2016 Volkswagen Passat Review
Pros & Cons
- Roomy cabin
- refined and quiet ride
- powerful and fuel-efficient engines
- top safety scores.
- Touchscreen is smaller than most competitors
- sluggish response from DSG transmission
- fuel-efficient diesel option on hold until emissions issues can be worked out.
List Price Range
$9,995 - $16,900
Used Passat for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I keep my cars 15 to 20 years. So quick study isn't my thing...but that's what you go on when you buy newer and own them for decades. I looked at all the usual suspects in the mid sized / mid priced (like 30K is cheap?) segment. For the record, I drive a 2008 FORD Focus and a 1999 E320 Mercedes so I'm shooting for ONE car that jams those two together into a single package. [HTML content removed] The 2016 PASSAT meets or exceeds my E320 in actual space and blows it away in efficiency. It's darn near what my 2008 FOCUS reaches (The FOCUS is a LIGHT 2600 pound car that gets 36-37 MPG average) in mileage!! User reports from doubting Thomas's (I was, too!) report 35 MPG in real world use. So this car meets the requirement of a cost effective well built car that gets decent mileage. I didn't need more power than the E320 had, but actually wanted better economy and GOOD power. This engine delivers. Drive one, you'll see. The styling is a stark RELIEF to the catfish mouthed and insect derived massive black plastic front ends of today's me too cars. Old fashioned you say? My E320 is 17 years old and still looks sharp as ever and the PASSAT will age just as well. A legacy SEDAN greenhouse shape, not coupe with four doors (see the CC model) is great to drive and live with. Four minutes into the test drive it felt like I owned the car forever. The steering is light but the car is tightly buttoned down offsetting this some. It tracks superbly, too. So it gets tighter as you speed-up but this car is intended to not be "heavy" handed. Why people insist on a sports car attribute across the board when this is a SEDAN I'll never know. Sports cars are occasion cars, this is an every day car. Quiet as my E320, wow. - The brakes are slightly odd, in that the pedal is initially soft but has a good deal of bite, then they quickly firm-up and respond to increased pedal PRESSURE, not movement. They don't droop to the floor, however, but just have some initial softness. I'm used to older cars with far less brake circuitry stealing away some tactile feel. - The 6-speed torque converter trans. shifts well, but DOES go to the highest gear as you lift off the pedal. And, it will hunt for the highest gear sooner the lighter you use the pedal. SPORT mode makes it easier to keep it pulling smoothly. This isn't the touted Dual Clutch, and doesn't have problems common to DCT, either. 38 MPG and 25 MPG in town say it's still efficient. - The interior of a car should be nice, and also easy to keep clean. Doors that open into the rain and snow should NOT be covered in material that stains (cloth, suede, ETC) in my book. A-pillars and B-pillars should also be easy to clean as these are natural grab handles for dirty hands. I like the PASSATs choice of high grade vinyl or TPE (it is hard to tell if it is a TEP or TPR) as it is good feeling yet easy to clean. This is a car, it will get dirty! Let me clean it please...and yes they did. - Seating is excellent minus the ability to tip the seat bottom cushion up or down. But, the angle is correct as is and few will really see need to move it. If you do, you can't. The steering wheel has more than ample up-down and in-out to suit even my 4'8" wife's reach. This car as a good range of fit for about any driver. - The new electronic dash is nice but better yet, the HVAC are still DIALS and BUTTONS! YA! so quick get in and go on cold mornings is easy. The secondary controls are touch screen items. There are a series of buttons on the side of the display that get you close to where you need to go, too. This is a very good "hybrid" execution. Not too much in the way of buttons (crowded dash) and not too few (clean but hard to use / navigate). My premium model has the FENDER that is well rated. - I'm not a fan of the bigger wheel, that I thing are stupid on an every day car. They are heavier, more prone to damage and expensive for what? Slightly better racer boy response (seldom) and looks (mostly). Count me out, I think that the 17" 55 series wheels are far more realistic in everyday use. Far cheaper, wear longer and better riding. Oh, huge 15.9 foot cubed trunk and 18,5 gallon tank.
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
My decision to buy this car began in January 2016 when I went to the midlands international auto show and looked at pretty much every car they had there. When considering all factors, including price, the VW Passat was my favorite car there (granted I didn't test drive any at the time). I noticed right away the attention to detail in the design without trying to over-design like many of the competitors. Just compare, for example, the taillight on the passat to the "lego" pieces other cars are using. I thought the Passat looked very well thought out, classy, and something that will still look good in 15 years. The cabin felt roomy, seats comfortable, and outward visibility quite good. Fast forward to May, a local dealership had an offer too good to pass up so I decided to take one for a test drive and absolutely loved it. I went with the R-Line and think it looks better than my 2014 mazda6, which I traded in to get it. The ride quality is nice, even with the low profile tires. I love having dual climate control and a backup camera standard. I also love that the max torque from the engine comes at 1500 rpm and remains until 4700 rpm, so the power feels adequate for most of the driving anyone would need to do (most people keep engine under 3500 rpm the majority of the time). The transmission is programmed for economy so expect it to feel like it is 1 gear too high on occasion, however, it is very responsive when needed. I also learned from the sales guy that VW uses new metal for the body panels with wax in between seams, rather than recycled metal. This is important because it will be much less prone to rust. It is also nice that oil changes are every 10,000 miles. As far as dislikes, I wish the remote starter was a little more affordable for lower trim levels. Otherwise, no complaints other than the fact that my wife gets to drive it instead of me :) . I can't comment on reliability, however, given the price they sell for I can afford a couple repairs along the way and still be quite pleased with it overall. I plan to keep this car a long time. **Update - I replaced the OEM tires with Pirelli Cinturato P7 All season tires and the ride quality is even better with very little road noise. Been averaging about 30 mpg in mixed driving. ***2 year update - very minor coolant leak at a hose connection covered under warranty. No other issues and wife still loves the car.
SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This will be a short testimonial. My brother has a 2014 Passat and I liked it. So I was out one day with no intention on buying a car. But I passed a VW dealer and thought I would stop in just to browse. I insisted several times to the salesman that I was just killing time. He told me it didn't matter that he was willing have me do a test ride on a new 2016 Passat SEL Premium that just came in. When I found out that it had a 1.8 T engine I wasn't interested. He insisted that I would be surprised. After much prompting from him, having nothing else to do that day I took it for a spin. I was driving a 2.0 T Saab at the time and the Passat engine had more torque. The fit and finish and quality materials were as good as most entry level premium brands if not better. And this vehicle has every creature comfort and safety feature as standard. Its trunk is very big, has a spare tire (donut), leather seats and the back seat legroom is unbelievable. It wasn't that difficult to get the price down to $30,000. This truly was an offer I could not refuse. I had a 2014 loaded up Volvo s60 for 2 years that had a negotiated price of $44,000. The Volvo had no spare, small trunk and little backseat legroom. If anyone is considering an entry level premium brand they should take a serious look at the "pedestrian" VW Passat. They will be shocked at what they will discover. As an update to this original review . . . After 9500 miles I am still extremely happy with the Passat. No problems. Routinely get 37 mpg on trips. And let me emphasize that this model has navigation, upgraded Fender sound system, lane assist, blind side warning, adaptive cruise control and park assist that includes self parking function. And additional features that you would expect on a premium vehicle but at a "pedestrian" price.
S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I rented this car from Hertz for 2 weeks and drove over 6,000 miles from Seattle to Anchorage and all throughout the interior of Alaska. What a pleasant surprise. I am sold and would love to buy one. I put this car through hell and back with all of the tough terrain on the Alaska Highway, Denali National Park, etc... The thing that amazed me most was the gas mileage. To my great surprise, I averaged 40 MPG with about 70% highway miles. The car performed flawlessly through all types of terrain and was very comfortable to drive.