2014 Volkswagen Passat Review, Ratings & Discussions | Edmunds.com

2014 Volkswagen Passat Review

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Review of the 2014 Volkswagen Passat

  • Set apart by its European-style refinement, roomy interior and fuel-efficient diesel engine option, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is a solid choice for a family sedan.

  • Safety | Reliability
  • Pros

    High-quality cabin with above-average passenger and cargo space; refined and quiet ride; fuel-efficient diesel engine; strong V6; top safety scores.

  • Cons

    Below-average acceleration with 2.5 and TDI engines; touchscreen electronics interface in SEL models is slow to respond.

  • What's New for 2014

    A more fuel-efficient 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine replaces the 2.5-liter five-cylinder on the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL model and will gradually be phased in on other trim levels. VW's Car-Net telematics interface also debuts this year, and most trims, including this year's new Sport trim level, now have a standard rearview camera.



Great family sedan

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat S PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I put on about 1400 miles on a Passat S auto. The overall quality is gone down quite a bit from my 99 Passat GL V6 that I had before. The car is now manufactured in Tennessee instead of Germany. So far I have not encountered any problems. The car rides very comfortably except the bottom seat cushion is kind of hard. The fuel economy is very good and you also get a large gas tank. Power is adequate but not spectacular. I got a very good lease program (around >$4K below MSRP). Great value and a solid choice as a family car.




Achilles heel: navigation system

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

Overall good results, but the one exception is so frustrating and "in your face" that I would not buy this vehicle again. It's the Navigation/ Bluetooth/ Stereo/ Backup Camera combo. The system is super slow and locked up for me four times. Music keeps playing, but nothing else works. Volume is stuck, navigation may or may not continue. Once the unit rebooted by itself after about 20 minutes, the other times I had to stop and shut the car off for 5-10 minutes. Onscreen button are slow to respond and sometimes don't respond at all. Entering an address while on the go is not practical. Valid, well-established addresses often don't work (~30% of use).




Drives great. features are awful

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Cons. Everything else. Radio/GPS is the worst I have ever had. Often when your first turn the car on the radio/nav won't respond to commands for 1-2 minutes. When I put the car in reverse the backup camera doesn't come on for 1-2 minutes also. By that time I am long out of a parking space. Worthless. Navigation won't allow address entry for the first 1-2 min. The Nav entry system is cumbersome and just poorly designed. Remote start is also designed by a moran. You have to start the car and then restart the car when you enter it. VW-carnet is worthless. It is as though Vw just threw somethin



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

"where excitement goes to die."

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

My love of cars has spanned a fair number of years and over two dozen cars. This is my second VW. I traded in a 2008 BMW 535xi Sport for this car, which had replaced a beloved 2002 Audi A6 2.7T. The Passat has reminded me of the many reasons I am a fan of VW Group cars. I was concerned that the transition out of the driving experience of the BMW would be rough, but I was wrong. The Passat is comfortable, spacious, well-appointed, reasonably quick, and sneers at gas pumps (I drove from NJ to Boston and back on one tank of regular fuel). It is not going to win stoplight drag races or autocross rallies, but as a large family sedan, it's really tough to beat. Glad I ignored the naysayers!



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Room to spare in a

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat S PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

My '14 Passat is a real nice car that actually is quite simple to operate. Interior design is classic and the exterior may seam a bit boring at first, but at different angles the cars exterior lines show the true elegance of the car. I paid 18,700 for the 21,900 sticker car and got 0% financing to boot. So for the price of a focus or corolla I was able to get a sweet Passat that is extremely roomy and just as efficient as those two cars.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Really like it.

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Passat S PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Elegant design, inside, and out. Understated. Stereo is great. Feel much smaller to drive than it looks. Feels very light, easy to drive. 1.8l turbo has some punch, especially with what feels to be the vehicle's light weight.



Full 2014 Volkswagen Passat Review

What's New for 2014

A more fuel-efficient 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine replaces the 2.5-liter five-cylinder on the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL model and will gradually be phased in on other trim levels. VW's Car-Net telematics interface also debuts this year, and most trims, including this year's new Sport trim level, now have a standard rearview camera.

Introduction

One of the more interesting options for a midsize sedan is the 2014 Volkswagen Passat. It's the only European car in the family sedan segment, and that heritage is evident in its clean styling, tidy, down-to-business interior design and solid, composed highway ride. It's also the only sedan in this class that offers a diesel engine option, and that power plant returns impressive fuel economy on par with hybrid sedans. However, there's plenty of North American influence in VW's family sedan as well, and indeed the Passat's greatest attribute is the vast amount of space it offers for passengers and cargo.

This spaciousness is no accident, of course, as the Volkswagen Passat is built in Tennessee expressly for the American market. Not only is this midsize VW sufficiently comfortable and serene for long road trips on U.S. highways, but you can even get it with a potent 3.6-liter V6 engine. Most Passat buyers end up with one of the more sensible engine options, of course, and to be honest we've never been thrilled with the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine's below-average fuel economy and slightly gruff power delivery. The good news is that Volkswagen is phasing in a new, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine for the 2014 model year. It doesn't make any more horsepower than the 2.5 engine, but there's more torque for passing maneuvers and the 1.8T engine returns better gas mileage to boot. Initially, only SEL models will have the new engine as standard, but as the 2014 model year progresses, you can expect to see the 1.8T on all VW Passats. Still, if you're really serious about fuel economy, the extra cost of the diesel engine on the TDI models will probably be worth it to you.

Although there's much to like about the 2014 Volkswagen Passat, we can say the same about many of its competitors and you'll certainly want to check a few of them out before making a decision. The 2014 Nissan Altima and 2014 Honda Accord are two of our favorites in this class: Their base four-cylinder gasoline engines are more fuel-efficient than the Passat's 1.8T and 2.5 engines, and the Altima has some of the richest cabin furnishings in this price range. We're also fond of the Mazda 6, which has the sportiest handling in this class, and the stylish 2014 Ford Fusion, whose eco-themed counterpart, the Fusion Hybrid, is a compelling alternative to a diesel Passat.

Even in the face of so many competent rivals, though, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat comes highly recommended, especially with the 1.8T and TDI engines.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat sedan is offered in four broad models broken down by engine (2.5L, 1.8T, TDI and V6), which are further subdivided into a quintet of different trim levels (S, Wolfsburg, SE, Sport and SEL).

The lineup starts with the "S" base model, which comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a six-way manual driver seat with lumbar adjustment, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, audio controls on the steering wheel, cruise control, a trip computer, Bluetooth with streaming audio and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input.

The Wolfsburg Edition includes the features of the S model and adds unique 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and VW's Car-Net telematics system.

Move up to the SE trim level and you get 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors and windshield washer nozzles, a rearview camera, rear-seat air vents, a sliding front armrest, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded gauges and displays, and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen audio interface.

This year's new Passat Sport is similar to the SE but has 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles (with the automatic transmission) and special exterior and interior styling details.

Options on SE models include a sunroof or the sunroof bundled with a navigation system. On TDI SE models, 18-inch alloy wheels are also added if the sunroof is equipped, and if you equip both the sunroof and the nav system, you get foglights as well. Navigation is not available on V6 SE models, but on the upside, a nine-speaker Fender audio system is included with the optional sunroof.

The SEL models include all of the above items, including an upgraded navigation system with a larger screen, hard-drive music storage and traffic updates. You also get keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, partial leather upholstery, wood-grain interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio and a separate ski pass-through for the 60/40 rear seat.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2014 VW Passat is front-wheel drive and comes with a choice of four distinctly different engines. The S, SE and Wolfsburg models come with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. You can have a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission on S and SE models, while the Wolfsburg is automatic only. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped Passat 2.5 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9 seconds, which is slower than average for the class. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for manual-shift Passat 2.5 models is 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway), while the automatic drops to 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway). These figures are below average among midsize sedans.

Volkswagen is beginning to phase the 2.5-liter engine out of the lineup in favor of a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is also rated at 170 hp but makes a more substantial 184 lb-ft of torque. Currently, the 1.8T is standard only on the Sport and SEL models. Eventually, though, it will be the base engine on all Passats, and consumers are likely to encounter both engines in 2014 models at dealerships. A six-speed automatic is standard on the SEL 1.8T, but VW will also offer the five-speed manual on the Sport and on S and SE models with the 1.8T engine. In Edmunds performance testing, the Passat 1.8T SEL went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 7.7 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are 28 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway) with the automatic and 28 combined (24 city/35 highway) with the manual: good numbers for a four-cylinder midsize sedan.

Those seeking maximum mpg can opt for Volkswagen's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque on SE and SEL models. Called the TDI, this diesel engine comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual transmission (known as DSG), which takes the place of a conventional automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, the Passat TDI went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 35 mpg combined (31 city/43 highway) for the manual and 34 mpg combined (30 city/40 highway) with the DSG. In extensive Edmunds fuel economy testing, we've found that the diesel VW Passat can easily surpass these numbers by 8-10 mpg.

The strongest engine available on the Passat is a 3.6-liter V6, which churns out 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It's optional on the SE and SEL, and the DSG automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds testing, a Passat 3.6 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds -- quick for this class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 combined (20 city/28 highway).

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2014 Volkswagen Passat include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags. In the event of a crash, the onboard computer automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers. A rearview camera is standard on SE and SEL models. VW's new Car-Net telematics system, standard from the Wolfsburg model on up, includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net smartphone app lets owners control many of these functions on the go.

In government crash testing, the Passat scored a perfect five out of five stars overall, with five stars for frontal impact protection and five stars for side crash protection. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Passat its top score of "Good" for frontal moderate-overlap, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Passat received the Institute's second-highest rating of "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Passat 3.6 SEL came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, which is longer than average. However, a 2.5 SE and a 1.8 SEL both stopped in a class-average 123 feet, while a TDI SEL needed 124 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

Spaciousness is the operative word when describing the Passat's cabin. Space up front is good; however, the driver seat only adjusts in six ways (minus lumbar), and it lacks the seat-bottom tilt found in most competitors. In back, the Passat verges on full-size sedan dimensions, as even good-sized adults will have room to stretch out their legs. The seatback cushion is too upright, however, which can result in taller occupants' heads grazing the roof. The spacious trunk can swallow 15.9 cubic feet of cargo -- a number that bests many competitors -- and a large pass-through gives you plenty of room to haul bulkier items when the 60/40 seats are folded.

The quality of the VW Passat's interior materials is among the best in the class. The overall cabin design is decidedly upscale, while the layout of gauges and controls is refreshingly simple. The premium Fender audio system has been tuned to the acoustics of the interior and will please even hard-core audiophiles. Our only significant complaint relates to the optional navigation systems. The SE models have a lower-cost navigation unit with a small touchscreen display. You get a usefully larger screen in the SEL, but we've found this higher-end interface slower to process commands whether you're changing a radio station or entering a destination.

Driving Impressions

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat's character depends a great deal on which engine is under the hood. Although performance from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder is fully adequate, we think most buyers will appreciate the new 1.8T engine's smoother power delivery, increased fuel economy and extra thrust for passing. It's also quicker than the TDI, but that turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel boasts lively low-end power and returns truly extraordinary fuel economy and fuel range. For those who care more about power than mpg, the 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers much more enthusiastic acceleration.

The DSG automated manual transmission that's available with the TDI engine and standard with the V6 generally feels like a regular automatic transmission and, in some cases, it's better -- it provides quick downshifts in highway passing situations. One negative is the lackadaisical throttle response on DSG-equipped Passats and on 2.5 models with the regular automatic transmission: There's a noticeable delay between the time the pedal is pressed and when the engine actually responds. Most owners get used to this behavior in time, but if it bothers you, the automatic-equipped Passat 1.8T is worth a try.

On the highway, all 2014 Volkswagen Passats are impressively quiet and comfortable, snuffing out bumps large and small. Around turns, the steering is reasonably precise, although there's not much feel for the road and some drivers find it a tad heavy at low speeds. Overall, though, the Passat earns high marks for its relaxed, refined demeanor in everyday driving.

Talk About The 2014 Passat

2014 Volkswagen Passat Discussions See all Started By

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Karen_CM
12-27-2013
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11-08-2014
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