2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Great on a Road Trip

November 12, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

I just drove our long-term 2013 VW Passat TDI from Tinsel Town to Sin City and back. If you're under 75 years old, you probably have no idea what I just said, so let me start over.

I just drove our long-term VW Passat TDI from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back. That's 576.2 miles. But here's the cool part. I did it on a single tank of fuel. Actually, I did it on three-quarters of a tank of fuel. When I returned home the Passat was still packing 155 miles worth of fuel range. Wow.

Trust me, I'm no hypermiler. But I did use the Passat's cruise control for most of the trip, and I hit zero traffic along the way. My average fuel economy was 40.7 mpg, which is just ahead of the Passat's EPA highway rating of 40 mpg.

But this trip wasn't just about great fuel mileage and range. The Passat showed me something out there in the deserts of California and Nevada. This is a great car on the open road. It's supremely comfortable. Outstandingly quiet. And its highway ride is exceptional. Hours behind the wheel seem like nothing.

And it'll motor. That economical 2.0-liter turbo diesel has plenty of power when you need to fire around that left lane hog or that encroaching Peterbilt.

I really like the Passat around town. But out on the intestate, this big sedan is hard to beat.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 10,335 miles


  • vvk vvk Posts:

    Wow, only 40 mpg. I expect more from TDi. My 2012 Passat S is excellent on long road trips, too. With the 2.5 5-cylinder I get slightly lower 38 mpg but 87-octane costs a lot less than diesel fuel. 5th gear is very long and the car is smooth, stable and quiet at 80 mph. Plenty of room for my family and the trunk is enormous. But I hate it for local driving -- it is WAY too soft for my taste. Cannot wait to get rid of it! Recently drove a 2014 loaner while it was services and the new model is even worse. My 2012 at least has tight (if artificial) steering feel. The one I had as a loaner had terribly floppy steering. Reminded me of 1981 Oldsmobile Regency 98 my parents had when I first got my license.

  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    The big sedan diesel 40.7 mpg is hard to beat if there are no big sedans that can do 34 mpg average on the same road trip with regular gas. I believe there are plenty of big sedan hybrids that can do 34 mpg or better on the highway. We need a comparison between modern diesel and modern hybrid sedans (starting with the 2014 Hybrid Accord)!

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @banhugh: I don't know if these are new enough for you... http://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/jetta-sportwagen/2011/comparison-test.html and http://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/jetta/2009/comparison-test.html

  • CC TDI. Please VW, Please.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    No traffic and running between LA and Vegas? I have to think that cruise was set at 75. Mine sure would have been. 41 mpg with a big car like that at 75 is damn good. Could it have been done with a 500-lb. lighter NA gas four-cylinder with the cruise set 10 mph lower? Yeah. That's not the same thing.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    My 02 Passat V6 was unreliable, thirsty, and had terrible - almost dangerous - throttle lag. But the car in this test is impressing me.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @vvk I think VW was aiming for the American (Camry) market this go around--thus the larger, softer car than what you normally expected. They are aiming for a sales increase, not to capture the enthusiast sedan market. I'm curious what you think of the n

  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    @quadricycle: None of the links are about big sedans. There was a stationwagon vs a Prius (hatchback?). I'm talking about comparing the Passat TDI to the new Accord Hybrid, to the Ford Fusion hybrid. Starting with the previous generation Ford Fusion,

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @banhugh: Gotcha. I just figured those were better than nothing since there isn't much out there on the subject, especially not brand new cars.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Volkswagen Passat in VA is:

$152 per month*
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