2013 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Review: First VW, first diesel = Don't

2013 Volkswagen Passat - Consumer Review

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful
First VW, first diesel = Don't know why I waited!
By sheepleking on


2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)


Traded in a 2011 Rav4 Limited because the fit and finish (i.e. squeaks, rattles, road/wind noise) were terrible.
I looked at countless vehicles and finally looked at the Passat.

Once I read everything I could, scoured the reviews for any negatives (there weren't any) and convinced my wife that diesels aren't what they used to be, I took one for an extended test drive and was hooked.
Fantastic fit and finish, little or no wind noise at highway speeds (75 to 80), solid "thunks" when the doors are closed and no odd noises from the cabin.

Overall - Very happy and look forward to years of quiet, 40+ mpg drives.

I'll post follow-up's every few months (as comments) for anyone interested.

Best Features

I've only had it for a week but initially the best parts for me are the gas mileage; I've averaged 38.4 in 80% local driving (compared to the 21 in my RAV4). Love the sound system (Fender), the "quietness" of the cabin and tons of seating/storage space.

Worst Features

I read the reviews concerning the lack of processor speed for the back-up camera and navigation system. I agree with the back-up camera issue as there is a noticeable delay both in initially starting and then turning off after shifting to drive. That being said, it's not so bad that it's a show stopper and I'm more of a "turn you head and look" guy anyway. I have only used the navigation system once and encountered no issues. Would like to have HID lights as an option but that's just being picky.
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Comments (6) Post a Comment
By sheepleking
on 03/26/14 12:43 PM (PDT)

16-Month/20,000 Mile Update. Had my first (only) major mechanical issue about a month ago. Left my house and about 1/2 mile down the road, the car would not accelerate and I heard a loud whine when I pressed the accelerator. I was able to limp home and contacted my dealer who had a tow truck out within a couple hours. After getting to the dealership, they told me a nut/bolt had come loose at the turbo housing. Whatever the cause, it destroyed the turbo booster in my car and both it and the radiator housing had to be replaced. Dealer gave me a loaner and my car was ready 3 days later with all new OEM parts. I was told there is a new housing that eliminates this problem, so keep that in mind if you ever run into this problem. Aside from that, I still love my Passat. My driving is approximately 30 miles per day of 60% city/40% highway and I'm getting 36 to 40 mpg. I get mid 40's when driving mostly highway. The electronics are as slow as they were on day 1 but I've grown accustomed to that so it's not really an issue for me. My only added gripe to the electronics is the navigation system...the routes it has me take sometimes are so far off the mark it's laughable and more often than not, it ends up taking me past where I want to go. I now take my wife's Garmin whenever we go on trips or to a destination I'm not familiar with. Lastly, I've read a lot of reviews about road noise from the tires. Mine came with Continental tires and I've had no issues with excessive wear or noise. Perhaps the other reviews are a result of different tires (Hankooks or whatever they are riding on).

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By sheepleking
on 07/08/13 10:08 AM (PDT)

7-Month/8,000 Mile Update: Got back from a vacation with the wife and kids to Myrtle Beach...620 miles from our home in Dayton to my mom's in Myrtle; arrived with just below 1/4 tank of gas left, averaged 45.4 MPG, A/C on the whole time, averaged 75MPH. Got 44.2 MPG on the way back...probably because of the rain, etc. Radio problem described in my last comment has not reoccurred so I'm hopeful that was a one-time issue. It was reported/witnessed by VW so at least it's on record if it pops up again. Still absolutely loving the car; the delay with the radio/nav/back-up camera is still present but I've adjusted to it so I don't give it a second thought. Hopefully the next model year will update their processor to speed things up a bit. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't even hesitate.

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By peterdom
on 02/11/13 14:18 PM (PST)

What options did you purchase for car?

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By sheepleking
on 02/14/13 11:35 AM (PST)

The TDI SEL is fully loaded. The only options you can choose are floor mats, locking lugs, first aid kit, trunk organizer and lip spoiler. Mine came with the first aid kit, trunk organizer and the floor mats. Lip spoiler was another $380 or so but I didn't think it did much for the appearance so I skipped it.

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By sheepleking
on 04/05/13 08:54 AM (PDT)

3-Month/4,000 Mile Update - Still absolutely loving my Passat. Took our first decent length family trip to Gatlinburg, TN (from Dayton, Ohio) and averaged 44.3 MPG for the trip. Average speed was 75ish and the car was loaded down with my wife and two teenage daughters plus our suitcases, etc. in the trunk. When I'm home, 80% of my driving is in town and I'm averaging about 33-35 MPG. Absolutely no complaints about road noise and comfort. I did start to occassionally notice the sloshing noise from the rear of the car when I stop. Perhaps VW will add a little more baffling with next years model. It's not noticeable all the time and only lasts for a moment so it's not a big deal. My only big issue is during our TN trip, the radio system would lock up/freeze every 6 minutes, shut down and reboot itself. This happened consistently for more than two hours. I was on the phone with VW Service and they said another person with a 2013 Passat was experiencing the exact same problem. They called VW HQ and they said they were aware of the issue and "engineers were looking at it" but currently had no fix. Supposedly had something to do with the system memory being overloaded. The problem stopped after about two hours and hasn't occurred since...hopefully it was just a glitch in the matrix and won't pop up again. --I had my phone charging in the front plug and my daughter had her Ipod Touch plugged into the socket in the console. Nav system was running, radio was playing and my phone was hooked via bluetooth. ***Basically nothing unusual that should/could have caused an overload.*** Overall, I'm completely satisfied with my purchase. I'll post another comment at the 6 month mark or if I hear anything back about the radio glitch. (Whichever comes first.)

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By sheepleking
on 01/14/14 12:17 PM (PST)

12-Month/14,000 Mile Update. I can honestly say this is the first car of mine in the past 15 years that I haven't had an urge to get rid of after the first year. I still love nearly everything about the car; gas mileage is still in the mid 30's for "around the town" driving and mid to upper 40's for highway. Seats are comfortable, road noise hasn't increased much as the tire tread goes down and the car still has a wonderful shine when I take the time to clean it. Not everything is perfect of course...the quality of the processor for the electronics (Nav, radio and camera) is horrible and from what I've read they haven't upgraded it for the 2014 models. There is a noticeable delay when switching between radio and satellite, the rear camera coming on, the nav system booting up or anything else powered by the system processor. The only other quibble is with the sloshing noise from the trunk...but I've mentioned that before and it's not too bad. All said and done, I don't have any buyers remorse or desire to get rid of my Passat, and given my purchasing history, that's saying a lot.

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