2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI Long-Term Road Test | Wrap-Up

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI Long-Term Road Test

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Read the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI's introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.

See all of the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI's long-term updates.

What We Got
When the Passat TSI joined us, we already had a Passat TDI active in our long-term test fleet. With the exception of its engine, we loaded up the new Volkswagen to mirror its diesel counterpart. The result was a 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI SEL Premium with an MSRP of $31,715.

2014 Volkswagen Passat

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It had numerous options, most notably the latest 1.8-liter turbo inline-4 engine. Rated at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the updated 1.8-liter engine is slated for use in various Volkswagen products. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard. Other features included a sunroof, 18-inch wheels, touchscreen interface with navigation, eight-way-adjustable driver seat, remote start and leather interior.


  • "Around town, our Passat TSI SEL 1.8 feels suitably quick when you press on the gas pedal. That impression is backed up by our track testing, where we recorded a 0-60-mph sprint of 7.7 seconds compared to 9.0 seconds with the 2.5. There isn't any lag or hesitation at low idle, and the engine feels smooth and strong all the way to redline." — Brent Romans

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

  • "In our two VW Passats, the brake pedal is soft, almost squishy, and actual braking response is lazy in those first few millimeters of pedal travel. Press harder and you eventually get the requested slowing, but it comes on abruptly because the pedal feel is so vague." — Erin Riches


  • "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." — Dan Edmunds

  • "The total length of the trip to Texas rang up at 2,745 miles, gas station to gas station in Lake Forest, California. Fuel economy for the trip came in with an average of 31.9 mpg. The best distance on one tank was 513.4 miles." — Mike Monticello


  • "I found the driver seat had just the right level of firmness, and the seatback envelops me. So I feel like I'm sitting more in the seat than on it. I'm not sure how this would be for wider folks. The suede inserts add to the comfort, especially for those of us who wear shorts until it gets below 35 degrees, which it never does here in SoCal." — Mike Monticello

  • "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. They do just fine. I've got a lower back issue, and just traveled 842 miles in the Passat.... I found the front buckets comfortable and supportive and didn't have to spend the drive squirming around trying to ease a backache. I never got a backache." — John O'Dell

Cargo Space

  • "The typical routine is to lower the roller-bag's telescoping handle before hoisting it into the trunk. With the 2014 VW Passat's generously proportioned cargo hold, that's not necessary. So large is the 15.9-cubic-foot trunk that what normally looks like a lot of stuff looks almost silly in there." — Chris Walton

  • "Oh yeah, the bike fits. Lengthwise, no less. The scooter and the helmet fit, too. There's even enough room for the kid that rides that stuff, but we don't put her back there too often. OK, so it's a kid's bike with 16-inch wheels. That isn't too demanding on cargo space. The trunk on our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI is still ginormous." — Dan Frio


  • "I've driven our Passat several times, but until recently, I'd never been in the backseat.... It turns out that the backseat of this Passat is seriously roomy. My knees had plenty of real estate to spare. There were several inches of leftover legroom and more than enough headroom for someone of my average stature." — Travis Langness

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

  • "So how do rear-seat passengers fare with a child seat installed in the center position? It's tight. But both outboard safety belts are fully accessible. Two midsize adults wouldn't complain over short distances." — Mike Schmidt

Audio and Technology

  • "If you need to charge your iPhone, you're golden... There's a dedicated plug right there in the center console. If you want to plug in an MP3 player, there's a port for that, too. You want to charge your non-Apple phone? Fat chance, as there's not a USB port to be found anywhere.... Luckily, it's an easy problem to fix. I just used a cigarette lighter adapter to turn one of the 12V outlets into a USB port. Total cost: $1.50." — Ed Hellwig

  • "I find the audio interface in our Passat very easy to use. The simple design and logical button layout makes navigating it a breeze. And I welcome the inherent element of customization it offers. Not all manufacturers utilize redundant controls on their radio head units. Volkswagen does.... The execution of the system is not perfect. There is occasionally a delay between press and response when using the touchscreen. Redundant buttons don't have the same hesitation, which in my mind, almost makes it forgivable." — Mike Schmidt


  • "The 20,000-mile service calls for an oil change with synthetic oil, tire rotation, a cabin filter replacement and the usual inspections. A couple of hours after I dropped the car off, I received a phone call from the service advisor, saying it was ready. The parts and labor were covered under Volkswagen's Carefree Maintenance program." — Ron Montoya

  • "Toward the end of my four-day Texas road trip, I noticed the steering wheel was slightly off-center. When driving straight down the road, the wheel is turned slightly left while the car pulls slightly to the right if you let go of the wheel. As a general rule, though, don't let go of the wheel. An alignment is in order." — Mike Monticello


  • "I recently volunteered to indebt myself to a bank for far, far too long. But driving the Passat on the multiple fact-finding missions toward this end somewhat alleviated this grim prospect. The Passat feels like an adult's car. The mute and weighted door closing, the cabin's clean horizontal lines and amenities, the easy phone and media interface: It all makes the Passat feel like a car to get things done. Even the chrome door sill whispers achievement." — Dan Frio

  • "Styling is subjective, I know that. But still, I'm struck by how handsome our Passat 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." — John DiPietro

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
The Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance plan covers all routine maintenance for three years and 36,000 miles. Based on the prescribed 10,000-mile service intervals, we saw the dealer with 10K and 20K on the odometer. We paid nothing for either visit.

Service Campaigns:
Software update 24AE 2013-11-12 and campaign 97AO 2014-05-01 were the only repairs beyond normal maintenance during our test. 24AE was an ECM/TCM reflash. 97AO involved installation of updated washers and caps for the fuse box.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates for the Passat were 28 mpg combined (24 city and 34 highway). We averaged 28 mpg over the term of our test. We achieved 36.5 mpg on our best single tank. The longest single-tank range was 513 miles.

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

Resale and Depreciation:
Our Passat TSI SEL Premium had an MSRP of $31,715. After one year and 21,050 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the VW at $23,696 based on a private-party sale. This 25 percent depreciation is about average. For comparison, the value of our recent 2013 Passat TDI dropped 26 percent with similar wear and mileage.

Summing Up

Pros: Solid performance and mileage from four-cylinder engine, spacious rear seat, expansive trunk, front seat fits wide range of drivers and remains comfortable on long drives, 500-plus-mile fuel range, free scheduled maintenance.

Cons: Touchy brake pedal makes it hard to slow down smoothly, delayed reactions from dashboard touchscreen, no USB port, hinges intrude into trunk when lid is closed.

Bottom Line: The Passat is a classic family sedan with plenty of room inside, a huge trunk, solid fuel mileage, excellent range and user-friendly controls. Other than its touchy brake pedal and slow-to-react navigation system, we found few faults with this midsize family sedan.

Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: None (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: ECM/TCM software update, install fuse box washers and caps
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Best Fuel Economy: 36.5 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 18.7 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 28.0 mpg
True Market Value at service end: $23,696 (private-party sale)
Depreciation: $8,019 (25% of original MSRP)
Final Odometer Reading: 21,050 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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