The editors of TheCarConnection.com have driven the 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon and incorporate their firsthand observations in this Bottom Line. TheCarConnection.com's car enthusiasts have also researched available road tests on the Passat Wagon to produce this conclusive review.
Like its cousin, the Passat sedan, the 2009 Volkswagen Passat wagon is a simplified version of last year's model. Volkswagen nixed the manual transmission and whittled the available trim packages down to one, Komfort, now with heated seats and heated washer nozzles.
The single model 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon comes with a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Most drivers will be happy with the perky performance of the four-cylinder engine, which is very responsive with the six-speed automatic transmission. The new 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon handles and maneuvers well but without sharp sport-sedan reflexes. The suspension and the steering are tuned differently depending on which engine is under the hood, and the four-cylinder models have a more responsive, tossable feel.
Although the rear door line makes an odd straight cut downward, the door's unusual shape really helps entry/exit. And in the Wagon, the backseats fold forward flat to greatly expand the cargo floor, which is easier to load than SUVs because of its low lift height. On that note, a power liftgate is standard on all Wagon models, but it seems an unnecessary feature. The interior layout of the 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon feels both luxurious and practical, and the quality of the materials is quite impressive. There are plenty of interior storage bins and even an umbrella-storage area. The Passat Wagon has ample backseat legroom for lanky adults.
The ride of the 2009 VW Passat Wagon is very well controlled, and it's perhaps more refined inside than many luxury-brand mid-size models. Compared to a compact sport-utility vehicle or a mid-size sedan, the 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon is one of the quietest vehicles inside, allowing almost no road or wind noise.
The 2009 Passat Wagon Komfort wears 17-inch wheels and comes standard with heated front seats, keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, an eight-speaker sound system, leather steering-wheel trim, manual side sunshades, and a power 12-way driver seat. The Navigation Infotainment Package with touchscreen display, 30GB hard drive, and video DVD playback is optional.
Front side and full-length head-curtain airbags are standard; side airbags for backseat passengers--a safety feature that's rare in any vehicle--are optional on the 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon. The Passat Wagon has done reasonably well in crash tests, with four-star ratings in frontal impact and four- and five-star results in side impact from the federal government, along with "marginal" ratings for rear impact from the IIHS.
The Bottom Line:
Volkswagen's especially roomy 2009 Passat Wagon is a great family alternative to an SUV.