I just picked up a new 2013 TDI Passat with the automatic. Here's my impression after the first few hundred miles. I discovered motor sports in the late 1960s. Back in the day I was a drag racing fan and lover of Detroit muscle. Budget constraints got me into riding and racing motorcycles and that changed my priorities for a car. I get my performance rush from bikes and airplanes. Cars have a different mission, one that requires reasonable power, solid handing and enough comfort to drive for hours. My Dodge dualie turned me on to diesels. when a friend gave me a ride in his TDI Jetta, I appreciated it's quiet torque and efficiency. That led me to buy a Passat SEL with the automatic.
After reading many reviews and talking to mechanics, I decided to go with the Passat TDI. I started looking at the Jetta, but certain aspects with the Jetta I wasn't impressed with such as the single torson bar for the rear suspension. The Passat is just better built, plus it's built in TN. After looking at the different models and price, I decided to go with the SEL. This thing is loaded. I have taken it on a 1200 mile trip, averaged 43mpg @70mph avg. Only problem was a rip in the door panel. Dealer fixed it promptly. I only miss two options: HID's and heated steering wheel.
This is our first diesel car - and we love it! We were pleasantly surprised at the acceleration - at least as good as all of our previous cars. On our first tank we averaged 44.8 mpg about (80/20 highway/city) The ride is firm. The car absolutely hugs the road on turns. No rattles The SEL Premium has electronic seat adjustments and lumbar support on the driver's and passenger side - which is really nice. One caution - new in 2013 is the refueling guard. There is a flap over the gas tank which can only be opened with the correct size diesel car nozzle. Check inside the nozzle for a small bar. Of course the first time we tried to refill we were at a station with "truck" size nozzles.
I test drove the gauntlet looking for a replacement for my A8L looking for something that was sporty, smooth, comfortable, and would give me a more green environmental look. Face it the A8L is a gas pig at 18mpg and It did not fit with my new business model. GO GREEN. I drove the Prius, Leaf, Volt Eh not so much. I mean they are green but they just all feel tight like a smart car with a different flare. I did drive the Jetta Hybrid turbo gas electric and I really liked it! but too small felt like a sardine in a can. I am 6feet 250lbs. The Passat TDI SEL is a perfect car for someone who is used to driving a luxury car that wants to just do better things for the environment.
I am extremely thorough in my research and very picky when it comes to the car I want. I am a college student; however travel 25,000-30,000 a year for my job as an Ice hockey referee; I travel the midwest and east coast. This car thus far is awesome on road trips. Quiet, smooth, powerful tdi engine. 3 driving modes make this awesome to drive, while I am getting 43 mpg highway and 30 mpg city (not babying it @75 on the highway). I did replace the awful hankook tires with Continental extreme contact dws. The build design is great and you can tell the high quality, just watch for the rattles in which the dealer quickly fixed. If you want a fun to drive sedan with awesome mpg get this!