2014 – 2015 Volkswagen Passat Review

2014 Volkswagen Passat this particular model is the 1.8 liter TSI in the SEL trim line now that 1.8 liter engine is what’s brand-new for the 2014 model year because last year and even in early 2014 the base engine was a 2.5 litre five-cylinder engine and now we get this
brand new 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine

that’s also shared with the Audi a3 1.8
t overall Volkswagen styling has always been elegant and restrained fairly conservative very much like the Honda Accord up front we have this very attractive Volkswagen corporate grille it’s been sprouting its way across Volkswagen products in America we have this 3 bar horizontal grill rather large Volkswagen logo right up front now over time Volkswagen has been trying to reorient the Passat as more of a direct competitor to something like a Honda Accord a toad a Camry or a Ford Fusion that means that this generation of
Passat is no longer the discount outing

so you won’t find some of the fancier
features on this vehicle like you used to in the Passat so you won’t find HID headlamps or LED headlamps you won’t find radar cruise control or that sort of thing going on in the Passat anymore the side profile the basalt is elegant and restrained as well we have the single character line that runs from the headlamps all the way across to the tail lamps and it’s very straight very vertical it’s difficult to see in this refrigerator white model but you can tell the side profile in this car isn’t quite as expressive as you’ll find in the Mazda 6 or even the Ford Fusion something along those lines and if you’re watching this video and you’re in Europe or some of the other countries around the world
you may be asking yourself this Passat

doesn’t look like my Passat why is this
different than the other one the answer is this is the North American Passat the North American Passat is loosely based on the same platform as the European Passat but this is considerably larger this is over 4 inches longer than that European Passat it also has a 4 inch longer wheelbase and most of that additional room goes right here to the rear doors and the rear passenger compartment Americans tend to like rear seat legroom and that’s really going on in spades in this posad we also have a trunk right back here which is over 15 cubic feet placing this fairly average in the midsize sedan category for America but definitely large for the rest of the world the character line continues across the taillamps right here onto the trunk lid we have a single

chrome exhaust tip over there in our 1.8
liter TSI model overall I give the Passat 8 out of 10 points in exterior styling I think that the styling on the Honda Accord and the Passat will age a little bit better than some of the other entries out there most notably the Camry as well as the Sonata and the Optima I think that overall this is a very attractive design I do have ever think that the Mazda 6 on the Ford Fusion are by far the most attractive entries in this segment right now and I give them 10 at a 10 overall in this midsize sedan category if you’re taking a look at 2014 thoughts on the dealer lot you may notice that there are still a few 2.5 litre five-cylinder models still hanging around that was the base engine before this 1.8 liter turbocharged engine replaced it they both produce 170 horsepower and this engine produces 184 pound-feet of torque which is a little
bit more than that outgoing 2.5 liter

engine the big difference is not the
torque number itself but the range because that five cylinder engine produced all of its torque at 4200 rpm and this engine produces 184 pound-feet of torque in a range from 1500 rpm all the way up to four thousand seven hundred fifty rpm which really makes it a great deal more drivable than that 2.5 liter engine Volkswagen also tells us that this engine is 16% more efficient than that outgoing five cylinder engine this engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission by default in the SSC and sport trims and the 6-speed Auto as default in the rest of the trims you can’t spec up that 6-speed auto in any term of course this transmission isn’t a dual clutch transmission like you’ll find on the diesel or the v6 versions of the Passat this is a traditional

automatic speaking of the diesel you

still can get the 2-liter turbo diesel
engine it produces 140 horsepower and that is mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed DSG there’s also still that 3.6 liter v6 engine producing 280 horsepower and it’s again made it to that same 6-speed DSG transmission now in this generation of North American Passat everything is front wheel drive so there’s no auto drive option anymore in North America the fuel economy in the 1.8 liter model that we’re taking a look at right now comes in at 24 miles per gallon city 35 highway and 28 combined with the manual transmission and 24 miles per gallon City at 34 highway 28 combined with the automatic transmission there’s very little difference between the manual and the automatic in this particular vehicle the 3.6 liter v6 rounds out the bottom of the chart at 20 miles per gallon city 28 highway 23 combined and the TDI is by far the fuel economy winner at 31 miles per gallon city

43 highway and 35 combined if you get

the manual transmission a little bit lower with that 6-speed DSG during my week with this car however I have been averaging a very impressive twenty-nine point five miles per gallon which is relatively close to the EPA combined average of the turbo diesel model overall in terms of front seat comfort the Passat scored seven out of ten points I do find these seats just about as comfortable as a Ford Fusion I don’t find them quite as comfortable as the Accord or the Nissan Altima Nissan Altima has some really supremely comfortable seats now Volkswagen seems to have a typo on their website they call this a twelve way power seat with four-way adjustable lumbar support but when I double checked on that one it

looks like the top and seat on the SEL

model is just a six way power seat with a two way adjustable power lumbar support sometimes they’ll call that an 8 way power seat now the important thing to keep in mind about a seat like this is that the front seat portion does not move up and down so you can’t move the rear of the seat bottom cushion up like this or down like that but you cannot move this front seat portion up and down and that did prove a little bit less comfortable for me than some of the other options out there they should always spend a decent amount of time in a front seat before you buy a car because we’re whereas this bothered me just a little bit it may not bother you at all we also have a tilt telescopic steering column with a decent range of motion a question I get frequently about the Passat is how I feel about the steering wheel being shifted slightly off to the right right now the camera is in the same position as the driver’s head would be it’s positioned right on top of the headrest and you can really see from this angle the steering wheel is definitely slightly offset to the right versus the center of the driver’s seat this really didn’t bother me there are a decent number of cars out there on the market that do have a steering wheel slightly offset to one side or the other this seems to be a remnant of the fact that this basalt is wider than the

European Passat even though they share

some common routes so that’s probably why the steering wheel is slightly offset to the right it really didn’t bother me I do know a number of people are bothered by this so be sure and comment in the comment section down below and let me know how you feel about it the Passat scores nine out of ten points when it comes to rear seat comfort we get seat bottom cushions that are a little bit higher off the floor than some of the options out there we also get an incredible amount of headroom Headroom is severely limited something like a Ford Fusion you do get a decent amount less Headroom about two or three inches less in that Ford Fusion in reality and we have an awful lot of rear legroom here I have about a foot between this front seat adjusted for me at 6 feet tall and myself sitting in the back seat it’s a huge amount of rear seat legroom even if I move over right here too other side of the vehicle with this front seat in justin for a 6-foot five passenger i had in the car it’s all the way back in its tracks i still have about four or five inches of legroom left there as is a problem with many
modern cars if i do lean completely back

in the seat and rest my head on the
headrest my hair is brushing the ceiling and that wouldn’t happen in something like a camry or in accord because they do have a slightly higher roof right back there at the very back of the car but for the average seating position where you’re not resting your head on the seat you’re just sitting upright in the seat it’s not really a problem initially in this generation of us thought volkswagen ditched the rear seat air vents but they did bring them back for the 2013 model year and you will find them in 2014 models as well in higher-end trims of the Passat we have a very comfortable and large center armrest with two large cupholders an additional storage cubby right there as well we also have a ski pass-through right back here in addition to the split 60/40 folding seat backs let’s take a more detailed look at the interior we have height adjustable seatbelts for both the driver and the front passenger and we have two-way adjustable headrests on both the driver and the front passenger seats our particular model here has the leather and faux suede

seats this portion right around here is
leather and then the portion in the middle is faux suede there’s also a cloth seat as well as a pleather seat available to help reduce cost versus the last generation Passat volkswagen has reduced the plastics quality on the interior not that the majority of customers will mind because this is now very similar to the other vehicles in this same class so we still have a soft touch upper soft touch right here soft touch armrests but you will find hard plastics here in the door and then lower in the door as well we do have faux wood trim on our SEL model our model has the optional fender audio system you can see a little Fender logo right there by the tweeters in the dashboard we also have fabric code eight pillars there which make a very attractive cabin and if we zoom out you can see the sort of two-level – concept going on right over here now if we look more centrally on the dashboard you can see that this two-level dashboard hides the defogger event which is right behind this upper portion of the dashboard it also means that you can’t see the windshield wipers for most seating positions in the Passat
which is kind of a nice touch we do have

a soft touch upper dashboard in all
Passat models on the passenger side we have a relatively large glovebox this was easily able to accommodate a tablet computer this is also where you’ll find the tire pressure warning reset button as well as the valet mode button we have a large self right up here which is where you can hide to your instruction manual and it is kind of a tight fit but you can see you can jam it right up in there and that saves you a lot of space because doesn’t really interfere with the rest of the glovebox room that is kind of a handy feature moving over to the dashboard we have two large air vents right up here high in the dashboard these move side to side and up and down but they do not close like the outboard vents they’ll find your hazard light button right here in an analog clock between the two air vents because we’re in the SEL model we have this RN s510 infotainment system if you want to know more about that then go ahead and click the banner at the bottom of your screen this does have navigation with an iPod interface as well below that we have
standard tool zone climate control in

the SEL model now this is important
because most other competitors out there do offer dual zone climate control in low-end and mid-range models and some of them even offer dual zone climate control as standard in all of their models and to the basalt you will only find dual zone climate control at this time in the SEL trim will the dual zone climate control we have a storage cubby right here and we have a 12-volt power port right there as well we have the keyless entry and keyless go and our Passat so we have a start button right here these button blanks in theory would be for future features wrapped right around the shifter and we have a very traditional automatic style shifter with a drive over here a sport down below that and then we move over to the right to force shift up and down certain models of the Passat do offer shift pedals but our particular tester does not have them we have a very traditional handbrake right here next to two very large cupholders these were easily able to accommodate the largest take out sodas I could throw at them the fairly large center armrest it moves forward and backward and also opens to reveal a fairly large storage cubby right down there you can also see we have a small storage compartment right here between this and the cupholders in the center console inside you’ll find your stereo mini auxilary input as well as a 12-volt power port and the MDI auxilary input
right here as well this does use a

custom cable by Volkswagen so you can

see right here I have an iPod or iPhone cable with an apple lightning adapter this does work very well with modern Apple devices you simply have to plug it in right there the downside of this is that you are left with a relatively short cable so you can’t use a standard USB cable for this interface well it does work well with all the devices I was able to connect over on the driver side we have a very attractive four day layout we also have a monochromatic multi-information display nestled right between the tachometer and the speedometer we have phone information navigation audio MFI is the trip computer and vehicle settings as well then we’re right back to the phone the steer is attractive and very functional we have sport grips right over here it’s a three spoke design these controls control that multi-information display right between the speedometer tachometer back button okay button over here we have dedicated track forward-backward phone button voice command button and volume up and down certain models of the Passat we’ll also add paddle shifters right back here on either side of the steering wheel below the head left controls on the left side of the driver we also have an additional storage cubby right there in the dashboard Volkswagen continues to use this very innovative rotary control for the sunroof we push up in order to open the sunroof to event position pull down in order to close the sunroof and then we rotate to open the

sunroof and so you can select how open

you want your center if you want your sunroof only open halfway you rotate the knob half way and it’ll stop there a quarter of the way you just turn that and it’ll stop there etc all the way closed you rotate the knob back to the closed position I do find that quite handy behind the center of controls you’ll find the three buttons from Volkswagens carnet system you can think of this sort of as Volkswagens version of General Motors OnStar the system provides boundary alerts for your kids so if your kids are driving the car you don’t want them to go a certain distance outside to let you know you can also remotely access your car unlock it lock at that sort of thing get diagnostics and maintenance and you can also call for help with this SOS button right here if you should have a medical emergency the system will also contact their call center if your airbags deploy in an accident midsize sedan shoppers love their trunk room and the Passat really delivers with over 15 cubic feet of cargo room here I have the largest roller bag you can carry on a domestic flight you can fit that in the vertical position in the trunk which is quite handy right here I have a 26 inch roller bag which is beyond the size you can carry on and you can actually fit this in the trunk in that same position it actually wasn’t really very difficult to fit over six carry-on bags in this
fashion right inside the trunk you fit a

wide variety of additional luggage and

even above these carry-on bags right here there is still a little bit of room between that and the lid in the trunk an important consideration is the Passat does have hinges that do impact the cargo room however right here under the cargo load floor we have kind of a novelty it’s a doughnut spare tire and there’s enough room under that cargo load floor to actually put a full-size spare tire in the basalt which is relatively unique overall the Passat scores 8 out of 10 points this is a fairly comfortable trunk relatively easy to get inside and out and we do have to assist handles to help close the trunk lid one either side of the trunk it’s likely that you will find the 1.8 liter turbo model as well as the 2.5 litre five-cylinder model on the same lot and that’s because the 2.5 liter engine was the base engine for the first part of the 2014 model year and this 1.8 liter turbo engine is carrying on as the base engine for the rest of the model year so I am going to compare them a little bit to one another in this drive section the 5 cylinder engine may sound a little peculiar cows kind of a Dustbuster sound to it but I do find it a little bit smoother than this 4 cylinder engine I don’t really think that’s a problem since every other entry in this mid-sized sedan segment has a four-cylinder engine it’s really not a downside on the Passat

aside from smoothness however everything

is better with this 1.8 liter turbo
engine we get much better acceleration 1.2 seconds faster than that 2.5 liter engine even though we still have an automatic transmission in this model it’s a huge difference and it’s all down to the better torque curve that you find in the turbocharged engine it really makes getting into traffic and merging on freeways like this much easier than with the 2.5 liter engine whereas the old 2.5 litre five-cylinder engine was actually slower to 60 than the 2-liter turbo diesel this engine is now about six tenths of a second faster fuel economy however is the biggest difference with this 1.8 liter turbocharged engine I’ve been averaging 29.5 or so miles per gallon in this car in very mixed driving that’s over about six or seven hundred miles that’s considerably better than the outgoing 2.5 liter engine and it’s more than the 16 or 17 percent that Volkswagen was claiming it’s more about 25% in my driving highway mileage is where this 1.8 liter turbo engine truly excels however I averaged 46.2 miles per gallon on a one-way trip to work that was in the morning without the air-conditioning going on I did have to go up and over a twenty two hundred foot mountain pass but the downhill side of that mountain passes a little bit longer than the uphill side in that direction to work on my return trip from work when I did use the air conditioning my average is still lofty thirty nine point seven miles per gallon overall which is considerably better than the EPA says you will get in this car not only are those numbers really high for any midsize gasoline sedan they’re almost as high as the turbo diesel version of this same car as with any small turbocharged

engine there is still a little bit of
turbo lag especially in passing maneuvers but I really didn’t find that a problem the Passat scored fairly average at 71 decibels in my interior cabin noise test it’s not the quietest entry in the segment but neither is it the loudest the Honda Accord has strange enough become one of the quieter entries in this segment thanks to its active noise cancellation technology at 3,200 pounds the Passat is relatively light for this midsize sedan category and that really helps when it comes to breaking we scored 8 out of 10 points in my brake fade resistance test and the stopping distances were fairly short thanks to relatively wide tires the Passat also scores 8 out of 10 points when it comes to the ride thanks to this long wheelbase and the overall growth of the Passat over time even though this is still a relatively light car decent suspension tuning gives us an excellent ride out on the road we also have the lower profile tires on this particular model which do help handling but they don’t detract too much from the ride now that being said European Passat shoppers may not recognize this car as a Passat because it drives fairly differently from that European model the steering isn’t quite as direct it feels a little bit more ponderous out on the road it feels a little bit softer it rolls a little bit more in the corners and it’s not quite as engaging as the European Passat that’s just down to the tastes of American shoppers and really the direction that the market is going volkswagen just saw the writing on the wall and they really felt like they needed to compete directly with those other entries in the midsize sedan segment and as a result their sales have actually been on fire with this new

Passat it’s really no wonder because
this is exactly what American shoppers have been asking for even though the traditional Volkswagen qualities may have been dulled a little bit in this Passat it definitely still feels like a Volkswagen the steering is still more direct than you’ll find in any of the other entries out there in the segment and the handling is just about on par with the Mazda 6 which is my favorite entering the segment in terms of handling this really is a joy to drive out on the road some people complain that the steering is a little bit too firm in the facade but I think it’s just about right it’s not as firm as your average German model in Europe but it is a decent amount firmer than something like a Camry or an accord some people have questions why Volkswagen put the automatic transmission in this vehicle instead of the DSG and I think that actually was a good decision as well because for the vast majority of shoppers out there they might find the DSG just a little bit too harsh the shifts are definitely harsher than this and the behavior that DSG transmission is just a little bit different than other transmissions out on the market personally I like the DSG and I like the

way that it shifts and I can accept the

fact that it will roll back if you’re at a stop sign just like a manual transmission and Hill starts are sometimes a little bit tricky with that transmission but the average buyer this automatic transmission is going to be just fine this is a very good automatic the shifts are very crisp and they’re also very quick well the mazda6 is currently my favorite in terms of handling in this midsize sedan segment just feels a little bit more engaging a little bit more direct a little bit more connected to the road than this Passat the Passat is easily a number-two entry in this segment however the turbocharged engine really bumps this up to either being tied or tops the Mazda 6 overall in terms of drive because this is much more drivable than any of the other naturally aspirated engines out on the market this has gobs of torque and the torque happens at really low rpms that means that when I’m climbing a hill like this right here the transmission doesn’t necessarily have to downshift right now to climb this hill we’re in fourth gear but I can easily put this in sixth gear and we can still accelerate up this hill and you just couldn’t do that in any of the other 4-cylinder entries in the midsize sedan segment Ford’s 1.6 that your EcoBoost engine does have very good numbers it behaves relatively similarly to this but the power output figures are a decent amount lower than this 1.8

liter from volkswagen of course Ford’s

2-liter EcoBoost engine is an awful lot faster than this but it’s more of a v6 replacement so I would compare that more directly with a 3.6 liter v6 in the Passat for 2014 that the soft starts at $20,995 and that base model will get you bluetooth with streaming audio cloth seats as well as a five-speed manual transmission you also get lumbar support for the driver the SE model is probably my realistic base price for the Passat that’s twenty four thousand seven hundred seventy five dollars that upgrades you to a touchscreen interface for the radio system iPod interface you get heated pleather seats you also get a power driver’s seat and you still get the 5-speed manual transmission the automatic transmission is again optional on the S the SE and the sport models this model as we’ve been taking a look at right here is 31,000 $715 with the automatic transmission and this is the SEL premium fully loaded version if you want to get the fully loaded version of the v6 passant that’s gonna set you back
about $35,000 the Passat TDI is about

2200 ollars more than the 1.8 liter TSI
comparably equipped but I’m not really sure it’s that great of a buy at this point before we delve right into the TDI versus 1.8 t discussion we need to understand that mid-size sedans are very competitive in terms of pricing in fact almost all of the midsize sedan entries come within a few hundred dollars of one another you comparably equipped them or when you adjust for feature content now the Passat does arrive in various trim levels that are all bundled with equipment so this has sold very much like the Honda Accord very different than something like a Ford Fusion where the Ford Fusion has a lot of standalone

options this is very bundled so you have

to make sure that you compare like for like if you’re comparing the price tag on this to something like the Ford Fusion that’s more of an ala carte kind of car when it comes to fuel economy let’s put this in context the Honda Accord gets thirty two point five miles per gallon the Ford Fusion with the 1.6 liter EcoBoost got twenty-eight point five miles per gallon in my testing the

Camry got 27.5 with its four-cylinder option the Nissan Altima got a very lofty 31 miles per gallon with the 2.5 liter engine and actually a really good twenty seven point six miles per gallon with a 3.5 liter engine this Passat right here averaged twenty nine point five during my week of mixed driving and a Passat just like this with the TDI engine averaged thirty six point five in my week of driving now when you take a look at those numbers over there the really big takeaway from this is that the Passat 1.8 liter is only about seven miles per gallon worse than the TDI version now I know you’re gonna think that that’s a good deal on the TDI side but you have to remember that diesel is about 40 cents more expensive than gasoline especially in my area of California it’s gonna cost you twenty two hundred dollars more to get the diesel in the first place and you have to feed your diesel diesel exhaust fluid every about five to six thousand miles in order to treat the emissions when you package all of that together while you may still save money in the long term with the TDI it’s gonna take an awfully long time and most people only keep their car for about a hundred thousand miles and the payback time is a little bit longer than that the Passat is definitely a sedan that I would recommend especially if your priorities include excellent fuel economy drivability and rear seat legroom the Passat really does lag behind when it comes to entertainment as well as gadgets it also isn’t quite as exciting
on the outside as the Mazda 6 or the Ford Fusion it does have excellent

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