2017 Volkswagen Passat Review

2017 Volkswagen Passat
List price range
$9,650 - $17,950
2017 Volkswagen Passat

Pros & Cons

  • Big, easily loaded trunk
  • Roomy backseat even for a midsize sedan
  • Refined highway ride
  • quiet cabin
  • Small infotainment touchscreens
  • Transmission's sluggish responses
  • Less engaging driving experience than many rivals

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat is a bit like the wise, elder statesman of the midsize sedan class. Indeed, VW has been selling the current-generation Passat since the 2012 model year, and every rival sedan has been redesigned in that time. Still, the Passat gets a lot right, particularly for the things that most shoppers are looking for.

True, this is a sedan to get if you're not interested in flash and flare. With reserved but classy styling, the Passat has a pretty timeless look to it. But it's a comfortable family shuttle thanks to its roomy backseat, big trunk and easy-to-drive nature. Highway manners are excellent, too. It rides smoothly, the cabin keeps out most of the wind and road noise, and the front seats should keep you comfy on a long road trip. VW gives you a solid set of features for the money, too.

The Passat shows its age in some areas, however. Its fuel economy and infotainment systems, in particular, aren't as good as what you'll find in rival sedans. For example, check out the 2017 Ford Fusion and the 2017 Honda Accord. Both have powerful optional engines and are more fun to drive but are still quite comfortable and fuel-efficient. We're also fond of the sporty-looking Mazda 6 and the well-rounded Hyundai Sonata. Still, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat, grayed at the temples as it may be, is a likable choice, particularly if comfort is a priority.

Standard safety features for the 2017 Volkswagen Passat include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. Optional safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a lane departure warning system.

VW's optional Car-Net telematics system includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location, speed alerts and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers).

In government crash testing, the Passat scored five out of five stars overall, with four stars for front-impact protection and five for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Passat its top score of Good in all tests, including the small-overlap and moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Passat 3.6 SEL came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, which is longer than average. However, a 1.8 SEL stopped in a class average 123 feet.

2017 Volkswagen Passat models

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat Sedan is offered in four main trim levels: S, R-Line, SE and SEL Premium.

The base S comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, height-adjustable front seats (with two-way manual lumbar adjustment for the driver), 60/40-split folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a collision mitigation system with automating braking, a 5-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The R-Line adds 19-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with shift paddles), an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, imitation-leather upholstery, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, HD and satellite radio, VW's Car-Net smartphone integration (includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink), blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and unique R-Line styling elements.

The SE adds the features from the R-Line (minus R-specific styling and the large wheels) and further adds 17-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a sliding front armrest, rear air vents and added Car-Net functionality. The SE's optional Technology package gets you 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, foglights, automatic wipers, a hands-free trunk opener with foot sensor, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, remote ignition, heated rear seats, a navigation system, an eight-speaker sound system and an upgraded version of Car-Net.

The SEL Premium takes the features from the SE with Technology package and adds power-folding mirrors, an eight-way power passenger seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, an automated parallel-parking feature, leather upholstery, a premium Fender audio system, a separate ski pass-through for the 60/40-split rear seats and a lane departure warning system.

A Lighting Package is optional for the R-Line and SE and comes standard on the SE with Technology and SEL Premium. It includes the foglights and LED headlights and taillights.

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat is front-wheel-drive and is available with one of two engines: a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.6-liter V6. The four-cylinder is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, and the V6 is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic (known as DSG).

All trim levels come standard with the turbocharged four-cylinder, which is rated at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, a Passat with this engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a relatively quick 7.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 1.8-liter stand at 27 mpg combined combined (23 city/34 highway), which is a bit behind the segment average.

The 3.6-liter V6 is available on the SE and SEL Premium trim levels, and it produces 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, a Passat with the 3.6-liter V6 made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. It's rated at 23 mpg in combined driving (20 city/28 highway).


Though both available engines in the 2017 Volkswagen Passat are worth considering, most people will be satisfied with the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder. It's quick compared to rivals and offers decent fuel economy. Unfortunately, the gas pedal's responsiveness is sluggish in the default setting. You can switch to Sport mode, but then it feels too jumpy. The 3.6-liter V6 makes for better acceleration, but fuel economy falls behind class leaders. Its transmission has delayed shift responses, too, and it's a bit clunky with gear choice at slow speeds.

Regardless of engine choice, the Passat is quiet and comfortable around town and on the highway. Steering is generally precise, but this isn't the car we'd recommend if you're looking for a sporty driving experience. It's a bit more relaxed and reserved, which may or may not be your preference.


One of the most inviting parts of the 2017 Volkswagen Passat is its reserved yet classy interior. Cabin materials are excellent, and the cabin layout is, as you'd expect from the German automaker, logical and simple. Competition is stiff in the family sedan segment, but the Passat still retains a vibe of simplicity and functionality that borders on luxurious. In contrast to that upscale interior feel, though, are the infotainment screens. Neither the base unit nor the upgraded 6.3-inch screen is very big, and graphics resolution isn't going to wow you. Still, they're easy to operate, and the robust suite of smartphone integration is certainly welcome.

We like the Passat's front seats, finding them properly bolstered and comfortable for almost any driver. Legroom is generous in the backseat, which means a comfortable fit for most adults and plenty of room for rear-facing child safety seats. The Passat is about tied with class leaders for trunk space at 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space. The trunk opening is large, and the 60/40-split rear seats mean plenty of space for larger items.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Volkswagen Passat.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Surprisingly Good
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
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.
Best in Class
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
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.
Passat R-Line best value midsize sedan you can buy
Andre Arensman,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. Update after 10,000 miles: No problems to report, still very happy! Update 11/2019 after 25,000 miles. No problems to report, still very happy!
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
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.

Features & Specs

23 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6200 rpm
23 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6200 rpm
23 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6200 rpm
23 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6200 rpm
See all Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.7%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2017 Volkswagen Passat
Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat Overview

The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat is offered in the following submodels: Passat Sedan. Available styles include R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SE w/Technology 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), V6 SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6AM), and V6 SE w/Technology 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line is priced between $10,949 and$17,784 with odometer readings between 14610 and86157 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat S is priced between $9,650 and$14,950 with odometer readings between 13015 and94529 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat SE is priced between $10,676 and$16,495 with odometer readings between 18018 and79616 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat SE w/Technology is priced between $11,995 and$17,790 with odometer readings between 32537 and109551 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium is priced between $10,995 and$16,529 with odometer readings between 20317 and104923 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE w/Technology is priced between $17,950 and$17,950 with odometer readings between 35992 and35992 miles.

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Which used 2017 Volkswagen Passats are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Volkswagen Passat for sale near. There are currently 85 used and CPO 2017 Passats listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,650 and mileage as low as 13015 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat.

Can't find a used 2017 Volkswagen Passats you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Passat for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $16,657.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $23,514.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Passat for sale - 7 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $25,025.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 7 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,264.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 Volkswagen Passat?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Passat lease specials