To be fair, I have not had the Passat that long (2 months). It currently has 7,600 miles, mostly highway miles. So far, I have been impressed. I generally trade cars every year, and I usually buy Toyotas. I still don't think anyone matches Toyota for quality, value, reliability, etc., which begs the question, "Why a VW?" Well, to put it simply, it's "the ride." It is a driver's car at a great price. To be sure, this is a touring car, and that is where it shines. At 80+mph, it's "at home" getting 40 mpg or better. In the city, its performance is a bit lurchy. In traffic, the turbo isn't a great match.
As I said, the ride is quite remarkable. I have enjoyed the triptronic transmission, but I don't use it that much. Comfort is very important, and I should mention that this car exceeds it's competion easily. You really would have to spend much more to match it.
I would love to see this car offered in a hybrid, or perhaps, in a variable fuel.