This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The Passat TDI couples superb fuel economy with an 18.5-gallon fuel tank for bladder-busting range. The turbodiesel engine and generally lazy dynamics make this car an acquired taste. But if you need a generously sized midsize sedan that's stunningly efficient, you've just found your car.
PerformanceThe Passat is neither quick nor a remarkably good handler. Still, its all-torque power delivery moves it down the road adequately. Plan on a soft ride and equally soft handling. Long range and economy are its real strengths.
Getting to 60 mph takes about 9 seconds with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine and DSG transmission, which makes it slower than nearly every car in the class. But torque is abundant.
Stopping distances in the Passat are average, but its long-travel pedal feel might require some getting used to. Its slow pedal response is aligned with the car's character, however.
There's not a lof of useful information available through the Passat's wheel, but steering effort is appropriate.
The Passat TDI has zero sporting intentions. Handling is well mannered but with low limits. It's perfectly fine if you never need to go quickly around a corner.
The Passat's driveability is perfectly adequate, but nearly all responses are slow. Though the DSG shifts rapidly, the TDI powerplant doesn't motivate the car to do anything quickly.
ComfortComfort is a Passat strength. Suspension tuning favors the soft side with relatively plush springs. Inside there are ample amenities (dual-zone climate control, suede seat inserts, keyless ignition) as well.
The Passat's steering wheel doesn?t align with its driver's seat, the wheel is offset about an inch. Seats are softer than is typical in German sedans, but still amply supportive.
The Passat favors comfort over agility. It's big, soft and cushy.
Wait, this is a diesel? Because it's tough to tell by listening. As quiet as a mid-size sedan needs to be. Tire and wind noise are unobtrusive.
InteriorOverall, the Passat's interior is above average. It's big, well finished, appropriately laid out and offers ample storage.
Climate control is easy to use and offers dual zones and rear vents. Phone pairing is managed through steering wheel controls/driver information display, which is unusual and awkward.
The Passat offers large, wide-opening doors with big apertures.
Enormous inside. Rear seat space borders on luxury levels. Both leg room and lateral space are ample in the rear and footwells are massive. Big people will fit comfortably back there.
Relatively small pillars all around. But the D pillars are large enough to cause marginal visibility hassles in any scenario that requires rear-quarter visibility.
Enormous, 15.9-cubic-foot trunk. Deep and wide. Split-folding rear seats help with extra-large cargo. Folding rear center armrest. Good small-item storage thoughout.
ValueThe Passat TDI's value depends on how much emphasis you place on range and fuel economy. The added cost for its powertrain is proportional to the benefits it offers.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The Passat is neatly assembled from quality materials. Its body panels align well and its interior is quiet and rattle-free.
For the money our Passat offered the features we'd expect in a midsize sedan, like multi-level heated front seats, leather and a rear-view camera, at its base price of $32,915.
Though you pay a premium for diesel power, it's a good answer for those who plan to rack up big miles.
Fuel economy and range are the Passat TDI's biggest strengths. The EPA rates the Passat TDI at 30 city/40 mpg highway. We averaged 31.6 mpg over 1,154 miles with the car.
The Passat TDI offers a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty along with 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage.
VW TDI drivers are vocal advocates, swearing by the car's economy and range. It helps that the Passat has free maintenance and roadside assistance for 3 years/36,000 miles.
Fun To DriveDon't expect the Passat TDI to behave athletically in any measure of performance. But if big range and fuel economy tickle your fancy, then this is your car.
Sluggish throttle response can make the Passat TDI slow off the line. Most control responses are lackadaisical, in fact.
Diesel-powered VW sedans are where personality goes to die. Don't expect to find any here.
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