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2014 Volkswagen Passat: Unheralded, worthy sedan

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat has a compact exterior and spacious interior.

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is a family sedan that for years has fallen into an odd category. It doesn’t turn heads via an overtly handsome exterior. And neither are its performance nor interior styling spectacular.

But for more than four decades the Volkswagen Passat has done a lot right and little wrong. That places the car in a category among few family sedans, particularly those in the high $20,000 to low $30,000 range. It’s hard to find anything wrong with the car.

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

This was my second test week with the Passat SE. The more I drove it, the more I liked it. It’s a good choice for a vehicle whose price rests at the average new price of a car in the United States.

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat does a lot right and little wrong.
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat does a lot right and little wrong. Images © James Raia/2014

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 latter trim, with the new, more fuel-efficient 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower, four-cylinder turbocharged engine was my Weekly Driver on both occasions.

It’s only offered this year in the SEL and Sport model. It will be introduced progressively in other models as the standard configuration, replacing the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder offerings.

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 included 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 are handled without issue. The Passat’s steering and maneuverability exceeds a good share of higher-priced vehicles.


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.


Blind spot over driver’s left shoulder.

Acceleration lag.

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

Facts & Figures: 2014 Volkswagen Passat

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.7 seconds.
Airbags: (6).
Fuel economy: 24 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway), 28 (combined). six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 170
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,895.00
Manufacturer’s Web site:
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 Japanese of South Korean manufacturer. The German-engineered, American-assembled Volkswagen Passat is a prime example.”



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