Among the manufacturer’s most enduring models, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat extends the eighth generation of the midsize sedan to its sixth year.
The Passat, German for “trade wind,” is an elder automotive statesman well into its fourth decade. There’s little flash or overt technology, but the mainstream VW has plenty of appeal via its reserved, classy presentation.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
Available in S, R-Line, SE and Premium trims, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat is front-wheel drive and offered with two engines. My test vehicle was the SE trim with a 1.8-liter turbo-charged, four-cylinder configuration with 170 horsepower and a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower available on the SE and Premium trims.
As the third trim on the features and luxury scale, the SE trim includes S and R-Line features and adds a pantry full of other items. Adaptive cruise control, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a sliding front armrest, rear air vents and Car-Net (VW’S connectivity system). The SE’s optional technology package, included as standard equipment, features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, foglights, automatic wipers and a hands-free trunk opener with foot sensor.
The extensive list also includes: an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, remote ignition, heated rear seats, a navigation system, an eight-speaker sound system and an upgraded version of Car-Net.
While not a luxury vehicle, the Passat is influenced by some of its higher-priced German counterparts. The cabin materials, including well-matched dark plastic trim, are straightforward and handsome. The navigation system is adequate, but several competitors have larger and higher resolution screens.
The Passat offers a quiet, comfortable ride. Front and back seats are sturdy and well bolstered. Legroom and headroom are generous, particularly the backseat. Trunk space in strong at 15.9 cubic feet and without restrictive areas. The trunk opening provides easy access, and the 60/40 split backseat offers further options for larger items.
Volkswagen exterior designs also define efficiency and simplicity. The lack of sharp edges, an odd swooping roofline or other attention-grabbing styling makes the Passat more attractive. It’s like a favorite blue blazer — simultaneously casual, stylish and versatile.
Infotainment screen only adequate.
Facts & Figures: 2017 Volkswagen Passat
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.7 seconds
Fuel economy: 23 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway), 27 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $25,495.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: www.vw.com.
Price As Tested: $26,315.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/120,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“The 2017 Volkswagen Passat, grayed at the temples as it may be, is a likable choice, particularly if comfort is a priority.” — Edmunds.com.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“Stylish, versatile, quiet, fairly priced. No wonder the Volkswagen Passat has been around for a long time.”
Article Last Updated: March 23, 2017.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.