2014 Volkswagen Passat: Near luxury, value priced

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It doesn’t seem like the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is the family sedan’s 41st year in production. Maybe it’s because it’s also been known around the globe by a half-dozen other names — Dasher, Quantum, Santana, Corsar, Magotan and Carat.

The sixth and current generation debuted in 2011 and was named the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year. The Passat has a unique position the auto industry. Despite its Tennessee assemblage, it’s the only European-engineered family sedan in the segment.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Offered in four models 2.5L, 1.8T, TDI and V6 models, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is further categorized in four trims, Wolfsburg, SE, Sport and SEL.

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is a near-luxury sedan with a value price.
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is a near-luxury sedan with a value price. Images © James Raia/2014

The latter trim, with the new, more fuel-efficient 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower, four-cylinder turbocharged engine was my Weekly Driver. It’s only offered this year in the SEL and Sport models. It will be introduced progressively in other models as the standard configuration, replacing the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder offering.

The Volkswagen Passat in all trims offers an extensive standard features list and in the SEL model a pleasant presentation of no option packages.

The SEL model, like other top-line car trims includes all of the other trim offers and host of other features: navigation system with a larger screen, hard-drive music storage and traffic updates, keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, partial leather upholstery, wood-grain interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio and a separate ski pass-through for the 60/40 rear seat.

Driving the Passat is a treat. It’s not classified as a luxury car, but it has those tendencies. It’s extraordinarily quiet when idling and at high speeds. There’s near-expansive front and rear seat room.

The 18-inch alloy wheels and the electronic stability control combine for a smooth rider with bumps, divots and other road nuisances all handled without issue. The Passat’s steering and maneuverability exceeds a good share of higher-priced vehicles.

Likes:

Smooth, quiet highway drive.

Spacious interior, front seats and back.

Superior comfort.

Modern exterior design.

Steady powerful performance.

All inclusive equipment list. No overpriced option packages.

Retro analog clock. Simply presented. Why not?

Clean, horizontal paneling design.

Dislikes:

Acceleration lag.

Off-white colored leather interior and carpet can discolor easily.

Bright red illuminated dash dials distracting.

Facts & Figures, 2014 Volkswagen Passat

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.7 seconds.
Airbags: (6).
Fuel economy: 28 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway), six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 170
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,895.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.vw.com.
Price As Tested: $31,715.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“In a segment dominated by Korean, Japanese, and American powerhouses, Volkswagen’s Passat stands proudly as a solid German alternative to the midsize competition. Although its styling is safer and personality a tad more restrained, the base Passat’s improved powertrain and agreeable interior make it a satisfying choice for drivers who prefer German — and savoring all the driver-focused functionality that comes with it.” — Popular Mechanics.

“Taken with its improved manners and drivability, the volume Passat now finds itself in a position to snag more mid-size market share.” — Car and Driver.

“Other family sedans may be flashier, but the Passat provides one of the best all-around combinations of performance, features and value.” — AutoTrader.

“Set apart by its European-style refinement, roomy interior and fuel-efficient diesel engine option, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is a solid choice for a family sedan.” — Edmunds.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“There’s plenty of room for a quality, fairly priced family sedan with a good share of performance and not from a Japanese or South Korean manufacturer. The German-engineered, American-assembled Volkswagen Passat is a prime example.”

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