I recently leased a 2017 Passat R-Line and I have to say I am surprised by how good it is. I'm pretty OCD and normally take a long time and make careful decisions. I cross-shopped it with other mid-size sedans, mainly the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion. Basically I rented or test drove all the main mid-sizers except the Subaru Legacy. In terms of handling, the Passat is middling. It is a bit bouncy and feels just a bit floaty at high speeds (over 80 mph, which is normal speed on SoCal freeways when not congested). Of all of them, the best driving were the Mazda 6, Ford Fusion, and Honda Accord, followed by the Malibu, Optima and Passat, with the Sonata bringing up the rear. In terms of comfort, however, by far the most comfortable was the Passat, both for the front seats and especially the crazy large backseats. It also feels very airy and the sight lines are very good (except to the direct rear, where high back headrests intrude a little). The little 1.8 liter turbo engine is a champ. It felt at least as powerful as the base engines in the other mid-sizers, and more powerful than some. Yeah, its 170 horsepower doesn't sound very impressive, but its 184 lb ft of torque is always there and gives really good oomph. I will check mpg when I've had it for longer. In terms of technology and infotainment, I would say the Passat ranks pretty well, but is not the best. The R-Line has the key safety features I was looking for: Wide angle rear camera, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitor, and forward collision alert with emergency braking. The one feature it is missing which I wanted was adaptive cruise control - I would have needed to go up to the SE With Technology for that (I think Edmunds lists it in the normal SE, which seems to be a rare error by Edmunds). One possible safety issue: The headlights aren't the best. I have the halogens - the LED headlights are supposed to be a bit better, but mine doesn't have them. I can see fine with the halogens, but they aren't very bright and some people might wish for more brightness. In terms of looks, I would say the Passat is attractive from all angles, especially the back and side, although I think looks are really a matter of personal taste. Trunk space is very good - 15.9 cubic feet, and the space is very functional, plus the rear seats fold down 60/40. The main reason I chose the Passat was that, looked at as a whole package, I felt better about it than any of the others. It just feels extremely easy to live with, and also feels like a premium car but at a lower price than others on this list. There is nothing it doesn't do well, and some things it does great (did I mention the huge open airy comfortable cabin? Let me mention it again). Plus the dealership (Mossy VW in Escondido, CA) was more willing to work with me than other dealers. So I drove off with what I felt was the best car of the bunch, at the lowest price of the bunch, what's not to like? It's too new to give any reliability impressions - I might do that after I've had more time with the car.
I had been looking for a new car for months and was thinking Audi or Lexus. I preferred German engineering over all else as I used to own a BMW 328i but decided to sell it before major repairs became a common place situation. I went to my local VW dealer and saw the R Line in Black and realized I preferred the look of this car over the new A4. Took it for a test drive and fell in love. I don't know how the specifications are so low on the engine, 170 HP and 184 ft lb torque when it feels like it pulls like a much higher engine. I was extremely impressed by the package and with the incentive, acquired the car for slightly over $22k. Insane value. After the past few days I am in love. It's quiet, perky, handles extremely well, fuel efficient and beautiful to look at and sit in. I think VW really has a winner with this one. I look forward to owning this car for awhile.
The R-line has a beautiful sporty design compared to the base S model. The 19in aluminum alloy wheels are stylish and really grip the road allowing for great tight handling; and the R-line's cabin is quiet even with the larger tires. Combined MPG is higher than EPA estimates of city/hwy 23/34, I'm currently getting about 31.5 (half hwy, half city). What makes the Passat R-line stand above it's competitors is it's technology and low price. The central info-entertainment system is far superior to it's competitors including the Camry, Optima, Legacy, and Madza 6. Also, it comes in a few thousand below the base prices of several of its competitors, making it an affordable yet very reliable option. As an added plus is the size of the cabin. It's huge compared to other midsize sedans. Overall, very impressive for a vehicle in the low 20s.
Passat R-Line best value midsize sedan you can buy
written on 11-07-2017
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I bought this car on Father's Day this year as a replacement for my family's 3rd car. The idea was that my 3 high schoolers would use this car. However, as soon as my wife saw the car and drove it, she claimed it as hers and passed her car down to the kids. The R-Line looks so much better than any other trim. The front fascia is formidable. Especially our white R-Line with the black and chrome trim. Add to that the standard 19" wheels and you've got yourself an awesome looking car. This is not quite an Audi A6 but then again, I got this car for about $19,500 (sticker price was over $26,500; I got exactly 25% off) . Amazing, amazing, amazing. Best features: incredible gas mileage. When driving by myself I get 32-35 MPG in mostly suburban driving. Of course if you are a more aggressive driver, I'm sure you can do much worse. The automatic transmission can be put in S-mode for Sport and this really brings the car alive with much shorter shift cycles. The 19" low profile tires give the car a very sporty feel with great grip. Of course this also means a slightly less comfortable ride on bumpy roads. The back seat of this car offers leg room that is unheard of. I'm 6'2" with long legs and I still have about 4" of space in front of my knees. Overall the cabin space in this car is impressive. Standard on the R-Line is perforated faux leather, which is very nice and easy to clean. The R-Line offers Apple Carplay and Android Auto standard. Once you experience this great feature, you would never want to buy a car again without this feature (Toyota/Lexus is the ONLY manufacturer to flat out refuse to offer this on their new cars; however, that will resolve itself next year when they realize how this stubbornness is going to cost them a boat load of sales....). Use your phone's map feature as your always up-to-date and free GPS, listen to incoming texts and send out replies hands-free, totally voice activated. Fantastic. Heated seats are standard, this is a feature I will not have to use here in the tropical climate in Southwest Florida. Still nice to have for road trips up North. Great dual zone climate control, however, the rear of the car only has vents under the front seats, not in the center console. Definitely a negative. As a matter of fact, there basically is nothing in the rear center console, so also no additional USB outlets. Another negative for sure. All-in-all, I still cannot believe that I bought this fabulous car for under $20,000. And just to reiterate, this car was built in Volkswagen's brand new state-of-the-art plant in Chattanooga TN, not in Mexico (after having owned a few Mexico built VWs in the past, I will stay clear of those. I can still easily pick them out on the road. They are the VWs with only one headlight working....). The build quality of the car seems top notch. The hood and doors, trunk all fit very tightly. I did not test drive Camry, Accord, Mazda 6 or Hyundai/Kia competitors, but I don't think anyone can better the value of this Passat R-Line. That's my bottom line.
Simply best in its segment. Test driven many competitors, but VW PASSAT definitely stands out. Excellent handling and brakes, awesome road experience, quality interior, great infotainment system, catchy design (I leased the R-Line model), and many more. Definitely recommend this car, especially with current deals from Volkswagen.