December 2, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI was about a day away from ending its tenure in the fleet when I noticed it was nearly due for its 20,000-mile service. It didn't seem right to return the car to VW with dirty oil. It's sort of like borrowing a suit from a friend and not having it dry cleaned. Our fleet admiral, Mike Schmidt, made a call to get our loan extended by a few days so we could take care of the maintenance.
November 14, 2014
Finally, a car that my wife and I agree on: the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI.
Negotiations are ongoing in my home about a next-car for my wife and daughter, as they're both outgrowing a long-serving Honda Civic. The options have run the spectrum. I like the Honda minivan idea actually (last generation only), thinking it can serve a good second life as beach wagon after its useful service as mom-and-kid shuttle and road tripper. We haven't abandoned the idea, but it feels a little excessive.
November 10, 2014
The gasoline versus diesel question is one of those math problems that doesn't have a fixed answer. As of today our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI is beating the pants off the TDI version. But six months ago it was the other way around in my neck of the woods.
It all has to do with the relative price of the two fuels involved: 87-octane regular unleaded and low-sulfur diesel.
This week the national average price of regular unleaded fell to $2.98 per gallon. Diesel, on the other hand, currently sits at $3.60 per gallon. But the Passat TDI enjoys a substantial rated fuel economy advantage of 34 mpg versus 28 mpg combined for our TSI gasoline model, and the extra efficiency boils down to a net TDI savings of...
$10 per year.
The TDI version costs $2,100 more, so the TDI payback period currently stands at a somewhat discouraging 210 years. Perhaps you prefer to think in terms of miles driven because you drive more than the assumed 15,000 miles per year. Fair enough. At today's prices the TDI will start paying you back after a mere 3.16 million miles.
But the price relationship between gasoline and diesel is a stormy one, and one-size-fits-all national statistics don't mean much in the face of substantial regional price variations.
So here are a few more payback scenarios.
November 7, 2014
You're really getting your money's worth today. This is more than just an October fuel economy update for our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI long-term test car.
It's also a 20,000-mile milestone post.
Who'd have thought our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI would reach its 12-month mileage target with 4 weeks to spare? I'm not sure I would have taken that bet last November, especially since we had already been driving an identical silver TDI diesel version when this gasoline one arrived.
Turns out the Passat has endeared itself by being a capable family runabout and a credible highway cruiser. And it can be quite efficient if you put your mind to it, as Mike Monticello showed us last month.
October 20, 2014
How did the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI perform during the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's battery of crash tests?
October 17, 2014
After a fairly painless round of allergy testing, I learned that dust, and the dreaded dust mite, is my enemy.
"Get a new mattress," the ENT doc said. "Buy all new pillows, bedding — change everything you can associated with your bed."
October 15, 2014
Styling is subjective, I know that. But still, I'm struck by how handsome our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI is. To my eyes, it embodies a clean, neatly-tailored design reminiscent of its upscale Audi cousins. No exaggerated swoops along the body sides, no bulging headlights, no discordant taillights.
October 13, 2014
October 10, 2014
Don't scoff. This is one of the handiest features going today, one you don't often find in cars selling for $30,000. Heck, you don't find many in our fleet that offer this. You can find express-down front windows all day long, sometimes express-down front and rear windows. But our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI has one-touch windows front and rear, up and down.
October 9, 2014
Day 4: Willcox, Arizona to Lake Forest, California, 571 miles.
Another early morning wake-up call on my Texas Road Trip. Partially because, once again, I wanted to get in a run before I hit the road in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI, and partially because I wanted to get home at a reasonable hour to get some things done.
Arizona had gotten some rain the day before, and the sky was full of leftover clouds for a cool-looking sunrise. It also helped my mood that I found a much nicer backroad to run on near my hotel, kind of off in the country, than I had on my trip over in New Mexico. I'm telling you, I'm loving this early-morning run thing on road trips. Even if it means sacrificing 45 minutes or so of sleep.
I took a slightly different route home to California than I had to Texas.
October 8, 2014
How boring, I mean efficient, was he?
October 2, 2014
Day 3: Austin, Texas to Willcox, Arizona, 805 miles.
With the 2015 Audi S3 press event over and done in Austin, I wasn't as constrained by time commitments for the homeward-bound portion of the Texas Road Trip. That meant I could sleep in a little bit and go for a relaxing (albeit hot and muggy) run down by the Colorado River. I was on the road by 9:45 a.m., earlier than Day 1's 1:30 p.m., more civilized than Day 2's 6:30 a.m. wheels-up time.
Plus, I knew I would have time changes on my side heading west in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI.
October 1, 2014
Day 2: Deming, New Mexico to Austin, Texas, 681 miles.
Something I haven't done on previous multi-day road trips, but that I wanted to try with this one, was to go for a run each morning before I hit the road in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI. There were a couple of reasons for this: First, I don't eat particularly well on the road, so the running partially makes up for it. Second, exercise is a good way to wake the ol' bod up first thing.
So, around 5:30 in the morning there I was, running in the rain in the dark on an access road next to Interstate 10 in New Mexico. Got soaked, but it was worth it. Felt good.
September 30, 2014
Day 1: Lake Forest, California to Deming, New Mexico, 688 miles.
I needed to get to Austin, Texas for the press launch of the 2015 Audi S3. Here at Edmunds we have a bunch of long-term cars, so it was decided I would drive instead of taking the easy way and flying.
Edmunds car czar, Mike Schmidt, said our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI was most in need of some mileage lovin' (my words, not his), so that's what I took on my road trip.
Now, because I'm awesome (and by that I mean I'm about as far from awesome as you can get), I left, oh, about three-and-a-half hours later than intended. It's kinda my thing.
September 26, 2014
The odometer clicked past the 15,000-mile mark on our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI. The car continues to put those miles on without any mechanical hassles.
Also, our lifetime fuel economy has increased to 27.2 mpg.
So, what to do next?
September 24, 2014
Since we took delivery of our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI back in December, it has performed the regular commuting duties with little or no fuss. Our VW has also undertaken a few moderate road trips and hauling duties, you know typical sedan stuff. It has served us as well as any other midsized family sedan in this capacity. It also went to our test track.
The big news with this 2014 Passat isn't its ability to hold five people pretty comfortably, we knew it did that. The interesting bit is actually its new 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline motor that pumps out 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
How'd it do?
September 22, 2014
The remote start system on our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat is annoying.
It starts the car, no problem. If you've got the air-conditioning or the heater on when you turn the car off, those things kick in and can help get the car ready for your journey, but there is one major, glaring annoyance.
September 10, 2014
It's almost an automotive cliché that German cars are "solid," that they deliver a certain gravity of sensory experience that other sedans don't always deliver.
It's the trunk thunk, the door close, the steering wheel feel, the buttons, dials and controls. All those little details add up to the feeling of a well-built car.
September 4, 2014
In August, we drove our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI about 1,700 miles and averaged 28.2 mpg. It wasn't as busy as July for the silver sedan, when we added 3,200 miles to the odometer, but we still drove the Passat up to central California for a weekend and on a day trip out the farther reaches of Los Angeles County.
August 21, 2014
It's been years since I've visited Six Flags Magic Mountain, but the impending closure of one of its most famous roller coasters meant I felt compelled to make the trip. The coaster-heavy theme park was about to retire Colossus, the wooden behemoth that, to me, served as Magic Mountain's mascot. I needed something comfortable for the long ride to and from Valencia, so I grabbed the keys to our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI for the weekend and drove up on a Saturday.
August 13, 2014
In reading through previous entries in this blog for our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI, I noticed that my colleague Mike Monticello found the front seats to be marvelous for someone with his trim frame but wondered how a wide-bodied driver would do.
Much as I hate to admit it, I'm fairly wide-bodied at 6'2" and 238 pounds. And I can provide an answer.
August 5, 2014
It's been a busy month for our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI, 3,222 miles in several long road trips, the most miles in any month since we got the silver sedan.
That's probably why this also was one of the VW's best months ever for fuel efficiency.
August 4, 2014
My teenage son and I visited my mom up in the Bay Area last weekend. I was lucky enough to take our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI. I say lucky because the more time I spend in the Passat, the more I like it.
July 28, 2014
After staying in Chandler, Arizona for the night, it was off to Nissan's proving grounds in Stanfield the next morning to get some background information on the 2015 Nissan Murano.
July 25, 2014
Driving the miles and miles of desert highway from southern California to Nissan's proving grounds near Phoenix, Arizona gave me much time to consider the front seats in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI.
July 24, 2014
Just as with our 5,000-mile update, it's continued to be smooth sailing, mechanically, up to the 10,000-mile mark for the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI.
July 23, 2014
Could you sense a tinge of sarcasm in that headline exclamation point? No? Well, it was there.
Not that there's anything wrong with Phoenix, Arizona, but this hotbed of desert heat is far from my first destination choice. Especially in the middle of summer.
July 21, 2014
In my last update, I showed you everything my family of four put in the trunk of Edmunds' long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI for our extended weekend with friends in Mammoth Lakes, California.
You already know that the Passat's trunk performed admirably. But what about the passenger compartment?
July 18, 2014
I rarely notice a car door. Unless something is glaringly wrong like a super loud squeak or a handle not working, I don't pay attention to the door when I'm getting in or out of a car. Done it too many times to even notice I'm doing it. So when I got out of our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI this weekend, I was surprised to have the door catch my attention.
July 17, 2014
Say you and your spouse have two smallish kids. Let's also say you two crazy lovebirds decide to take your smallish kids on a summer road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California (approximately 300 miles away from your home), to meet up with two other families and do fun summer lake stuff together for a four-day weekend.
And suppose you had also recently purchased a 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI as your family car because you feel that a midsize sedan — and the Passat specifically — is the best choice for your family, as it serves your needs perfectly 95 percent of the time, is easy to park, has a massive trunk (pictured) and looks good. Great reasons. You don't like crossovers, SUVs, minivans and wagons. You like to drive a sedan. I feel ya. Rock on, sedan-lover.
(Note from the writer: My husband and I have not recently purchased a Passat. We drove Edmunds' long-term Passat TSI for this road trip, but that tidbit didn't fit in with my pastoral about this fictitious family.)
Now let's look at how you might fit all the stuff that a family of four with two smallish children needs for an extended weekend road trip in summertime Mammoth.
July 10, 2014
I like to drive each of our long-term cars into the hills of nearby Palos Verdes to judge how easy or difficult they find the climb.
July 09, 2014
I parked our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI in my driveway this weekend. I live on a hill near the Pacific Ocean where the sun beats down heating things up pretty darn good. Whenever I get into a car during daylight hours, the interior is hot.
July 07, 2014
My family and I just got back from a road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California. The full story of that trip and our experiences in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI will have to wait for another update (or two); this post is all about the car's fuel economy over the last month.
July 1, 2014
A long commute to work means I spend a large amount of time listening to terrestrial and satellite radio. I have begun to appreciate the logic of radio presets in cars like our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI. I like how FM, AM, and SiriusXM channels can be programmed all on the same list of presets.
June 13, 2014
Most of the trim on our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI is well built from high-quality materials, but this piece isn't. It's the mounting surface around the fuel filler neck. Instead of being made of sheet metal or hard plastic, it's a strange flimsy rubber. It flexes and bends under the weight of the fuel nozzle, which disengages the fuel pump's automatic-fill-latch-thingy, and makes for an annoying fuel stop.
June 5, 2014
Back in March, we set a new low for fuel economy in our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI at 21.1 mpg. In May that figure dropped even lower to our worse tank yet, just 18.7 mpg.
With our best fill holding at 33 mpg, our new lifetime average for the car is now less than 26 mpg, or 2 mpg lower than the EPA's combined city/highway rating of 28 mpg.
May 28, 2014
After about 30 minutes of working just fine, the Bluetooth streaming in our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI decided to stop playing music and start playing a single, high-pitched tone at stupid-high volume.
Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?
May 23, 2014
I find the audio interface in our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI very easy to use. The simple design and logical button layout makes navigating it a breeze. And I welcome the inherent element of customization this system offers.