Lame Rear Ventilation - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Lame Rear Ventilation

October 8, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

Our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI has a lot of good things going for it. It's fuel efficient, easy to drive, quiet, comfortable and has a ton of space for passengers and stuff. It was that last bit that made me sign out the Passat when the girlfriend's parents came to L.A. for a visit.

Unfortunately, the VW Passat's rear seats, while spacious, have a shortcoming.

The rear ventilation in the Passat is lousy. It's been surprisingly warm in L.A. lately and, even when it's not, you keep the windows up when slogging through the city. Front seat passengers were comfortable the whole time, but those camped out in back were constantly complaining about the heat. Chock that one up to the Passat having only this tiny HVAC register in the back of the center console. Nothing in the doors. Nothing apparent coming out from under the front seats like in other large sedans.

I wasn't expecting my rear passengers to have Phaeton levels of rear-seat comfort, but I was hoping they'd get more than a whisper of A/C.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 8,040 miles


  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    interesting that you comment on this i allways assumed rear vents>all but it seems they are not all equal in design

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    It is certainly possible that the A/C system isn't all that strong. I bet that your passengers were complaining because of a mix of reasons though. I say this because it is a rare occasion to find a car that really can't keep the cabin cool with A/C on full blast. Especially a new one with rear air vents. Did you have the front center air vents pointed straight back and towards the ceiling of the car, or were all four pointed at the front passengers making them freeze and the rear passengers getting ignored? Also you said that nothing comes out from under the front seats. This area is usually activated by the "air towards feet button" on the console. Was that activated? Also not helping is the fact that this car doesn't have window tint (p.s. nobody needs limo tint, a very light tint helps tremendously without absolutely destroying nighttime visibility), so that may have made your passengers cook just by direct contact with the sun regardless of cabin temperature. Lastly you said something about air vents in the doors; what other large, non-luxury sedan has this feature? I have never heard of such a thing...

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I would be willing to bet money that there are vents under the front seats.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Never heard of under seat venting in anything that costs under $500K.

  • "Never heard of under seat venting in anything that costs under $500K." -- really? All our cars even the under 20K one has outlets under the seats that push heat and cold to the rear area. None of our cars have the center vents like the VW though.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    hybris, even b-segment vehicles, such as the Ford Fiesta, have ducts under the front seats pointing at the rear passengers' feet. These ducts are generally intended to route warm air since people don't usually like cold air blowing on their feet. This means that in a vehicle with automatic climate control the floor ducts may have little air coming out when the demand is for a/c. Obviously, this can be overridden and cold air can be blown out the floor ducts. Also, as pointed out above, the comfort of the rear passengers in hot ambient situations usually assumes the front passengers will reaim the IP registers off of them and towards the rear once they are comfortable. All this said, it's still possible that the a/c system of the Passat is undersized.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Back in my day, sonny, we didn't have rear vents. We didn't have A/C. We just rolled the windows down (yes, with a hand crank) when it got hot. We didn't question it. We LIKED it.

  • juddholl10 juddholl10 Posts:

    This is a VAG product. There are two metal vents cut into the carpet under the front seats. And they work. If anyone is suffering, it's because they're too fat. The Alcantara seat inserts should be breathable enough.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    My 2012 Passat S does not have vents in the center console but does have the usual vents under the front seats, like any car since the mid-nineties. I have never heard any complaints about back seat ventilation...

  • joepawlicki joepawlicki Posts:

    close two of the front vents...forces more air into the back. bada bing.

  • tdibill tdibill Posts:

    Just checked my Passat SEL TDI: There are vents under the front seat. They can be found by opening back door and placing hand under seat. Sounds like operator error! I have logged 14,500 miles since April in temperatures up to 100 degrees and have not had a hent of said problem. I find it a bit irritating when a so called professional driver provides reviews that are not factual. Another case is the earlier comment about grabbing brakes. Has anyone noticed that the transmission down shifts during braking (or even on steep slops such as an 8% grade in TN, when the right foot is on the floor)? Granted, it makes for a similar feel (grabbing) but I assume brake wear is greatly reduced. For the record, I have averaged 44 MPG (about 3/4 highway) and find the Passat to be the most comfortable long distance road car, under 40k, that I have owned over the past 55+ years.

  • I live in Phoenix. I have this car as an SE, with the vents. AC has been plenty strong. You do run it maybe one speed faster because of interior size but at full blast, no complaints. Having owned three or four other cars with rear vents, presuming that those little things do that much to cool the back is delusional. There is always a mix of the vents blowing to people in the front as well as vents aimed partly to go to the back. Those little vents can be quite helpful but they are nothing more than supplemental.

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