Volkswagen Passat Review
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The Passat has always been one of Volkswagen's most important models, falling in the middle of the sedan/saloon market segment, it has been a continual success. It was fully redesigned for 2006 and is now much more roomy and classier than before. The base model provides a strong turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that will suit any situation and for those who desire more there is a 3.6L V6 available as well. Living up to its German engineering heritage, the Passat also has precise steering and well-refined handling. Anyone who is interested in a well built, roomy, and classy sedan should look into the Volkswagen Passat.
See also the main fact sheet for the Volkswagen Passat.
- Large interior room
- Precise steering
- Well matched automatic and 2.0L I4 turbocharged engine
- V6 engine exhibits some lag
- Wagon does not feel as sporty as other versions
- Dash-mounted fob can be hard to remove in a hurry
Performance and Handling
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that comes on the base and 2.0T models is responsive and works well with the six-speed automatic. Volkswagen and Audi seem to have solved some of the drivability issues we've expressed in the past about the compatibility of the 2.0-liter turbo with the automatic transmission. On previous-generation models, the turbo and automatic didn't work together: The turbo would lag and the transmission would upshift right when you stepped on the gas and wanted to go, which was not good when one needed to move out of a slow lane into a fast lane with trucks looming in the rearview mirror. All of that seems to be gone now; the automatic on the 2007 models seems to work just fine with 2.0-liter turbo engine.
The 3.6-liter V6 is a smooth engine. Responding with an approving growl to the driver's right foot, the narrow-angle V6 delivers a robust flow of power, taking the relatively heavy Passat to 60 mph from a stop in about 6.6 seconds. The 3.6-liter engine has good torque down low, and once underway it revs freely, happily climbing toward the 6200-rpm power peak without harshness. But it sometimes hesitates at the bottom end. Step on the gas and there's a moment when nothing happens, both from a standing start and when cruising slowly. This can be annoying.
The optional sport-tuned suspension lowers ride height (by 15 mm) and stiffens the springs and shocks. But even the standard settings feel far more sporty than in the previous generation. Body roll, brake dive and acceleration squat, all undesirable traits of former VW chassis, have been eliminated, and torque steer is all but nonexistent.
The 2.0L Wagon feels much more tame than the other versions of the Passat. It did not encourage sporty driving. But it was quite comfortable in parking lots and on bumpy neighborhood streets, with a nice, cushy ride. The Passat 3.6L sedan is very stable at high speeds (135 mph), tracking straight and true. These are benefits of its balanced chassis with multi-link rear suspension and MacPherson strut front suspension. The front suspension does a good job of handling the conflicting duties of the front tires to both pull and steer the car.
The Passat's electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering is very responsive and adjusts the power-assist based on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. It also corrects for side winds as well as minimizing column vibration.
Braking is excellent. The four-wheel discs (ventilated in front) provide direct feedback, and the ABS threshold is set high enough to allow a good measure of late braking for the sporty driver. Overall brake feel is superb, and the car stops from high speeds with little drama, aided by Brake Assist. Volkswagen has offered all-wheel drive in the Passat since 1984, but the current system was all-new for 2006. The electronically controlled system is designed to work effectively with the ABS, traction control, electronic differential lock, and electronic stability program.
Multiple electronic aids on all Passats are on hand to help the driver in distress, but they do little to mute the pleasure of driving the new Passat, which is core to the VW ideal. If it weren't nimble around corners, easy to park, and stable on the straights, it wouldn't be a Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen Passat comes standard with the following features:
- Front airbags
- Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger
- Side curtain airbags
- Four-wheel-disc brakes
- Speed-variable electromechanical steering
- Electronic stability control (ESP)
- Tire-pressure monitor
- Security system
Rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional on all models
Reliability and Maintenance
Volkswagen offers a warranty that covers Basic Limited, Powertrain, and Corrosion Perforation on the GTI in addition to Roadside Assistance. Basic limited warranty covers 4 years/50,000 miles. Wear & tear items and adjustments excluded after initial 12 months/12,000 miles. Corrosion Perforation is a 12-year, unlimited distance Limited Warranty Against Corrosion Perforation. Powertrain is 5 years/60,000 miles. The Roadside Assistance Program is provided by Road America and is good for 4 years, 24-hour.
Interior and Comforts
The Volkswagen Passat benefited from an all-new, roomier cabin for 2006, which changes little if at all for 2007. The overall design is well designed and continues VW's tradition of quality materials, sensible gauge layout, and an ergonomic correctness about the driver's relationship with the controls.
The seating position is commanding, the seats themselves a good combination of comfort and control, with especially good lateral and under-thigh support. Standard 10-way (and available 12-way) adjustability the seats and a fully adjustable steering wheel ensure a good fit for all body types. The dashboard design is broken into upper and lower layers, avoiding the monolithic, crowded look of many contemporary control centers. The upper panel, housing the air outlets and deep cowl shading the gauges, is darker in contrast to the lighter lower panel that handles various accessory functions, including the button for the new electronic parking brake, rotary controls for the headlamps and, to the right of the steering wheel, the engine start/stop slot.
The center console flows rearward from the dash, the navigation screen, climate controls and shift lever nestled within a handsome expanse of wood. Flanking the shifter are buttons for ESP deactivation, an Auto Hold function to keep the car from rolling backward on hills, and optional Park Distance Control. The chrome surround for the shifter looks nice but reflects the sunlight at some angles, causing glare. Two large cupholders fit between the seats just forward of the folding armrest. The furry material around the cupholders looks like it could be a haven for crumbs, not good for people who eat in their car. Storage is available in a number of storage bins, including a sunglasses holder.
The Passat's interior ambience is best defined as understated luxury. Despite the cockpit's many creature comforts and electronic controls, there's a simplicity about the design and functionality that helps drivers fulfill their assigned task without confusion or calamity. Optional sunshades for the side windows and backlight help keep light and heat levels down by day. Ambient lighting helps with interior illumination at night. An umbrella holder in the driver's door, complete with a drainage system so a wet umbrella can be stowed without harm, makes you feel like you're in a Rolls-Royce.
Instead of fitting a key into a column-mounted ignition switch, the entire fob is pushed into a dash-mounted slot. To stop the car and eject the fob, simply push it again. What might seem a gimmick is in reality a boon to safety and reliability: A dangling keychain can prematurely wear an expensive ignition switch or cause leg injury during a crash. However, it can get hung up sometimes when you try to exit the car in a hurry, which can be troublesome.
Completely new last year, the 2007 Volkswagen Passat has a presence common to well-crafted cars. It is a stunning example of Volkswagen's goal of melding the aesthetic and the technical. It has a dynamic stance and just enough extraneous shapes and creases to make the car interesting from various angles. Its look is an evolution of the Passat's often copied lines, as there was little reason to break completely with tradition.
The nose is aggressive, with the medallion-shaped grille, vee-shaped contours on the hood, and a large VW badge. Composite headlamps frame the nose like a pair of eyes, staring intently down the road, and large intakes along the bottom of the nose reaffirm the car's performance intentions.
In profile, the Passat's substantial overhangs signal a heftiness associated with large, luxurious automobiles. The wheels and tires, especially the optional 18-inch wheels, fit well within the wheelwells and underscore the Passat's look of a well-grounded automobile. The sweep of the roof is of the modern, sporty sort, its coupe-like contours delineated by chrome trim surrounding the side glass. Chrome is also used in a trim strip to tie together the front and rear fender arches and the sharply cut tail, which is defined by round, horizontal taillamp clusters that echo the shape of the front lights.
Styles and Options
The Volkswagen Passat is offered as a four-door sedan or five-door wagon. There are 3 trims available: Base, 2.0T, and 3.6L.
- 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
- Manual transmission or an automatic (automatic only for the wagon)
- Climate control system
- Pollen filter
- 60/40 split/folding rear seats
- Eight way manual adjustable front seats
- Power windows
- Electronic parking brake
- Heated outside mirrors
- Eight-speaker stereo with in-dash CD player
- MP3 capability and an auxiliary input jack
- 215/55HR16 all-season radial tires
- 6-1/2 x 16-inch steel wheels
- Manual transmission or an automatic (automatic only for the wagon)
- Ambient interior lighting
- Illuminated footwells
- Six-way power driver’s seat
- Split folding rear seat with armrest, storage and pass-through
- Dual sunvisors with illuminated mirrors
- Chrome exterior trim
- Body moldings
- 16-inch Catalunya alloy wheels
- Power sunroof
- Six-disc in-dash CD changer
- Sirius Satellite Radio
- Heated front seats
- Heated washer nozzles
Package 2 Luxury
- Includes Package 1
- Leather seats
- 12-way power adjustment front seats
- 3-way memory front seats and mirrors
- Leather shift-knob
- Multi-function steering wheel
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Fog lights
- Automatic headlights
- Environmental lighting on exterior mirrors
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Switchable auto-dimming interior rearview mirror
- Interior wood and aluminum trim
Package 2 Sport
- Sport-tuned suspension
- 235/40R18 all-season tires
- Samarkand alloy wheels
- Brushed aluminum interior trim
- Adds to the 2.0T trim:
- 280-hp, 3.6-liter V6
- 17-inch Le Mans alloy wheels
- Power sunroof
- Sirius Satellite Radio
(Available with VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive)
Similar Luxury and Sport Packages for 3.6L include essentially the same equipment as the 2.0T packages, plus high-grade amenities such as Park Distance Control, a cargo net, and sunshades for the rear (sedan only) and rear-side windows. Additionally, the Luxury Package for the V6 upgrades to 235/45R17 all-season tires on Le Mans alloy wheels.
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WikiCars Contributor Favorites
- Visi.com - History of the Passat
- Minsk vids - Volkswagen Passat B6 Outdoor Ads
- Autocar.co - Passat Road Test July 2005
- TDI FAQ - Volkswagen Passat Saloon 2.0TDI SE 4dr (Mk 6)
Volkswagen Manufacturer Sites