Spacious interior; excellent engines; smooth and quiet ride; perfect crash-test scores
Turbodiesel and V6 models are rather expensive
The 2014 Passat gets a new 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in place of the old 2.5-liter 5-cylinder. It also boasts a new Sport trim and available VW Car-Net telematics.
Despite its high price, we're still partial to the Passat TDI, as it offers unbeatable fuel economy and range (hybrid rivals aside) along with a healthy turbocharged shove when you goose it. Plus, even the entry-level TDI SE comes pretty well-equipped.
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is offered in different versions depending on what's under the hood: 1.8T, TDI or V6. The three main trim levels are S, SE and SEL, with a Sport trim set to join the lineup later in the year (details were unavailable as of this writing).
The base Passat 1.8T S comes standard with the 5-speed manual transmission (including a hill-holder feature), 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, air conditioning, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a 6-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input.
If you want an automatic transmission on the S model, you'll at least need the optional Appearance Package, which adds the 6-speed automatic, 16-in alloy wheels, a back-seat center armrest and a healthy pile of cash to the bottom line.
The 1.8T is also offered in Wolfsburg Edition trim, which starts with the Appearance Package specs and adds different 16-in wheels, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity.
The 1.8T SE boasts 17-in alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, an upgraded trip computer with a larger display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated exterior mirrors, rear climate vents, and an 8-speaker audio system with a 6-CD changer, an SD-card reader and a 5-in touchscreen interface that includes a rearview camera.
Options on the 1.8T SE include a sunroof, a navigation system (which uses the same 5-in touchscreen) and iPod/USB connectivity.
The 1.8T SEL comes standard with the sunroof, a hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music storage and a larger, 6.5-in touchscreen, better-bolstered front seats, foot-well lighting, a 9-speaker Fender audio system with iPod integration, dual-zone automatic climate control and a rear-seat ski pass-through.
The 1.8T SEL Premium tacks on fog lights, keyless entry with push-button start, leather upholstery, driver memory functions and a power passenger seat.
The diesel-powered Passat TDI SE starts with a 6-speed manual transmission, featuring the 1.8T SE's standard and optional equipment plus optional 18-in alloys. The top-of-the-line TDI SEL Premium includes a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission but is otherwise equipped similarly to the 1.8T SEL Premium.
The V6 SE gets the automated manual transmission, 18-in alloy wheels, and most of the 1.8T SEL's equipment, although the 3.6 SE's navigation system is the SD-based version with the smaller screen. The range-topping 3.6 SEL Premium gets the hard-drive-based navigation system with the larger screen and the rest of the other SEL Premium models' equipment as well as woodgrain interior trim.
Some of these higher-end standard features can be added to lower trims via various packages or standalone options.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||2 Years/24,000 Miles|
Ford Fusion -- The Fusion combines practicality, technology and agility like few vehicles at this price. Check out the Hybrid for fuel economy that shames even the stingy Passat TDI.
Honda Accord -- The revitalized Accord is once again a strong contender, though it lacks a diesel option.
Kia Optima -- Before you drive off in a Passat, consider that you might be able to grab a 274-hp Optima SX for around the same price. The SX's fuel economy is almost as good as the Passat 1.8T's, while its smooth, strong acceleration puts it on par with the Passat 3.6.