The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Volkswagen Passat

2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium Review

By John Heilig

Model: 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium
Engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged  I4
Horsepower/Torque: 170 hp @ 4,800 rpm/184 lb./-ft. @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 110.4 in.
Length x Width x Height: 191.6 x 72.2 x 58.5 in.
Tires: P235/45R18
Cargo: 15.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 24 mpg city/34 mpg highway/30.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Curb Weight: 3,230 lbs.
Sticker: $31,715 (includes $820 delivery charge)

The Bottom Line: The Volkswagen Passat is a very nice mid-sized sedan that belongs in the mix with the other top mid-sized sedans you may be considering.

Volkswagen introduced the Passat to the world in Times Square with a concert by Katie Perry and a cooking exhibition by Mario Battali. While the Passat is important to VW’s success, I thought this was a bit of overkill.

The Passat that greeted the public on that day looked to be a solid sedan in the VW tradition. A week behind the wheel confirmed the initial impression.

Under the hood of our tester was a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four that delivered 170 horsepower, reaching the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. With a 3,230-pound curb weight, 170 horses are definitely enough to get the Passat moving. In fact, we had to use cruise control to keep our speed under the speed limit most times. The engine is quiet, although some road noise intrudes into the cabin. However, I think that’s more the fault of Penn DOT than VW.

My only complaint with the Passat is a relatively minor one with the audio system. When my phone was connected to Bluetooth, the iPhone’s music dominated. Essentially, I couldn’t use my iPod, and even Sirius XM played second fiddle to the phone. This isn’t a major problem, since the music on my phone mimics the iPod, it was just that I was flustered by the limited choices available.

Front seats are comfortable with some side support. We took the Passat on a couple of Interstate runs and were very pleased with the ride quality. The rear seats have the best legroom in the class, according to my unscientific test. I measure the room in the rear with the driver’s seat pushed to my “comfortable” position. There is a tall center hump in the rear that makes it uncomfortable for any middle passenger.

You start the Passat using a pushbutton located on the center console. I never remembered where it was and constantly looked on the dash. Then, I’m a slow learner.

I felt the economy was very good. Our test mileage exceeded 30 mph, and the odometer registered more than 300 miles on of a tank.

We also found the navigation system easy to program to my standard destinations.

A feature I found entertaining (remember, I’m easy to please) was the inclusion of an analog clock in the center of the dash to go along with a digital one on the instrument panel. Since we had the Passat during the Daylight Savings Time change, we set the new time using the digital clock, and saw the analog clock’s hands turn backward at the same time.

The instrument panel is clear with white-on-black dials. The tachometer is on the left and the speedometer on the right, with an information panel between them. The information available includes a compass, digital time, the current gear, outside temperature and odometers. You can also get fuel economy, but the setting I had only gave the economy for that particular trip.

The center console has two cup holders plus a “key cubby” to hold the keys when you’re driving. There are four assist handles and space for water bottles in all doors.

The trunk is a nice size with the rear seat back releases in the trunk. There’s a small compartment on the left of the trunk that is ideal for small bags.

Overall, the Passat is a very nice overall package, especially with its spacious rear seat and trunk.

2013 The Auto Page