Getting Used to Volkswagen Controls - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Getting Used to Volkswagen Controls

December 26, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

I like our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI's interior. It stays quiet on the highway, the seats are comfortable, and the switchgear is made from dense, high-quality materials.

The controls on the gear lever, instrument stalks, steering wheel and radio feel good to touch and are pleasant to look at, but ultimately, I find them all a bit frustrating to use.

Mind you, I cycle through several different test cars every week, so I know it takes some time to get used to the various locations of controls. With the Passat it takes me twice as long as any other car.

Things don't feel as intuitive or easy to use as they do in some other cars. Even after a few days in the Volkswagen, I have difficulty performing most secondary tasks like adjusting the climate control while driving. The infotainment screen and climate control are located fairly low on the center stack, causing me to look away from the road if I'm adjusting any settings or selecting a new song. Also controls are on both sides of the touchscreen as well and I can never remember which side to go to first. Maybe after a few weeks or months of ownership I'd know my way around the interior, but it's difficult to acclimate.

Travis Langness, Associate Editor

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Research