April 15, 2014
A friend of mine is in the market for a new car, and specifically a midsize family sedan with good fuel economy. I suggested he take a look at our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI and he was quite impressed when I brought it by. Mainly, the enormous back seat means he can set the front seats as far back as he wants without worrying about bumping up against his rear-facing child seat. When you're 6-foot-4 like he is, that matters. The cavernous trunk was another attraction. His wife was almost in shock at how deep it was.
However, the Ford Fusion Hybrid has also caught his eye. Although I was quite impressed with it during our hybrid sedan comparison test, my gut reaction was that it would be considerably more expensive than the Passat TDI. I was wrong.
March 14, 2014
There are a lot of things to like about our 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI. Here are seven I noted after a weekend with the car. I hardly drove anywhere, so the car's astonishing range is not in the list:
1. Feels big, drives small: The 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI is plenty roomy on the inside, but it drives and parks like a much smaller car.
2. Easy Bluetooth Audio. Many cars have fussy steps for instituting Bluetooth Audio. Not this car. It's a snap.
3. Ginormous trunk space. I can't fill it up, even at Costco. I keep trying.
February 21, 2014
Any car equipped with an automatic transmission should have a good dead pedal, otherwise known as a good place to put your left foot. You'd be surprised how many cars don't bother with one.
February 20, 2014
Yes, this is super nitpicky. But I was surprised that it took me multiple tries to get two dry-cleaning hangers onto a hook in our 2013 VW Passat TDI's rear seat area.
February 14, 2014
Not only do I find the sport seats in our 2013 VW Passat TDI SEL Premium super comfortable, I also really like the quality of the materials.
February 10, 2014
It's no fun carting a very sick cat from one veterinarian to another. Our 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI handled the job admirably, though.
When I had to take the cat from our local vet to a specialist in Culver City that I hadn't been to before, the Passat TDI's navigation system proved handy. The turn-by-turn directions in the center MFI display were easy to follow, even for a preoccupied driver. And I didn't have to worry about stopping for gas.
December 26, 2013
I like our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI's interior. It stays quiet on the highway, the seats are comfortable, and the switchgear is made from dense, high-quality materials.
The controls on the gear lever, instrument stalks, steering wheel and radio feel good to touch and are pleasant to look at, but ultimately, I find them all a bit frustrating to use.
November 20, 2013
Our 2013 Volkswagen Passat utilizes two of these plastic snap-lock devices to keep its driver's side floor mat from sliding up into the pedal area. And they work brilliantly.
November 13, 2013
This update was originally going to commend Volkswagen for providing an actual knob for radio tuning. Then I tried to tune with it.
October 23, 2013
One of the 2013 Volkswagen Passat's attributes for the latest generation car is its generous amount of rear seat space. Normally, you think of this helping out with fitting a car-load of adults, but it's actually quite handy if you're installing bulky child safety seats, too.
October 8, 2013
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.
August 22, 2013
My bicycle was stolen recently. I'll spare you the details, but there was a lot of pouting, and the bike needed replacing. Summer is in full swing and I haven't spent nearly enough time outdoors, so I enlisted the services of our 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI to check out a second-hand bike from an ad on Craigslist.
July 25, 2013
Senior Editor Josh Jacquot says our Passat is where personality comes to die. It's a typically caustic Jacquot assessment of any car that can't get air or handle a rally stage, but it's not totally fair. Yes, the steering wheel is inexplicably off-center, annoyingly so. The center console is almost useless. The brakes are grabby.
But the 2013 VW Passat TDI has personality. It's tempting to tag it with our classic German stereotypes: stoic, clinical, humorless. Few of which I believe anyway. Break bread with a group of German backpackers on holiday and you won't either.
July 24, 2013
I just got back from driving the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car with a spectacular cabin highlighted by its tasteful application of wood trim. It's integrated beautifully into the design and when removed, say in the carbon fiber-equipped S63, the cabin loses a lot of its panache.
Having said that, I'm usually not a fan of wood trim in cars since it's so rarely done well. Exhibit A: Our long-term Volkswagen Passat TDI. Indeed, it would appear to have even more wood trim than the new S-Class, but it's completely unconvincing and in such abundance that I can't decide if it's tacky or just horribly out of fashion. Nevermind, it's both. It's on the dash, the console, the doors and on the thin trim piece just below the windshield. It turns what is otherwise a cool, Teutonic environment into an homage to the Hyundai XG350.
July 22, 2013
You can fit the starting midfield for the German national soccer team in the 2013 Volkswagen Passat's rear-seat, yet the center console is this skinny, inefficient space. I think even the Focus ST's is larger. Lame.
Look, no one's gonna mistake the Passat for a driver's car. It's a nice, big utility sedan with a premium sheen. As such, give me big bins and compartments where I can throw keys, phone, wallet, sunglasses, gate opener, a compact camera sometimes, access cards to the office and garage, and other junk that attaches itself throughout the day.
June 19, 2013
I made you a video tour of our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI. Click through to view after the jump...
June 18, 2013
Our 2013 Volkswagen Passat shouldn't really get credit for having a simple shift mechanism. That sort of thing used to be standard in any car with an automatic. But these days such a setup isn't guaranteed.
June 11, 2013
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.
May 30, 2013
Years ago when I wrote a full test of the then newly-redesigned 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T, it had a very handy umbrella tucked into the driver door panel. You might find that a bit gimmicky but the car also had two cooled storages compartments and a number of clever storage areas throughout.
You could argue that in 2006 the Passat had gotten a little big for its breeches. As my mother would say, it was putting on airs, reaching out of its class. The same was happening throughout the segment, the cars were getting larger, packed with more features and the prices were climbing. Wasn't this supposed to be an affordable segment?
In recent years, Volkswagen redesigned the Passat by making it roomier, downgrading the interior materials and dropping the price. It was back where it should have been before hyperinflation.
May 27, 2013
We've added a 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI to our long-term test fleet.
Its turbodiesel engine outputs 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque while earning an EPA rating of 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway/34 mpg combined. And VW claims a range of 740 miles on a single tank of diesel fuel.
Passats are usually pretty nice inside and we opted for the SEL Premium which has an even more elegant interior with leather-trimmed sport seats, memory controls, dual-zone climate controls and an always helpful rearview backup camera.