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The 2012 VW Passat Talks Money

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2011

Pricing for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat has just been announced and the entry level model is more than $7,000 cheaper than the car it replaces (MSRP: $27,945). The new one – the S – comes in at $20,765, including destination charges. And every example comes with free maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.

This mid-size sedan has been designed and built especially for the United States market, enjoying more passenger and cargo space than its Europe-sourced predecessor. VW claims unsurpassed rear legroom for its class.

The base model comes with dual-zone climate control, power locks and windows, and Bluetooth. However, the transmission is a six-speed manual, so most buyers will probably upgrade to the Appearance package that includes an automatic transmission and alloy wheels, starting at $23,730.

At this more modest side of the range, power comes from a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine. As the amenities and creature comforts mount up (like heated seats and navigation) in SE and SEL trim levels, the prices also rise until we get to the other end of the spectrum: the Passat 3.6L SEL Premium at $33,720. Under this model's hood is a 3.6-liter V6 making 280 hp.

The real star in the propulsion department, though, could be the turbocharged diesel engine. According to VW, it achieves 43 miles per gallon on the highway. This is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit using VW's Clean Diesel technology and already has a proven track record in TDI versions of the Jetta and Golf (and various Audi models). It's a meaty, punchy engine that can add to the fun factor, yet is whisper-quiet in operation and clean enough to be used in all 50 states. The 2012 Passat TDI SE starts at $26,765 and is currently the only car in its class with diesel power.

Both the TDI and V6 models have the option of VW's DSG transmission, which can act as a full automatic or let the driver shift gears with steering wheel-mounted paddles. It's really one of those "best of both worlds" features.

Any 2012 Passat in SEL trim also gets the Fender-branded audio system made especially for VW (with a little help from Panasonic). Just in case any readers are unfamiliar with Fender, it's an iconic American company that makes guitars and amplifiers – customers have included Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

It's all part of VW's push to raise its profile in the States as it goes head to head to head with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata. The 2012 Passat is made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, "one of the newest, most advanced and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world," said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of the VW Group of America. The facility cost $1 billion.

Browning also described the 2012 Passat as "a true Volkswagen, offering German engineering." It goes on sale in late September or early October.

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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.
The 2012 VW Passat Talks Money - Autotrader