet. “If nothing major breaks, I’ll keep using it. It is the best car I’ve ever owned; I love it.”