2012 Volkswagen Passat Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 5700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat

  • Designed and engineered in Germany but made in America for Americans, the redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Passat deserves serious consideration from midsize family sedan shoppers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy cabin; available fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine; many upscale features come standard; high-quality cabin; refined ride.

  • Cons

    Below-average braking distances; lackadaisical throttle response; rearview camera not offered.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Volkswagen Passat has been fully redesigned. Highlights include a lower price, a roomier interior and a newly available turbodiesel engine.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



In for the long haul

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Nav (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I moved to a 2012 VW Passat SE w/ Sunroof and Navigation from a 1997 VW Jetta GLS. I've been driving the Jetta for 15 years and have over 300,000 miles on it. Since purchasing the Passat I've put over 20,000 in the first 8 months of ownership. The 2.5l is probably not a fun to drive as the 1.8t on current models, but the performance is more than enough for daily driving. I routinely average 32+ mpg on long trips a highway speeds and have averaged 29+ in combined mpg over the past 3000 miles. The car has plenty of room even in the rear for my 6'3" teen.




German luxury on a budget

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

This is my first new car and I love it. It looks impressive with taut lines and geometrical shapes that accent the angular look of the new VWs. The car is decidedly large for the American market and can be a problem only in some crowded cities. Inside the cabin the interiors are excellent quality and material with symmetrical layout - maybe a bit boring. It has the best in-class rear seat legroom and boot space. It has adequate equipment as standard. Ride is a bit choppy on rough roads but is very well absorbing on usual city roads. Power is just about adequate and delivery is a tad linear. Engaging the sports mode creates more engine noise than speed. I love the tank-like build quality!




Worst car and customer service

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

EPIC FAIL: 44K miles in and my engine completely dies on a busy interstate while i'm 5 months pregnant. apparently a bolt holding the injector pumps in place broke, dislodged the pumps and killed the engine. breakage was traced back to fuel system replacement done 3 months ago. i filed a formal complaint with dealership and GM of dealership reacted by aggressively demanding his rental car back and threatening to call the cops on me if i don't return it immediately (we were loaned the car until our repairs were done). customer care heard about all the incidents but took no action or accountability for what happened. worst car ever owned and will never buy VW ever again. buyers beware!



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Engine tried to fall out.

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

I love the gas mileage my Passat gets, in fact I have averaged 48.2 MPG over 71,000 miles. Everything I have ever gained in gas savings has been completely erased by repair bills. The engine mount bolts fell out and the engine fell forward into the radiator hoses. Apparently the nuts and bolts for the DPF and EGR filter were missing as well, lucky me! I contacted VW and asked them how long they expected their engines to remain in the vehicle along with other miscellaneous nuts and bolts. In short the answer was, "just long enough to get you through the warranty!" In short I was told that none of this could possibly be VW's fault (since I was out of warranty) and good luck!



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Exploding sunroof?

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

Up until now I have loved my Passat. Unfortunately the events of the last week have changed my view. I was driving down the freeway with three children in the back seat and the sunroof completely exploded and rained down small sharp glass pieces all over my head and face. The Dealership will not stand by the warranty and is trying to charge me for this repair! I called VW directly and they are taking the same stance. This is absolutely a manufacturing defect as I have found reports all over the internet of other cars having the same issue. Great car, but next time I will not give my business to a company that doesn't take care of it's customers and honor their warranties.



3 of 15 people found this review helpful

After 14 months of ownership

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Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

We drive the manual (stick shift) model and do a mix of country and city driving. The last tank, filled after 720 miles, we averaged almost 48 mpg, and it has been about that all summer. We had one tank go for 780 miles before the low fuel light came on. In addition, the car is very comfortable, handles beautiful, has plenty of power, and holds four people plus a large trunkful of supplies easily and with room to spare.



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 22
  • cty
/
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Volkswagen Passat Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat has been fully redesigned. Highlights include a lower price, a roomier interior and a newly available turbodiesel engine.

Introduction

If you've always wanted to drive a classy European sedan but have been put off by that nagging voice in your head telling you it's your patriotic duty to buy something built in America, you'll want to check out the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.

This all-new midsize sedan combines many of the qualities that likely drew you to German cars in the first place, including elegant styling and a more sporting driving character. But it's also the first vehicle to roll out from VW's brand-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Compared to the previous Passat (which, incidentally, continues to be sold elsewhere in the world), it's meant to better appeal to American tastes, with a roomier interior, a new selection of engines and (most important) a significantly lower price.

As for the engine lineup, last year's gutsy 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is no more. Instead, VW gives you a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter inline-5 we've come to know in the Jetta, a 2.0-liter inline-4 diesel (the TDI, also from the Jetta and Golf) or a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. All of them offer some form of six-speed automatic transmission, while the two smaller engines are offered with manual gearboxes as well. The TDI diesel is the one to get, as it achieves fuel economy greater than even its lofty EPA estimates. Essentially, you can get hybrid fuel economy at non-hybrid prices.

We suspect some prior owners of VW's mainstream sedan will lament the change in direction for the Passat, as it used to be a distinct bridge between regular family sedans and entry-level luxury cars. But the fact is VW's entry in the crowded family sedan category is now a better fit for the majority of consumers. It's priced right, drives well and finally holds a family of five comfortably. And thankfully, it still has its German roots.

There are some minor downsides to the new Passat package, notably the lack of some common features like a rearview camera and an eight-way power driver seat (it's only six-way). And given the state of the midsize segment, we certainly recommend buyers compare the Passat back-to-back with top choices like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. But for all that, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat remains uniquely positioned to satisfy your desire to drive European and own American.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan is offered in three broad models broken down by engine (2.5L, TDI and 3.6L), which are further subdivided into a trio of different trim levels (S, SE and SEL).

The lineup starts with the "S" base model (2.5L only), which comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, an eight-way manual driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering wheel audio controls, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input. An available Appearance package adds a six-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-seat center armrest.

Move up to the SE trim level and you get 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a sliding front armrest and a touchscreen audio interface. Options on SE models include a sunroof and a navigation system, while TDI SE buyers can add 18-inch alloy wheels and foglights as well. The 3.6L SE comes standard with these options, except the navigation system, which remains optional. A nine-speaker Fender audio system is also included.

The 2.5L SEL adds upgraded front seats, the Fender sound system and an upgraded navigation system. The SEL Premium package adds keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, foglights, a power passenger seat, driver memory functions and leather/faux suede upholstery. Both the TDI and 3.6L can also be had in SEL guise, but the Premium package is mandatory.

Powertrains and Performance

If there's one thing the front-wheel-drive 2012 Volkswagen Passat has plenty of, it's powertrain choices. Entry-level 2.5L models get a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine rated at 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices here include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped 2.5 Passat went from zero to 60 mph in 9 seconds, which is average for the class. EPA estimated fuel economy for the manual transmission stands at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The automatic drops slightly to 22/31/25.

Those looking for maximum miles per gallon can opt for the TDI model's fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel, which produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual transmission (known as DSG). In Edmunds performance testing, the Passat TDI went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds -- this is on par with gasoline-powered four-cylinder sedans. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 31/43/35 for the manual and 30/40/34 with the DSG. In extensive Edmunds fuel economy testing, we've also found that the Passat can easily surpass these numbers by 8-10 mpg.

If maximum thrust is what you're after, look no farther than the 3.6L's 3.6-liter V6, which puts out 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds testing, this engine was able to bring the Passat from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds -- very quick for this class. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 20/28/23 mpg.

Safety

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In the event of a crash, a new feature called Intelligent Crash Response automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Passat earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In Edmunds brake testing, both a Passat 3.6 SEL and TDI came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, which is longer than average. A 2.5 SE delivered a class-average 123 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

The first thing you notice about the passenger cabin of this new, larger Passat is the sense of spaciousness. Space up front is good; however, the driver seat only adjusts in six ways (minus lumbar), lacking the seat bottom tilting ability of most competitors. There are no complaints in back, as the Passat is verging on a full-size sedan now. It gets an additional 3 inches of rear seat legroom that makes it possible for even good-size adults to stretch out. The backrest is too upright, however, which can result in taller occupants' heads grazing the roof. The spacious trunk can swallow 15.9 cubic feet of cargo -- a number that bests many of the Passat's competitors -- and is made more flexible by 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.

Once underway, you'll notice the interior is also relatively quiet compared to some other midsize family sedans. The quality of interior materials may not be as high as they were in the outgoing Passat, but they remain among the best in the class, while the design architecture adds an upscale feel. The layout of gauges and controls is also refreshingly simple. Finally, the new, premium Fender audio system has been tuned to the acoustics of the interior and will please even hard-core audiophiles.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat's character depends a great deal on which engine is under the hood. Performance and fuel economy from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder are adequate and should be an acceptable choice for most buyers. However, we would recommend the 2.0-liter turbodiesel in TDI models, which offers livelier low-end power and truly extraordinary fuel economy. It's definitely the Passat engine to get. However, for those who care more about power than fuel economy, the 3.6-liter V6 engine does deliver much more enthusiastic acceleration.

The DSG automated manual transmission that's available with the turbodiesel engine and standard with the V6 works very well, and its regular and manual-shift modes mean the Passat is well suited both for commuting and more spirited driving. Unfortunately, the Passat's throttle response (with the automatic and DSG) is rather lackadaisical, with a noticeable lag between the time the pedal is pressed and when the engine actually kicks in. This is corrected by selecting the transmission's Sport mode, but the sportier shift programming results in worse fuel economy.

On the move, the Passat is an engaging sedan to drive thanks to its well-sorted suspension tuning. Steering is reasonably precise, although it's numb on center and a tad heavy at low speeds. Overall, though, the Passat manages to earn high marks for ride comfort, which is ultimately more important considering the fact that most buyers will be far more concerned with schlepping kids to school or co-workers to lunch than burning up winding back roads.

Talk About The 2012 Passat

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