2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test


2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Misaligned Seat and Steering Wheel

June 11, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

I noticed it as soon as I started driving. The Passat's seat isn't centered on its steering wheel. And it makes me crazy.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

This morning I broke out a measuring tape and found the lateral centerline of the seat. I then taped a piece of string right down the middle. Did the same with the steering wheel using the VW logo and lower spokes as a symmetry reference. The string is largely covered in these photos with the red lines I put them over for better visibility. The yellow arrow shows the misalignment. I'd estimate it's an inch or so off.

Come one, Volkswagen. This won't fly with anyone who isn't married to a chiropractor, which I am not.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 1,628 miles

Comments

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    This is the kind of thing that would drive me crazy every day. Or maybe I'd subconsciously shift slightly towards the right side of the seat. Or maybe my left arm would grow longer.

  • canadaphant canadaphant Posts:

    Can you compare this to some of the other cars in the fleet? Seems like an obvious goof, but I'd be curious if it's common and we just don't notice it.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    German engineering in the haus, ja? I think this has been chalked down to being a "quirk" in this generation model. I actually got used to it when I drove it home for a few weeks. Now, if you ever sat in a Viper with the cramped footbox and steering wheel jutting to one side, THAT is impossible to get used to.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    If your camera is centered on the steering wheel, which is what it looks like, your wheel is turned slightly to the left - look at how much of the temp gauge (left - inside tach) and fuel gauge (right - inside speedo) are covered by the wheel hub. Also look at how the tops of the two horizontal steering wheel spokes are aligned against the dashboard cutlines - it's obvious. Finally, you can fairly easily see that the red line on your seat and the one on your wheel are not parallel -because the wheel is turned to the left. The seat and wheel are misaligned, but I would say it's more like a half-inch, if that.

  • zcalvert zcalvert Posts:

    this is what happens when they chase gaudy sales figures with a dumbed-down American market only version.

  • nukedetroit nukedetroit Posts:

    Agreed with fordson1's post. The wheel is obviously turned slightly to the left, though the two are still misaligned. I'd bet this is common in several cars, too.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    This. Would. Drive. Me. Crazy.

  • zcalvert, they did say they wanted to be the biggest, not the best. And that worked out so well for GM and Toyota.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    Well, I hate my 2012 Passat for its terrible ride but I really don't give a [non-permissible content removed] about this. Who cares?!

  • offset_98 offset_98 Posts:

    I want to say my '96 Explorer was like that but it never bothered me back then. I sometimes think my '11 Sienna is slightly off center too but it could just be that the steering wheel has never been aligned strait since day one.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    Truly bizarre.

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    I remember reading the Murcielago had the same thing going on... That would drive me nuts. That said, I wouldn't turn down the chance to drive one...

  • jjacquot jjacquot Posts:

    Hey Fordson, You've forgotten to account for lens distortion, solar flares, gravity at sea level and reciprocity failure in your analysis of this photo. Clearly you're not sufficiently expert to make a qualified judgement. Regardless, this was never meant to be a mathematically perfect representation. It was created to show an approximation of the offset, which it does in direct proportion to its existence. Relax. Josh

  • jdbee jdbee Posts:

    The same is true of all e36 BMW's ('92-'99 3-series). It is most noticeable on the M3's with "Vadar" seats due to the shape of the seat bottoms. I pointed it out to my friend who had owned his for 9 years, and he was surprised he hadn't noticed. I bought one later, and while I noticed it all the time, I can't say it bothered me. It is very surprising this kind of thing makes it past the design phase though...

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    @jjaquot: either that's one hell of a stutter you have or you've been cold-cocked by Edmunds state-of-the-art commenting system. Welcome aboard.

  • jeffksf1 jeffksf1 Posts:

    All the full size Chevy/GM trucks around the 99-01 model years were the sameway. I drove a guys Suburban on a ski trip and I noticed it as soon as I got in, he never noticed before I pointed it out. I thought it was to allow more dash space to the left of the wheel?

  • karlan karlan Posts:

    Typical for VW, some things are done well, and other things are half cocked. Take for example, that same seat says it has 8 way power adjustment. Ok, but if you move the button to move the height of the front up and down separate from the back portion it only moves the seat up and down. As you get closer to the floor the seat adjusts it's angle slightly to being more flat and as you raise the seat, the angle increases towards the back. That again, is half cocked. I had an '04 Touareg V8 with the air suspension. A technological tour de force, until I got it stuck in mud near Portuguese Bend. But the real problems were so endless that when I filed a lemon complaint with VW, they didn't even question it, they just gave me an '05. Then I lemoned that one, and because they had a hard time thinking I could have two lemons in a row it took a year and a half. I guess they just had never driven one of their cars, because if they did, they would know what I was talking about.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    seriously??!!! German engineering must have been outsourced. Notice this on any other cars in the fleet? This isn't something you typically have to think about.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    wish I could see the other posts before I type--stupid web site. I would have seen that other cars have this and a lot of people don't notice. Now I'm curious to go see what my cars look like.

  • socal_eric socal_eric Posts:

    The North American version of the Passat ("NMS") is based on the previous generation Passat but with quite a few difference to stretch it for our and the Chinese market. As such I'd suspect the steering wheel to seat alignment issue can be traced to the older platform it's based on having a fixed firewall/steering hard point that requires the steering wheel end up in that location on the new, wider North American Passat. I'd be curious to see how the next generation modular VW-Audi Group "MQB" chassis to be used on most of their transverse engine cars going forward deals with this as that platform will be used on everything from the Polo to the Passat.

  • indian77 indian77 Posts:

    I bought a Toyota Prius Four 2013 and the alignment of the driver seat with respect to the steering wheel is off my 2 inches. I only just starting noticing it, and now that I know, it is very frustrating. Your problem is the misalignment...heck, my driver seat is not even aligned in the direction of travel. It is crazy what these car manufacturers are doing. We are not getting what we pay for. So my question to you is, can this be fixed? Did you get your alignment issue taken care of?

  • shepski shepski Posts:

    I believe it's that way to leave room for the left arm to "Sieg Heil!" (Oh, snap: nevermind, I think they do that with the right arm...)

  • Good call Edmunds. I have been driving this thing for 4 months and 10000 miles wondering why my shoulders ache, my back aches, and I can't get comfortable in this large car. it all makes sense now. I find myself brushing the steering wheel with my right knee, and there is plenty of room on the left. I shove against the seat bolstering on the right, and have room to spare on the left. This is very unexpected. German products tend to be ergonomically very good, but this car is not. There is nowhere to put my left arm either and the right arm barely rests on the pull out arm rest. I boght this because I wanted a commuter with good mileage. I could have, just about, lived with the poor ride and handling since most of my driving is down the motorway. But the seating position really is uncomfortable to me. I may just have to eat the "drive it off the lot" depreciation hit and get rid. Shoulda gone with the Jetta Sportwagon.

  • drjable drjable Posts:

    I agree with the steering wheel being off center. today i test drove a 2013 and sat in a 2014 TDI passat for the 1st time. both were off center exactly as your photo shows and as you describe. how has this been long term driving? have you gotten use to it? this is ridiculous that VW would produce this.

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

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