2013 Volkswagen Passat Review


Pros & Cons

  • High-quality cabin
  • refined and quiet ride
  • available fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine
  • top safety scores
  • strong V6 engine.
  • Lackadaisical throttle response
  • below-average braking distances.
List Price Range
$6,981 - $14,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Distinguishing itself with European-style refinement and an efficient diesel option, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat is a solid choice for a family sedan.

Vehicle overview

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat enjoys a rather unique position, since it's the only European entry in the family sedan segment. Now, this does not mean this VW calls soccer "football" or takes off all of August to holiday in Mallorca. Instead, a continental heritage helps the Passat bring to its class of sedans a certain premium flair that its rivals lack.

This is apparent as soon as you take a seat inside the cabin. The interior is classy and distinguished, with legible, informative gauges, a no-nonsense layout and solid-feeling switchgear. On the move, the Passat has a confident, responsive personality while also remaining comfortable and usable. And since European automakers are big on diesel engines, it seems only natural that the Passat offers one: a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that gets very impressive fuel economy.

However, this Passat isn't just beer gardens and lederhosen. VW actually builds this car in Tennessee expressly for the American market. VW knows what Americans want, and that's why there's an impressive amount of legroom, while the trunk is above average in size. And if it's power you desire, there's a strong 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower available.

There are a couple downsides to the Passat. We're not fond of the longer-than-average braking distances, for instance, and its lazy throttle response with the automatic transmissions can be irksome. There are also a lot of great choices for a family sedan this year, including the stylish 2013 Ford Fusion, newly redesigned 2013 Honda Accord, value-packed Hyundai Sonata and sharp-handling 2013 Nissan Altima. But all things considered, the European-influenced 2013 Volkswagen Passat comes highly recommended.

2013 Volkswagen Passat models

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat sedan is offered in three broad models broken down by engine (2.5L, TDI and 3.6L), which are further subdivided into a quartet of different trim levels (S, Wolfsburg, SE and SEL).

The lineup starts with the "S" base model (2.5-liter only), which comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a six-way manual driver seat with lumbar adjustment, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, audio controls on the steering wheel, cruise control, a trip computer, Bluetooth with streaming audio and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input. An available Appearance package adds a six-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-seat center armrest.

The Wolfsburg includes the features of the S with Appearance package and adds unique 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.

Move up to the SE trim level and you get 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, heated mirrors, rear seat air vents, a sliding front armrest, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, upgraded gauges and displays and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen audio interface.

Options on SE models include a sunroof or the sunroof bundled with a navigation system and iPod integration. TDI SE buyers can add 18-inch alloy wheels and foglights as well. The 3.6L SE comes standard with these options except the navigation system, which remains optional. A nine-speaker Fender audio system is also included.

The 2.5 SEL models include all of the above (minus the foglights but keeping the 17-inch wheels), plus upgraded front seats, live traffic updates, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a rear-seat pass-through and wood interior trim. The 2.5 SEL Premium adds the foglights, keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, partial leather upholstery and power front seats with driver memory functions. Both the TDI and 3.6L can also be had in SEL guise, but the Premium package is mandatory.

2013 Highlights

After a redesign last year, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat returns with only a minor shuffling of features and the addition of the Wolfsburg trim level. Most notably, a rearview camera is now available.

Performance & mpg

The VW Passat comes with a choice of three distinctly different engines. The entry-level 2.5L model is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine rated at 170 hp and 177 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped 2.5 Passat accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9 seconds, which is about average for the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the manual transmission stands at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The automatic drops slightly to 22/31/25 mpg. These figures are about average for the class.

Those looking for maximum miles per gallon can opt for the TDI model with its fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel, which produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual transmission (known as DSG). In Edmunds performance testing, the Passat TDI went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds -- this is on par with gasoline-powered four-cylinder sedans. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 31/43/35 for the manual and 30/40/34 with the DSG. In extensive Edmunds fuel economy testing, we've found that the Passat can easily surpass these numbers by 8-10 mpg.

If maximum thrust is what you're after, look no further than the 3.6L's 3.6-liter V6, which churns out 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds testing, this engine was able to bring the Passat from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds -- very quick for this class. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 20/28/23 mpg.


Standard safety features for the 2013 Volkswagen Passat include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Models with the manual transmission also gain hill-hold control. In the event of a crash, the Intelligent Crash Response automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers.

In government crash testing, the Passat scored a perfect five out of five stars overall, with five stars for frontal impact protection and five stars for side crash protection. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Passat its top score of "Good" for frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In Edmunds brake testing, both a Passat 3.6 SEL and TDI came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, which is longer than average. A 2.5 SE delivered a class-average 123 feet.


The 2013 Volkswagen Passat's character depends a great deal on which engine is under the hood. Performance and fuel economy from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder are adequate and it should be an acceptable choice for most buyers. Our recommendation, however, is the turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel, which offers livelier low-end power and truly extraordinary fuel economy. For those who care more about power than fuel economy, the 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers much more enthusiastic acceleration.

The DSG automated manual transmission that's available with the turbodiesel engine and standard with the V6 works well, though throttle response (with the DSG and the regular automatic) is rather lackadaisical, with a noticeable lag between the time the pedal is pressed and when the engine actually kicks in.

On the highway, the Passat is impressively comfortable, snuffing out bumps large and small. Around corners, the steering is reasonably precise, although it's numb on center and a tad heavy at low speeds. Overall, though, the Passat manages to earn high marks for the type of tasks for which family sedans are typically used.


Spaciousness is the operative word when describing the Passat's cabin. Space up front is good; however, the driver seat only adjusts in six ways (minus lumbar), and it lacks the seat-bottom tilt found in most competitors. In back, the Passat verges on full-size sedan dimensions, allowing even good-size adults to stretch out their legs. The backrest is too upright, however, which can result in taller occupants' heads grazing the roof. The spacious trunk can swallow 15.9 cubic feet of cargo -- a number that bests many of the Passat's competitors.

The quality of interior materials isn't as high as seen in previous Passats, but they remain among the best in the class, while the design adds an upscale feel. The layout of gauges and controls is also refreshingly simple. Finally, the premium Fender audio system has been tuned to the acoustics of the interior and will please even hard-core audiophiles.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 Volkswagen Passat.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

First VW, first diesel = Don't know why I waited!
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.
Compares with cars that cost $10K more!
V6 SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6AM)
**UPDATE** This is an update to my original review posted below. Now that I have owned the car 2 1/2 years I can offer a "post-honeymoon" perspective. Overall I have to say that I am VERY satisfied with this car. I have driven it hard in L.A. traffic everyday for over 2+ years and it is holding up well. Unless you have driven in this type of traffic you cannot appreciate how this can wear down a car. The V-6 has plenty of power when I need to pass and the wide wheel base makes for a comfortable ride. Having said this, there have been some issues along the way that were all covered by the warranty but I felt I should still mention them. I should also mention that I bought the car with 8K miles as a VW Certified Pre-Owned which extended the warranty up to 60,000 miles. 1. 18K Miles, Fuel Door Stuck - For some reason the fuel door would not unlock and I could not put gas in the car. VW roadside assistance towed the car to the dealer and provided a loaner while this was being fixed. 2. 56K Miles, Fuel Sensor - This caused the check engine light to come on and was affecting the car's acceleration. VW repaired it and provided a loaner car while it was being fixed. 3. 58K Miles, Nav/Entertainment System Replaced - The Nav system would sometimes shutoff and reboot itself for no reason. This was an ongoing problem that I complained about multiple times at the dealership. They could not duplicate the problem and thought a software update would solve it but it did not. I was able to video this happening once and took the car to a different dealer. After seeing the video, they immediately diagnosed it as a hard drive problem and replaced the entire unit. I have had no problems with it since then. The only issue that some people may not like is the system does not read your text messages in the 2013 and 2014 models. I thought this was odd since it does everything else but I don't really miss it, and it was corrected on the 2015 model. Overall I am still very satisfied with the car and will probably give it to my son when he gets his license next year. **ORIGINAL REVIEW** I just bought a top of the line V-6 SEL Premium and I am loving it. I was looking for a luxury sedan with reasonable gas mileage and had driven almost everything under $45K. I was prepared to get the Cadillac ATS 2.0T Luxury with an MSRP of about $44K. I leased a new Passat for my wife back in '02 and remembered it was a reliable car so I thought I would stop at the VW dealer on my way to get the Cadillac. Needless to say I never made it to the Caddy dealer. This car blew me away with it's price and performance. The ride and interior space is comparable to the Mercedes E350 or Acura RL. For less than the price of a base model Cadillac ATS, I was able to get a fully loaded Passat V-6 SEL.
Seriously Consider this Gem of A Sedan
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!
I booted my Audi A*L for this car!! I AM IN LOVE
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.

Features & Specs

30 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
140 hp @ 4000 rpm
30 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
140 hp @ 4000 rpm
22 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 5700 rpm
22 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat4 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.7%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2013 Volkswagen Passat

Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat Overview

The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat is offered in the following submodels: Passat Sedan, Passat Diesel. Available styles include TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Appearance (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), TDI SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan w/Appearance (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SEL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), Wolfsburg Edition PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), V6 SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (3.6L 6cyl 6AM), SEL Premium PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), V6 SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6AM), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), and V6 SE 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Navigation (3.6L 6cyl 6AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium is priced between $7,991 and$14,990 with odometer readings between 19561 and126007 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE is priced between $7,989 and$13,665 with odometer readings between 19602 and90793 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat SE PZEV is priced between $6,981 and$13,395 with odometer readings between 41227 and123908 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium PZEV is priced between $7,900 and$11,582 with odometer readings between 50894 and116355 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat S PZEV is priced between $7,844 and$10,998 with odometer readings between 74321 and77560 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat SE is priced between $8,988 and$8,988 with odometer readings between 79257 and79257 miles.

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Which used 2013 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) 2013 Volkswagen Passat for sale near. There are currently 171 used and CPO 2013 Passats listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,981 and mileage as low as 19561 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 2013 Volkswagen Passat.

Can't find a used 2013 Volkswagen Passats you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Passat for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $20,777.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $18,337.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Passat for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,208.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $9,717.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 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