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2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE Review by Mark Fulmer

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By Mark Fulmer
The Auto Channel

                • SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Research and Buyers Guide

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Even though it has been a hellish year for VW, the fact remains that their alt mpg crisis was caused by a handful idiotic executives and techies, and the other over half million employees continued to design and construct outstanding vehicles.

Case in point: the Passat.

In the universe of midsized sedans the Passat continues to be an all-star. The 2017 version was extensively upgraded last year, and so this year added some modifications to trim contents. I tested the SE which featured an enhanced touchscreen, push-button start, and keyless access. The interior feels quite roomy and the back seats are superior to other sedans for your legs, head, and everything else.

The 1.8T SE is equipped with a 170-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, turbocharged, and you get a choice between either a 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 6-speed automatic. In no way did this car feel under-nourished - on both city streets and freeways, it felt up to the task of on ramps and off ramps and making assertive passing moves. This month in Northern California was a seemingly endless parade of storms, both heavy and light. The Passat seemed to shrug its Germanic shoulders, yawning, as if I had never encountered a winter in Munich. (Actually I have, but that seemed to matter not at all)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

In the safety arena, you can feel confident with six standard airbags, including side-curtain airbags that cover front and rear occupants. Add to that standard electronic stability control, hydraulic brake assist and anti-lock brakes. If you so desire you can add lane departure warning, and this writer's recommended frontal collision warning with emergency braking and a blind-spot monitor.

The strongest item in the plus column for me is the handling and economy. The Passat handles cleanly and precisely, smooth in the curves and steady on the straights. 34 mpg on the highway makes it quite beneficial on the budget.

If you are jotting down possibles for your sedan test drive list, it's a good idea to start with the Passat.

Front head room 38 "
Rear head room 38 "
Front shoulder room 57 "
Rear shoulder room 57 "
Front leg room 42.4 "
Rear leg room 39.1 "
Luggage capacity 15.9 Cu.Ft.
Maximum cargo capacity 15.9 Cu.Ft.
Standard seating 5

Length 191.9 "
Body width 72.2 "
Body height 58.5 "
Wheelbase 110.4 "
Ground clearance 5.4 "
Curb 3,263 Lbs.
Gross weight 4,519 Lbs.

Base engine size 1.8 Liters
Base engine type I-4
Horsepower 170 Hp
Horsepower rpm 4,800
Torque 184 Lb-Ft.
Torque rpm 1,500
Payload 1,091 Lbs.
Maximum towing capacity 1,000 Lbs.
Drive type Front-Wheel
Turning radius 18.2 ''

Fuel tank capacity 18.5 Gal.
EPA mileage estimates 23 City / 34 Hwy