Full 2007 Volkswagen Passat Review
What's New for 2007
Volkswagen fully redesigned the Passat sedan last year. For 2007, a wagon version of the new VW Passat debuts, as does a Wolfsburg edition of the 2.0T. Other updates this year include the addition of a new adaptive cruise control system, an auxiliary input jack for the audio system, minor standard feature adjustments and the dropping of the "Value Editon" nomenclature.
With its distinctly European styling and engineering, the Volkswagen Passat has become the car of choice for those bored with mainstream family sedans. We've been a fan of the car since its last generation (1998-2005) even as Japanese and American rivals bettered the Passat in terms of performance and interior room.
Last year, Volkswagen fully redesigned the sedan, making it roomier, more powerful and packed with upscale features. For 2007, a new VW Passat wagon debuts. As with the sedan, it's built on a new body structure that's considerably stiffer than before. Rear passenger room is especially generous, and the Passat's 37.7 inches of rear legroom is about an inch more than what's offered by many competitors.
As we've come to expect from Volkswagen, the Passat's interior boasts class-leading fit and finish, lending a more upscale feel to the cabin when compared to mainstream family sedans and wagons. The previous model's relative lack of interior storage has been addressed, as there are now plenty of storage cubbies and even an umbrella holder built into the driver door.
Thanks to a lineup that ranges from an entertaining basic family hauler with leatherette seating and a turbocharged four cylinder engine to an upscale touring vehicle with a leather-and-wood-lined cabin, a powerful V6 and all-wheel drive, the 2007 Volkswagen Passat deserves strong consideration by shoppers in the midsize sedan and wagon segments. True, it will cost more than competitors like the Accord, Altima, Camry, Mazda 6 and Subaru Legacy, but the Volkswagen has a premium feel throughout that its competition has yet to match.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize car available as a sedan or wagon. Currently, it's available in the following trims: base, 2.0T, 2.0T Wolfsburg, 3.6L and 3.6L 4Motion. (Note: Early-build 2007 Passat wagons had slightly different trim level designations.) Plenty of standard features come with the base trim, such as 16-inch steel wheels, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary input jack, cruise control, power windows and locks, keyless entry, power heated mirrors and a trip computer. Step up to the 2.0T and a power driver seat, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear-seat/trunk pass-through and chrome window frame trim are added. The Wolfsburg edition adds 17-inch alloys, a CD changer, satellite radio, heated front seats, a power sunroof and fog lights. The 3.6L features unique alloy wheels, an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio and a sunroof. The Passat 3.6L 4Motion adds all-wheel drive to the mix.
Base Passats are very limited in terms of options, but you can get a sunroof, leather upholstery, an upgraded Dynaudio sound system and a navigation system on the 2.0T. Other options (depending on trim) include 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive bi-HID headlights, an adaptive cruise control system, automatic dual-zone climate control, 12-way power front seats, and wood or aluminum interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Base and 2.0T models come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 rated for 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic (standard on the Wolfsburg). All 3.6L and all-wheel drive 4Motion models are fitted with a 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque that's also coupled to the six-speed automatic. Even the 2.0 turbo with the automatic is quick: We clocked a sedan version running 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds. 3.6L cars can better that time by about a second.
All Passats come very well equipped as far as safety features. Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, a tire-pressure monitor, anti-whiplash front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard. Optional for all trims are rear-seat side airbags. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2007 Volkswagen Passat earned four (out of five) stars for its protection of front occupants in head-on collisions. Side-impact tests resulted in five stars for front passengers and four for those in the rear. The IIHS scores the Passat as "Good" (the best rating possible) in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Every VW Passat presents a comfortable and upscale cabin. Fit and finish is superb and there's a feeling of precision to all the controls. Starting the car is a bit unusual but easier than the normal stick-the-key-in-and-twist drill. One simply inserts the "key" into an easily seen/accessed slot on the dash and pushes it to start the car. Trunk capacity stands at 14.2 cubic feet, about the same as an Accord's and Camry's. The wagon has 35.8 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seats up.
A fully independent suspension along with an impressively rigid structure provides sportier handling than previous generations of the Passat. Although the chassis is still tuned more for comfort than attacking apexes, body roll is kept in check and the steering is responsive yet light, without feeling overboosted. Factor in the powerful engines and the 2007 Volkswagen Passat makes for one of the most entertaining rides in the midsize segment. The only significant negative we've found in road tests is excessive road noise on models with the larger wheels and tires.