Anthony Alaniz
Automotive Editor - February 6, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Passat OVERVIEW

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan that offers a tad more luxury than the competition. There's a high-end interior that is both functional and affordable, while standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking provide a big boost in safety.

What's New for 2018

There are still two engine choices for 2018, but one has changed. Gone is the base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, replaced by a turbocharged 2.0-liter mill making 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That's an increase of four hp and 23 lb-ft over the outgoing model. The new engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Choosing Your Volkswagen Passat

Two engines and six trims make up the choices available for the 2018 Volkswagen Passat. There's the new turbo 2.0-liter engine making 174 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and 3.6-liter VR6, which produces 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

The four-cylinder engine returns 25 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for a combined rating of 29 mpg. The VR6 engine returns 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for a combined fuel-economy rating of 22 mpg.

There are six trims available:


The Passat S is the most basic offering and starts at $23,845 (including an $850 destination charge). Standard features include cloth seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and a five-inch touchscreen. While you can get forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking on the base Passat, it's only available with the Driver Assistance Package for $495, which also adds adaptive cruise control.


Starting at $25,845 R-Line is an appearance package, adding R-Line specific bumpers, side skirts, badging, and some stylish 19-inch wheels. Inside, there are steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The Driver Assistance Package is standard with this trim, although you'll also get blind-spot monitoring, too. The only real option, aside from dealer-installed accessories, is the reasonably priced R-line Lighting Package. The $1,195 option group adds full LED headlights with LED runnings lights and then swaps out the rear lamps for LED units.


The $27,145 SE trim adds leatherette seating surfaces as standard with contrast piping. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped gearshift knob, and 8-way power driver's seat. Keyless access with push-button start, power tilt/sliding sunroof, and blind spot monitoring are also included. Like the R-Line, the entire Driver Assistance Package is standard, as is blind-spot monitoring.

Standout features include a 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a sunroof.

The SE Lighting Package wears a slightly different name but carries the same price and equipment.

SE w/Technology

The $30,445 SE with Technology builds on the SE trim with more technology. What's the Technology in this model's name add? For a start, there's standard LED headlights, running lights, and taillights, heated front and rear seats, and 18-inch wheels. Those are the big-ticket features, but this trim also adds a host of goodies that are more convenient than crucial, including a hands-free trunk, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, remote start, a color display in the instrument cluster (the standard setup is monochrome), and ambient interior lighting.

Aside from dealer-installed accessories, there are no optional extras for this trim.

SEL Premium

The $32,500 SEL Premium is available with both the turbocharged 2.0-liter or 3.6-liter V6. Going with the brawnier engine adds $3,000 to the price tag.

At this price point, customers score standard leather upholstery covers upgrade seats, an automatic parking assistant will help with tricky low-speed maneuvers, and a Fender audio system kicks out the tunes as one of the best branded audio systems at this price point. On the safety front, the SEL Premium adds lane-departure warning to its quiver of active safety systems.

Aside from the V6 engine, there are no optional extras for the SEL Premium.

CarsDirect Tip

The Passat SE with Technology is the undeniable sweet spot of the range, adding advanced headlights to a package that already includes the most crucial active safety systems. That it's available for just a shade over $30,000 makes it a tremendous value in a competitive segment.

Get your price on a Volkswagen Passat »

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