New Car Review

2017 Volkswagen Passat: New Car Review

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Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE
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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2016

After an update last year, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat trundles along as one of the oldest mainstream midsize sedans. It still has some advantages, though, like a comfortable and quiet cabin, a huge trunk (15.9 cu ft.) and lots of passenger room.

It's not exactly a thrilling car, preferring to be understated in almost every respect (except for passenger and cargo space), but that approach has its own classy appeal. And although this car comes from a German company, it was designed and developed especially for North America and is made in Volkswagen's facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

What's New for 2017?

The SEL trim level is discontinued, which has resulted in some reshuffling of equipment. Forward collision warning with autonomous braking is now standard throughout the range. A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert comes in at the R-Line and SE levels. The V6 engine can now be ordered in the SE trim with the Technology package. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available.

What We Like

Large interior; lots of technology; cavernous trunk; smooth and quick optional dual-clutch transmission

What We Don't

Timid styling; unremarkable driving experience

How Much?

$23,260-$34,815

Fuel Economy

The basic engine is a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It connects to a 6-speed automatic transmission and drives the front wheels. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

An optional 3.6-liter V6 (in SE and SEL Premium trims) develops 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission here is a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual that sends power to the front wheels. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat comes in basic 1.8T S, sporty 1.8T R-Line, midlevel 1.8T SE and upscale 1.8T SEL Premium and V6 SEL Premium.

The 1.8T S ($23,260) includes dual-zone climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, an automatic post-collision braking system, forward collision warning with autonomous braking, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, a 5-in center screen, Bluetooth, a CD player, an auxiliary input and a USB port.

The 1.8T R-Line ($24,795) adds performance-themed styling touches like 19-in alloy wheels, R-Line bumpers, a rear diffuser, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking-brake handle. It also introduces heated side mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats and leatherette seating surfaces.

The 1.8T SE ($26,315) adds 17-in alloy wheels, a power sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio, a 6.3-in touchscreen and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift lever and parking-brake handle.

Drivers looking to add more equipment to the SE should consider the Technology package, which adds $2,500 to the price. It includes a HomeLink garage-door opener, a hands-free trunk opener, passive entry with push-button starting, automatic wipers, navigation, heated rear seats and blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and automatic braking.

The 1.8T SEL Premium ($31,815) has LED headlights and taillights, power-folding mirrors, a power adjustable front passenger seat, leather upholstery, a remote starter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, a full-color driver information display, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free trunk lid, automatic parallel parking system, a Fender-branded audio system and satellite radio.

At the top of the range is the V6 SEL Premium ($34,815), which brings the V6, a dual-clutch automatic transmission and paddle shifters.

Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the Passat five stars out of five overall, with four stars for front-impact performance and five for side impacts. The car also earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with maximum scores of Good across the board, except for the headlights, which were considered Poor.

Standard features include side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes, while options include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, automated parallel parking and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

Behind the Wheel

This midsize sedan prioritizes comfort over performance or style, offering decent outward vision, a supple ride, a nice-enough interior and predictable yet dull handling. The smooth, powerful V6 and its quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission are impressive. However, the vast majority of drivers will get the 4-cylinder, which seems a bit overwhelmed by the Passat's large size. Still, it offers strong fuel economy and a fairly smooth transmission of its own, so it's probably best to look past the average acceleration.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Ford Fusion -- Upgraded for 2017, the Fusion offers handsome styling, lots of technology, sharper handling and more powertrain choices than the Passat. The VW has a bigger interior, though.

2017 Honda Accord -- The Accord is a clear class-leader thanks to its roomy cabin, excellent reliability and fuel-efficient powertrains.

2017 Hyundai Sonata -- The Sonata shares a lot of the Passat's benefits, including lots of technology, competitive pricing and a large, comfortable interior.

2017 Toyota Camry -- Solid and dependable, the Camry is a perennial best-seller, and it's even getting some attitude design-wise, as well.

Used Audi A6 -- For more luxury and premium style, check out a certified pre-owned A6.

Autotrader's Advice

The 1.8T SE model is relatively affordable and comes with a useful amount of tech and safety equipment. The Technology package adds some luxury features and keeps the price (just) under $30,000.

Find a Volkswagen Passat for sale

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Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL Premium
Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat
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Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE
Used 2017 Volkswagen Passat
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Certified 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S
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Certified 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T R-Line
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Volkswagen Passat: New Car Review - Autotrader