While the Passat is a legend among VW fans and has been around seemingly forever, it's had it's struggled of late. Its sales have lagged behind stalwarts of the midsize segment, like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, due not just to Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal, but because of the Passat's inherent blandness relative to an increasingly expressive segment.

Pricing and Equipment

The Volkswagen Passat has a wide range of trims available, which results in an equally broad price range of $23,260 to $34,815 ($820 destination charge included). As VW caters to slightly more affluent customers, the most popular trim on dealer lots will likely be the midrange 1.8T SE, which starts from $26,315 ($820 destination charge included). This trim comes standard with:

  • Rear climate control vents
  • Keyless ignition
  • Leatherette upholstery
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Six-speaker audio system with a 6.3-inch touchscreen

Buyers looking for additional features can add the Passat SE Lighting Package, which includes front fog lights and LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights for an extra $1,245.

The Passat is available with two engines. The starter powerplant is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. Optionally, buyers can go with the SE or SEL trims and score a 3.6-liter V6 that injects 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission is exclusive to the V6-powered Passat.

Performance Pros

Volkswagen Passat
  • Four-cylinder engine makes the Passat feel quicker than it is
  • Smooth ride and nice handling for the class
  • Wonderful steering is perfectly balanced

Performance Cons

  • The V6 model doesn’t feel much faster than the four-cylinder
  • Diesel scandal means the Passat doesn't have an alternative powertrain to challenge hybrid competition

Interior Pros

  • Straightforward, simple cabin is refreshing in the lower trims
  • Six-footers can fill all four outboard seats comfortably
  • The synthetic leather is quite supple

Interior Cons

Volkswagen Passat
  • The uncomplicated design can feel out of place in higher trims
  • Lots of wind noise for its class

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Despite being a small engine in a big sedan, the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder feels just right. Its power comes on early and holds through the rev band. It also delivers decent fuel economy at 23 miles per gallon city, 34 highway, and 27 combined. Volkswagen may not have diesel any more, but it's turbocharged gas engines are great.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

In a German-engineered sedan aimed at more discerning family-car buyers, the amount of noise in the cabin seems excessive. We certainly don’t expect a whisper quiet commute, like we would in a BMW or Mercedes, but we expect better than what the Passat delivers.

The Bottom Line

Being a German sedan, the Passat caters to buyers who expect a toned-down appearance and plenty of comfort. While it delivers on most of those desires, its road and wind noise will quickly remind buyers this is not a German luxury sedan. However, it's still a great option for buyers looking for a midsize sedan that rivals full-size models in passenger room.