2008 Volkswagen Passat Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Ample power with either engine, balanced ride and handling, spacious seating for all, elegant cabin with exemplary fit and finish, available all-wheel drive.
  • Prohibitively expensive with the V6 engine, options-laden four-cylinder models are pricey, too, excessive road noise with 17- or 18-inch wheels, poor fuel economy on 4Motion models.
List Price
$4,869

Used Passat for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Receive offers from our dealer partners fast.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

With their European road manners and beautifully furnished cabins, the 2008 Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon rank among our editors' favorites. However, budget-minded shoppers will find the midsize VW tough to justify over less expensive Japanese-brand rivals.

Vehicle overview

Our editors' love affair with the Volkswagen Passat dates back a decade. Following a seminal redesign in 1998, this midsize sedan and wagon duo became the ones to beat in the family car class -- if not in annual sales, then in out-and-out desirability. It wasn't just that the Passat looked different from mainstream Japanese- and domestic-brand competitors, or that its cabin was trimmed to luxury-car standards. It was the way this VW drove. Its crisp steering and solid road manners gave it a level of character rarely seen in this practicality-driven vehicle class. If the Passat had a weakness, it was its slightly too snug interior, and Volkswagen addressed this in a 2006 makeover during which the car grew 3 inches wider. Although today's VW Passat lacks the tidy geometric proportions of the late '90s car, it has as much real-world passenger room as most rivals and retains a unique personality.

Prices have edged up steadily with the midsize VW's rise in popularity, though, and many shoppers will be surprised to find that a V6-equipped 2008 Volkswagen Passat starts out around $36,000. Fortunately, the base four-cylinder engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter good for 200 horsepower, provides perfectly acceptable performance and much better gas mileage. Although Volkswagen has reformulated the trim levels for 2008 (adding cute identifiers like "Komfort" and "Lux"), the base model (now called "Turbo") remains the best value and offers all the equipment most families will need. In addition, enthusiast types should note that only the base-trim VW Passat is eligible for a manual gearbox. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system remains an option for buyers needing winter-weather capability, but given the near-$40K price of admission, you'd be wise to investigate the alternatives, including the VW group's own Audi A4 Quattro, along with any number of crossover SUVs, before committing.

As much as we like the current Volkswagen Passat, from its meticulously crafted cabin to its engaging dynamics, this car is the high-end option in a vehicle class patronized by consumers who worry about mortgage payments and preschool tuition. For those running on tighter budgets, the Honda Accord (redesigned for 2008), Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry will undoubtedly seem like better values. You can equip all of them with powerful and relatively fuel-efficient V6 engines for about what you'd spend on a comparably equipped four-cylinder Passat sedan. The competition isn't as heated among wagons, but the Dodge Magnum, Subaru Outback and redesigned Volvo XC70 are all worth checking out as lower-cost alternatives. All that said, we have no doubt that many consumers will determine that the 2008 Volkswagen Passat, thanks to its elegant and smart design, continues to be a very desirable choice for a family sedan or wagon.

2008 Volkswagen Passat models

The 2008 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize car available as a sedan or wagon. Both body styles come in Turbo, Komfort, Lux and VR6 trim levels. Passat VR6 sedans can be purchased in front-wheel-drive or 4Motion all-wheel-drive configuration; 4Motion is standard on the VR6 wagon.

The base Turbo model starts you out with 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, a power driver seat, a telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, full power accessories, heated outside mirrors, a trip computer and rear-seat sunshades. Step up to the Passat Komfort and you'll get 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, upgraded interior lighting and double-blade front sun visors. The Lux adds automatic headlights, leather upholstery, a power front-passenger seat, driver-seat memory, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and front and rear parking sensors. The high-line Passat VR6 adds 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, sport seats and an upgraded Dynaudio sound system.

Base Turbo models are very limited in terms of options, but you can get heated front seats and iPod integration. A navigation system and an underbody kit are available on other Passats. The Dynaudio system is optional on Komfort and Lux versions, while adaptive cruise control is an exclusive extra on the VR6.

2008 Highlights

Volkswagen shuffles equipment around, creating Turbo, Komfort (Ja, that's with a "K"), Lux and VR6 trim levels for the 2008 Volkswagen Passat line. Rear side sunshades are now standard on all Passats, as is a power driver seat. Formerly known as the 3.6L, the Passat VR6 gains adaptive bi-xenon headlights as standard equipment. In addition, the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is now standard on VR6 wagons.

Performance & mpg

All Turbo, Komfort and Lux models come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine rated for 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. Base Turbo models can be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The automatic is standard on the Komfort and Lux. All 2008 Volkswagen Passat VR6 models are fitted with a 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque that's also coupled to a six-speed automatic. Even the 2.0-liter turbo with the automatic is a quick combination: We clocked a Passat sedan at 7.7 seconds to 60 mph. Front-wheel-drive VR6 models better that time by about a second.

Fuel economy ranges from very good with the turbo four-cylinder (21 mpg city/29 mpg highway with a manual, 19/29 with an automatic) to dismal on the Passat VR6 4Motion (16 city/24 highway). Rated at 17/26, the front-drive VR6 model ranks about average for a V6-equipped sedan.

Safety

All Passats come very well equipped with safety features. Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, anti-whiplash front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard. Optional for all trims are rear-seat side airbags. In National Highway Transportation Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 Volkswagen Passat earned four (out of five) stars for its protection of front occupants in head-on collisions. Side-impact tests resulted in five stars for front passengers and four for those in the rear. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety scores the Passat as "Good" (the best rating possible) in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Driving

An impressively rigid structure provides sportier handling than previous Passat generations. Although the chassis is still tuned more for comfort than attacking apexes, body roll is kept in check and the steering is responsive yet light, without feeling overboosted. Factor in the powerful engines and the Passat makes for one of the most entertaining rides in the midsize segment. The only significant negative we've found in road tests is excessive road noise on models with the larger wheels and tires.

Interior

Every Passat presents a comfortable and upscale cabin. Fit and finish is superb and there's a feeling of precision to all the controls. Starting the car is a bit unusual but easier than the normal stick-the-key-in-and-twist drill. One simply inserts the "key" into an easily seen/accessed slot on the dash and pushes it to start the car. Trunk capacity stands at 14.2 cubic feet, which is about average for this class. The wagon has 35.8 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seats up.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Volkswagen Passat.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2008 Passat Lux Wagon 133,000 miles
mrvinsurance,12/26/2013
I just bought this car, with 133,000 miles on it. This one was very clean inside and out, and all options worked on it. At 135,000 miles I changed the timing belt and changed oil with synthetic as recommended. I am exclusively using premium gas. Overall, very happy with it. Super smooth and respectably fast on highway. Very comfy & attractive interior. I am prepared to spend a little more for maintenance than my Japanese cars, but feel it is worth it as the overall build quality is much nicer. Again, bought it with high mileage, but it drives great.
Love my Passat!!!!!
tiffanyrenee,03/06/2014
I bought my White, Passat 2.0T Komfort in 2011 used with 49, 000 miles. I had an oil consumption problem at first. I had to add oil every 500 to 600 miles but the VW dealership ran three oil consumption test found that there was a problem and fixed it. Other than some other recalls I am now at 83,000 miles and love the ride. I keep up the maintenance, bought new tires, new brake and rotors, and I am good to go. Did I say I love this car? I do.
120K mile update
deeper,07/07/2014
Komfort 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
160k update: car hit by dump truck, totalled, will be missed - they just don't make'm like this anymore. 150k Mile Review: Daughter has abused this for the past 50K+ miles. Have had a chance to drive it recently and was reminded of how smooth, quiet, solid and effortlessly this car drives. A world apart from current Passats. I would buy it all over again. 50k mile review: Have driven VW for decades and this one is no different when it comes to small things needing repair, mostly under warranty. Engine strong, gas mileage consistently exceeds EPA. With Good Year Assurance Comfort tires ride is quiet and smooth though not as sharp as stock. Fully loaded and air-condition running can easily achieve 32-34 mpg at 75mph+. Also fully loaded car doesn't seem to bog down due to turbo torque even going up hills. My daughter now drives the car after my son put miles on it but every time I get back in and drive it I smile. Wish they still sold a wagon in the US. 120K update: still runs great but annual $2,000+ maintenance over the past two years has reduced my Great rating on maintenance to poor. Still is an excellent fun driving car. Everything still works.
Pass on the left, if you can!
Doug,08/19/2015
VR6 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
When merging on to the highway, this car is like a thoroughbred race horse jumping out of the gate. Left signal on, metal down, take to the express lane and hit cruise at 82. Slow down for the inevitable traffic delays with the left (-) paddle shifter & open the sunroof if it is a nice day. The sound system will easily drown out anyone else's sound system. I bought this car for its' storage. Right away it needed: igniters, fuel pump, axle, alignment, brakes, lights. Timing belt broke two weeks after dealer "inspected" it. Now, with rebuilt engine, performs like new. Body & paint are in great shape. Glass is all like new. Plastic body panels require ArmorAll. For an "old" car, the design is still fresh. Turns heads wherever I go. Blacked out all the chrome & lowered it, with some 18's.

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
200 hp @ 5100 rpm
MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
280 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
200 hp @ 5100 rpm
MPG
19 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
200 hp @ 5100 rpm
See all Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Volkswagen Passat
Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat Overview

The Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat is offered in the following submodels: Passat Sedan, Passat Wagon. Available styles include Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Komfort 4dr Wagon w/Prod. End 02/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), VR6 4Motion 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Turbo 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 01/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Turbo 4dr Wagon w/Prod. End 02/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), VR6 4Motion 4dr Wagon AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Lux 4dr Wagon w/Prod. End 02/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Turbo 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 01/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Turbo 4dr Wagon w/Prod. End 02/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Komfort 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 01/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), VR6 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Lux 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 01/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Komfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Turbo 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Lux 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Turbo 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Komfort 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Lux 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat Turbo is priced between $4,869 and$4,869 with odometer readings between 86539 and86539 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Volkswagen Passats are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Volkswagen Passat for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 Passats listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,869 and mileage as low as 86539 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Volkswagen Passat.

Can't find a used 2008 Volkswagen Passats you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Passat for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $17,673.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $19,165.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Passat for sale - 7 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,213.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,930.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Volkswagen Passat?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Passat lease specials