"RNS 510" iPod Interface Is Slow To Respond - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: "RNS 510" iPod Interface Is Slow To Respond

October 18, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

When you buy the top-of-the-line SEL for the 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI, you get a variety of exclusive upgrades, including partial leather upholstery (with faux-suede seat inserts), remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, the Fender premium sound system, driver seat memory settings and a power front passenger seat. You also get an upgraded navigation system with traffic and Travel Link information.

Seems like good stuff, right? It is. However, that last feature, VW's "RNS 510" navigation system, also comes with a touchscreen and iPod interface that can be finicky to use.

"A touchscreen interface that Edmunds dislikes? That's crazy talk, Brent!" I know, I know. It can seem like we're constantly taking issue with these systems. But for our Passat's interface, the iPod/music interface can really be distracting. Sometimes you get a quick response to your touch, sometimes you'll get a slow response (2 to 3 seconds), and sometimes you get no response. And while these qualities seem mostly related to when I have the "Media" input selected (my iPhone/iPod, in this case) I've experienced it at least once with the radio stations, too. (Erin also wrote an update where the system completely froze up.)

It really is a driving distraction, and it's made even worse by the lack of a tuning knob for iPod control. The head unit has one, but it doesn't seem to work for moving through lists.

The funny thing is, I don't recall slow speeds or responses being an issue with the lower-level navigation system, the "RNS 315," that comes with just about every other VW, including the Jetta and the Passat SE with the Sunroof and Navigation package. And a Web search does seem to indicate that our car isn't the only one suffering from this RNS 510 problem.

Maybe this issue is just a firmware update or reset away from being fixed. But nevertheless, it's annoying.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,723 miles

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Research