The new Volkswagen Passat has created a new standard in the mid-size sedan class and has been an instant hit in the marketplace. Here is a mid-size sedan with the space and comfort of many full-size models, offering remarkable, best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match. As a result, it has garnered numerous third-party awards, including the highly prestigious Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year.
The Passat TDI version—the only clean diesel option in the segment—delivers an EPA-estimated 43 miles per gallon on the highway with the manual transmission, giving a range of almost 800 miles. That’s New York to Chicago, San Francisco to Seattle, on one tank. Acknowledged mileage experts John and Helen Taylor recently set a single-tank long-distance driving record by taking a Passat TDI from Houston, Texas, to Sterling, Virginia—that’s a distance of 1626 miles—on one tank of Clean Diesel fuel.
And it is being built in Chattanooga, Tenn., in a plant with a strong commitment to environmental responsibility: this is the only automotive factory in the world to have gained the U.S Green Building Council’s LEED® Platinum-certification. One key measure at the plant is the use of a painting process without any filler, which reduces CO2 emissions by about 20 percent.
If all that wasn’t impressive enough, the 2013 Passat comes with a starting MSRP of just $20,845 for a five-cylinder model with Bluetooth® connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls, and all scheduled maintenance covered under Volkswagen’s no-charge three-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance® program.
The Passat’s balanced proportions give it elegant and timeless styling, reflecting the new Volkswagen Design DNA developed by Walter de Silva, the Italian design chief for the Volkswagen Group, and Klaus Bischoff, the German design leader for the Volkswagen Brand.
The clean design, with a predominance of horizontal body elements, reinforces the Passat’s position as the sophisticated choice in the mid-size segment. The bottom line is that the car looks a lot more expensive than it actually is.
The key identifying feature of a strong brand is the styling of its front end. Here the Passat displays the horizontal brand face, with the three-blade grille and headlights forming a single unit. The Passat’s grille is sculpted in a three-dimensional shape and makes a distinctive and elegant impression because of its strict geometry. Beneath the front bumper is a large, lower intake with a striking honeycomb surface and available foglights housed at each end.
From the side profile, the muscular ridge in the sill area creates a lively interplay of light reflections. Powerfully sculpted wheelarches emphasize the dynamic properties of the Passat. To emphasize the aerodynamic styling of the Passat, the roof lines flow toward the back with a nearly coupe-like cut of the rear window. Three side windows create luxury-class style with a long, extended glass surface.
The rear section is also dominated by horizontal lines. The lines of the large taillights rise toward the sides, underscoring the dynamics of the elegant rear styling. Another unique feature here is the design of the two-part taillights that are integrated in the rear fender and trunk lid.
This is a generously-proportioned four-door sedan and the largest Passat ever. Nose to tail it measures 191.6 inches and features a stretched 110.4-inch wheelbase and 72.2-inch width, which allows such exceptional rear-seat space.
The Passat was designed and specifically tailored for American tastes and American lifestyles. So the cabin of the all-new Passat delivers space, and plenty of it. There’s room for five adults to really stretch out in comfort. And with four large, wide-opening doors, getting in and out is a cinch.
There’s also a true elegance and simplicity about the layout. Nothing here is trendy or over-done. The lines flow in a style that’s easy on the eye, complimented by the highest-quality materials applied with painstaking attention to detail.
The instrument panel is similar to that of Volkswagen’s flagship model, the Touareg. Available chrome-trimmed gauges surround a digital multifunction display. A high-end chrome look is also applied to the air vents in the cockpit, and to the surrounds of the radio, navigation system and the climate control panels. The rotary light switch and parking brake handle button are also treated in chrome. Except for the base version, all other Passat trims have chrome interior accents on the window, mirror adjustment, and trunk opening switches.
The seats are exceptionally comfortable, with an emphasis on providing extra thigh support for long-distance road trips. Even in the base version, the driver’s seat adjusts eight ways, including lumbar, while most models feature eight-way power adjustment. Inviting cloth trim is offered with the base S model, with the SE versions feature Volkswagen’s trademark perforated V-Tex leatherette: SEL models move up to full leather seating surfaces.
For 2013, Passat SE and SEL models receive a new center console that incorporates rear air vents, a new cupholder design, and a revised front stowage area that has a hinged cover. All SEL trim models now have a rearview backup camera.
There is no shortage of entertainment system options with the Passat—but the most exciting is the Fender Premium Audio System, which was designed to bring the raw emotion of a live music performance to the driving experience.
The system was developed through collaboration between Fender, the legendary music amplification experts, who also make some of the coolest guitars for the rock star elite, and Panasonic®. It cranks out 400 watts of power played through nine speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer.
And the same cool, chromed Fender logo that has graced the guitar ‘amps’ of some of the world’s music legends is featured on the Passat’s Fender system.
The Passat offers three drivetrain options: a responsive 2.5-liter gasoline engine, a remarkably fuel-efficient 2.0-liter TDI® Clean Diesel, and a powerful 3.6-liter VR6®.
The refined, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine features chain-driven double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters. It makes 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and is available with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard or with an optional six-speed automatic.
The 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It delivers an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 43 mpg on the highway when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, giving a range of 795 miles on one tank of ultra-low-sulfur clean diesel. The TDI engine is equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) that fulfills emissions requirements in all 50 states.
Optional on the Passat TDI Clean Diesel is Volkswagen’s DSG® six-speed automatic. This dual-clutch transmission is considered the most-efficient automatic in the world. It incorporates a dual-clutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal. With a special computer controlling the process, one clutch is engaged on the next gear, while the clutch from the previous gear is released.
The results are crisp, quick shifts, without the loss of power that is experienced with a traditional manual gearbox. It’s the perfect choice for drivers who want the performance of a traditional manual transmission with the precision of an automatic.
The 3.6 liter VR6 makes the new Passat a top-flight sport sedan. Producing an impressive 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, it offers power and luxury-class driving comfort, with European-type restraint in its fuel consumption—the EPA highway estimate is 28 mpg. Shifting on the new Passat VR6 is handled by a standard six-speed DSG.
The Passat has been designed to feature the kind of dynamic, involved handling and precise steering drivers have come to expect of a Volkswagen. The new Passat may be a big car, but it drives small.
Its front suspension features the proven Volkswagen formula of damper struts with robust lower control arms, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar. At the rear, there’s a sophisticated four-link independent layout with telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar.
The steering system comprises a power-assisted rack-and-pinion set-up, perfectly weighted to provide a balance between precision at higher speeds, and lower steering weight at parking speeds. Swinging into that tight, mall parking spot is easy, thanks to the Passat’s 36.4-foot turning radius and three turns lock-to-lock.
Safety is not on the options list at Volkswagen, which is why every Passat comes with a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features.
Safety starts with a specially-reinforced safety cage, complete with anti-intrusion side beams and forged steel roof B-pillars. Behind the sleek nose, there is a crash-optimized front-end featuring integrated impact-absorbing elements that help minimize the collision energy.
Naturally, every new Passat comes with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) that helps compensate for oversteer or understeer by applying individual corrective forces to each of the wheels. Also standard is an Anti-lock Braking System, Hydraulic Brake Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring, and Volkswagen’s acclaimed Intelligent Crash Response System. In the event of a collision it automatically unlocks the doors, shuts off the fuel pump, and even turns on the hazard warning lights.
The six standard airbags include front and side thorax airbags for the front-seat occupants, together with Side Curtain Protection® airbags front and rear.
Peace of mind in owning a new Passat comes from Volkswagen’s no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. It covers all scheduled maintenance for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty, which is three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The Passat is offered in three trim levels, S, SE and SEL, with a total of 15 equipment levels. All offer first-class safety and comfort.
With pricing starting at $20,845 for the five-speed manual transmission model, its key features include: air-conditioning; hill hold control; multifunction steering wheel with audio and phone controls; central locking system with remote control keys; powered exterior mirrors; automatic headlights with “coming home” function; trip computer; RCD 310 radio with CD player and six speakers; aux-in; Bluetooth®; 60/40 split rear seat; lumbar for driver seat. The S with Appearance ($22,945) adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear center armrest, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Starting at $23,945, this adds 17-inch Sonoma aluminum-alloy wheels with all-season tires; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; power driver seat and lumbar; heated front seats; highline instrumentation cluster with multifunction display; rear passenger air vents; leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with audio and phone controls; auto-dimming rearview mirror; power and heated exterior side mirrors; leather-wrapped hand brake and shift knob; Premium VIII touchscreen radio with six-CD in-dash changer and eight speakers. The SE w/Sunroof ($25,845) adds a six-speed automatic transmission and a power tilt and slide sunroof; the SE w/Sunroof and Nav ($26,995) incorporates the RNS 315 navigation system and a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod cable.
This features a bumper with chrome accents; Homelink®; footwell lighting; RNS 510 navigation; Fender premium audio system; comfort sport seats; rearview backup camera; and rear seat pass-through. Starting at $28,925.
2.5 SEL Premium
With a starting price of $30,425, this adds leather seating surface;, keyless access with push-button start; foglights; driver seat memory; and eight-way power passenger seat.
Opens at $26,225 and features 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; V-Tex leatherette seating; eight-way power driver seat; heated front seats; Premium VIII touchscreen radio; multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel; sliding front center armrest; and rear passenger air vents. The SE with Sunroof ($28,225) adds a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and a power tilt and slide sunroof. The SE with Sunroof and Nav ($29,885) includes: 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; side moldings with chrome accents; the RNS 315 navigation system; and front foglights.
TDI SEL Premium
This adds 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces; comfort sport seats; RNS 510 navigation; Fender premium audio system; driver seat memory; rearview backup camera; wood grain interior trim; and eight-way power passenger seat. Starts at $32,915.
3.6 SE with Sunroof
Standard features on this model ($29,235) include: six-speed DSG automatic transmission; 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; V-Tex leatherette seating; sunroof; eight-way power driver seat; heated front seats; Premium VIII touchscreen radio; Fender premium audio system; chrome dual exhaust; and foglights. The SE with Sunroof and Nav ($30,895) includes side moldings with chrome accents, the RNS 315 navigation system, and an MDI with iPod cable.
3.6 SEL Premium
This flagship model starts at $33,525 and adds leather seating surfaces; rearview backup camera; keyless entry with push-button start; RNS 510 navigation; driver seat memory; wood grain interior décor; eight-way power passenger seat; and interior chrome accents.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant that produces the Passat is part of a $4 billion investment by the company in the U.S. market. The facility was designed to keep environmental impact to a minimum and includes a revolutionary paint shop that significantly reduces emissions. A state-of-the art $40 million employee training center ensures adherence to Volkswagen’s exacting quality standards.