I will not blame you when you’ve forgotten concerning the Volkswagen Passat. In spite of everything, the current-generation Passat has been principally stagnant since its introduction in 2012, with dwindling gross sales numbers besides. Whereas the competitors has zoomed forward by way of expertise, design and driving dynamics, the Passat, nicely, has principally stood nonetheless.
The Passat is out there in various trims, from the bottom, four-cylinder S to the range-topping V6 SEL Premium model examined right here. A GT variant joined the lineup earlier this 12 months, and fellow evaluations editor Jon Wong acquired a crack at that one a few months in the past.
Sturdy engine, however tuned for consolation
4-cylinder variations of the Passat use a 2.Zero-liter turbo engine, with 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The V6, in the meantime, makes a sturdy 280 hp and 258 lb-ft. In fact, if you need a V6, you’d higher act quick — Volkswagen will now not supply this engine within the Passat beginning subsequent 12 months.
The Passat is unquestionably tuned extra for consolation than efficiency. The V6 provides stout energy, nevertheless it doesn’t suggest a lot with out a prepared chassis. Whereas different automobiles on this class are completely happy to be pushed by way of corners (the Honda Accord and Mazda6 come to thoughts), the Passat shows a big quantity of physique roll. Moreover, the steering is gentle and imprecise, and the brakes exhibit an inclination to chunk a bit more durable halfway by way of the pedal journey.
There is a Sport mode, nevertheless it solely works with the six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission, holding gears for longer durations of time. It does nothing to make the precise expertise of driving extra partaking. You are higher off leaving it alone.
The V6 provides a lot of energy, however with dismal gasoline financial system, you are higher off sticking with the turbocharged 2.Zero-liter as an alternative.
However hey, not each automotive must be a nook carver, and credit score the place it is due, the Passat is great at absorbing bumps on damaged pavement. But it is nonetheless powerful to suggest the Passat as a commuter automotive. The adaptive cruise management does not work beneath 15 miles per hour, so whereas I like this tech for its capability to observe a lead automotive in stop-and-go site visitors, it is a no-go within the Passat.
As well as, the fuel mileage is fairly dangerous. The V6 Passat has EPA gasoline financial system rankings of 19 miles per gallon metropolis, 28 mpg freeway and solely 22 mpg mixed. Clearly, the four-cylinder fashions do a lot better right here, with 25 mpg metropolis, 36 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed.
That mentioned, there are a number of different tech options obtainable. The SEL Premium comes totally loaded with blind-spot monitoring, ahead collision warning and emergency braking, in addition to lane-keeping help. The lane-keep tech solely works above 40 mph, oddly, however will gently nudge the Passat again into its line must you begin to veer off.
Spacious inside, so-so infotainment
Inside, the Passat provides comfy lodging for 5 passengers, and people in again take pleasure in a wholesome 39 inches of legroom. There’s even a 15.9-cubic-foot trunk, which bests the boots within the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Volkswagen’s Automotive-Web infotainment system is housed on a 6.Three-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto commonplace. That is a reasonably small display in contrast with newer techniques provided by the competitors, however the system is straightforward to make use of, freed from the deep layers of menus and submenus that always plague rivals’ techniques.
The Passat is not a foul automotive, it simply wants a stable refresh to make it aggressive once more.
Exhausting to suggest
If I have been shopping for a Passat today, I might seize one of many V6 GTs earlier than they’re gone. At $29,145 a V6 GT is the least costly solution to get the V6, and comes with a sport suspension that improves dealing with chops. You’ll be able to’t get adaptive cruise management or navigation on the GT, however contemplating neither little bit of tech works nicely on this SEL Premium spec, I am wonderful leaving them on the desk.
The 2018 Passat begins at $22,995, and this top-of-the-line V6 SEL Premium is available in at $35,500, together with $850 for vacation spot.
The Passat has just a few issues going for it, particularly its enormous inside and beneficiant cargo house. But when it is a stable midsize sedan you are after, higher choices can be found from various automakers. And when you’re useless set on a Volkswagen, the new-for-2019 Jetta, with higher tech, a spacious cabin and genuinely good-to-drive dynamics, is perhaps proper up your alley.