2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test


2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Perfect Road Trip Car?

August 16, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

The perfect car for the journey. That pretty much sums up my experience with the Volkswagen Passat TDI as it transported two couples and a trunk filled with their stuff to Las Vegas and back. The only better cars would surely cost $90,000.

As a 6-foot-3 driver, it's not very often that a full-size adult can fit behind me over long distances without one of us feeling mushed. Yet with the giant Passat, I didn't have to (as usual) put my tiny wife behind me or even care how far I moved my seat back. As for the trunk, it managed three sizeable Roll-aboard suitcases, an overnight bag, my briefcase and a 36-liter roller cooler that impressively fit all the way rearward. No Tetris needed, it all went in without effort.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

Big deal, you might say. A lot of full-size sedans could manage that. Perhaps, but how many could've achieved 41.2 mpg on the journey? That's not as good as the in-car meter reported (46.3 mpg) or an empty Passat TDI accomplished in our ironically named 40-MPG Challenge (51.3 mpg), but it's still better than the EPA's 40 estimate. Furthermore, driving the Passat TDI is vastly better than some equally fuel-sipping hybrid. Its torque-rich engine is definitely a boon when trying to pass left-lane automotive ruminants on southbound Interstate 15, which on a Sunday, has to be the most aggravating stretch of freeway on the planet. Seriously, how damn hard is it to maintain your speed on a hill? If you're having trouble, there's this thing called cruise control.

Where was I? Ah yes, the Passat TDI. I said in the beginning that the only better cars would cost $90,000, thinking about the Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec and Audi A8 TDI. On second thought, though, the A8 has a significantly smaller trunk than the Passat and the S350 is likely to fall 10 mpg short of the humble Volkswagen. So in that way, I feel safe in calling this one. The VW Passat TDI: the perfect car for a road trip with four adults.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,653 miles

Most Recommended Comments

By quadricycle
on 08/16/13
1:31 PM PST

Oh please. Here are things that are unsafe while driving: Drinking alcohol, eating, texting, speeding. Yes doing 75 in a 70 is speeding. No, it doesn't matter if everybody else is doing 90. Now here are some safe things to do while driving: FOLLOWING TRAFFIC LAWS, not going past your own limits (if you're not comfortable at 70, then 60 is just fine), slowing down in adverse conditions. You know, I'm tired of this childish mentality that everyone should drive faster than is safe because people have rationalized it to themselves that getting where they going three minutes earlier is more important than posted speeds, acceptable following distances, and ultimately other people's safety and freedom to use the road in a safe, lawful manner.

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By quadricycle
on 08/16/13
11:56 AM PST

This is going to be where the Passat feels most at home I think. Crushing large highway distances with it's abundant space, storage, range, and reasonable power. As for people slowing down on the highway, its their road too, and as long as they don't slow down to under about 55 or 60mph (what I consider to be minimum safe speed on the highway when traffic is flowing normally) then I think you should be easier on them.

Recommend  (3) (27)

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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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