This is the street car. I plan to keep modifications at a minimum, directing those funds instead toward the sports/track car, but it's important to have fun with the daily driver. These are some options I've considered. Some I've implemented. Those have links to more verbose descriptions of themselves.
- Turbo Upgrade The stock 170 hp feels great in an empty car but loaded with passengers and cargo it begins to feel a bit anemic. Fortunately power upgrades for the 1.8T are cheap and plentiful. This isn't a big priority for me until the track car gets purchased and somewhat sorted. This also implies probable warranty headaches. Not just yet, thanks.
- Exhaust I like the quiet ride in contrast to the viceral nature of others. I also like the the hidden turndowns instead of phat shiny tips. Tasteful. Subtle. Were I to upgrade this end of the breathing I would use a larger diameter pipe but with big, quiet mufflers and I'd keep the tip hidden under the bumper for a factory appearance. Fortunately there's plenty of room in the tunnel where the 4Motion hardware would otherwise go.
- 17" Wheels and Tires 9 Feb 2002: Installed within two hours of receiving the car. They had been sitting in my garage for a month awaiting delivery.
- Springs 3 Aug 2002: The factory suspension exhibited way too much pitch and roll and I wanted to reduce some of that wheel gap.
- Anti-Sway Bar Something to relieve the excessive body roll would be nice and anti-sway bars can do this without adversely affecting the ride. The extra weight in the rear of the wagon body could use some help.
- Dampers It's less likely I'll perform this mod than the anti-sway bar and springs but it is possible they would go on at the same time. This is purely a street car so I'm not looking for a harsh ride.
- Disable DRLs 13 Feb 2002: These things are dangerously distracting and rudely remove important control of your headlights. I turned off these unwanted pests with a little hacking analog-style. See also:
- Driver Selectable Parking Lights US model Veedubs have only two positions on their headlight switches: on and off. You can get parking lights only with the ignition off. You can get parking lights and headlights both only with the ignition on. Thanks for the help, VW, but your customers are not complete morons. Hopefully the European model headlight switch will let me select parking lamps only. A clue for the genuinely uninformed American: do not drive with your parking lights illuminated unless they are accompanied by your headlights. It's against the law in most states.
- Rear Fog Light It really doesn't get foggy enough in Austin to warrant front fog lights to say nothing of a rear fog light. Nonetheless it can be useful on those rare occasions. The European model headlight switch will be required for this.
- Window Tint 14 Jun 2002: I had a 35% Llumar metallic tint installed at a local shop to cut down on the Texas heat. This particular film has a noticable mirror quality that looks quite nice w/ the blue silver paint and all the chrome. Film at 11.
- Some of the more subtle body kits available for the Passat including that offered by VW itself are quite tempting. While I appreciate the gray plastic around the bottom for its impact absorbing capability I find it just plain ugly. A little extra spoiler and skirt might aid aerodynamics a bit too. Between expensive kits, prep, paint and installation I think I'm going to put that money toward a fun track car instead.