This Volkswagen Passat video review includes information about each trim, including the S, SE, SEL, as well as its 1.8T, V6 and TDI engines. We cover fuel economy, price, comfort, interior space, equipment and competitors. For more information, read the 2014 Volkswagen Passat Review.
The Volkswagen Passat is the only European family sedan sold here in the States, but it's not as European as you might think. It certainly looks the part, and goes down the highway with that solid Autobahn feel. It's even offered with a diesel engine. But from there, it gets a little more red, white and blue.
To begin with, it's built in Tennessee, which definitely isn't in Europe. More importantly, though, the Passat is enormous. The back seat has abundant room for adults or rear facing child seats, and the trunk is bigger than most competitors'.
Then, there's the price. Unlike past expensive Passats, this one lines up closely with other family sedans in terms of getting more equipment for your money. Now, you can't get quite as much equipment as some competitors offer, especially certain advanced entertainment and safety features.
Also, that lower price goes along with materials quality and construction that isn't as good as past Volkswagens, nor even rivals like the Ford Fusion.
The engines are also in line with American tastes. It's possible you'll find a Passat on a dealer lot with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, but we'd avoid that, as VW is phasing it out in favor of an excellent 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It's an energetic engine with good fuel economy.
There are two other engines. If you want more power, there's the 280-hp V6. If you want hybrid-rivaling efficiency, there's the turbodiesel TDI model. It gets even better fuel economy than the EPA estimates and it's the one we'd choose.
All families, American or not, should appreciate the five-star government crash rating.
Regardless of its nationality, the VW Passat slots in just below our top-rated family sedans: the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, as well as the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6. Each is a little better to drive and well rounded. On the other hand, only the Mazda can compete with that diesel engine.