2012 Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat

2011 Detroit Auto Show

2011 Detroit Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • 2012 Passat is the first product from VW's new $1-billion plant in Chattanooga.
  • There's a dramatic reduction in the Passat's base price, to around $20,000.
  • The new 2.0-liter TDI returns 43 mpg.

DETROIT — Volkswagen said its redesigned 2012 Passat, on display at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, will get a drastic reduction in the base price and will offer an optional turbodiesel engine that will return 43 mpg in highway driving.

The new Passat, which is aimed squarely at such popular midsize family sedans as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, is the first vehicle to roll out of VW's new $1-billion Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. It was designed specifically for the U.S. market.

The 2012 Passat for the U.S. is a different vehicle from the European Passat unveiled last fall at the Paris auto show.

The U.S. car features four-wheel independent suspension, with a multilink rear end. For the time being, VW plans to offer only a front-wheel-drive version; 4Motion all-wheel drive may be added later as an option.

The base engine is VW's 2.5-liter inline-5, rated at 170 horsepower and mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Two uplevel engines are offered: a 280-hp 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 with a six-speed automated manual direct-shift gearbox and a 140-hp 2.0 TDI coupled with either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG. The diesel will provide a driving range of up to 800 miles.

Standard features include dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth hands-free capability. Among the options are keyless/push-button start, remote start and 18-inch wheels and tires.

VW said it expects pricing on the 2012 Passat to start at around $20,000. The current 2010 Passat is priced from $27,945.

Edmunds.com says: With such a drastic price cut, VW clearly hopes to make up in additional Passat volume what it may be surrendering in cachet. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent

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