2014 – 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI Review

2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI this is the only midsize sedan sold in America right now that has a diesel engine underneath the hood and trust me this is not your father’s Oldsmobile definitely not my father’s as ‘mobile either because that’s exactly what I learned how to drive in a 1982
oldsmobile cutlass Sierra diesel very

much like the current generation Honda
Accord the Passat is very elegant and restrained something that I’ve definitely liked in this segment I think that the Mazda 6 and the Ford Fusion are probably the most attractive entries in the segment but I would definitely tie this with the Honda Accord as second best looking right here in the midsize sedan segment I think that this general kind of styling will age better than the swoopy lines that you find in the current generation Kia and Hyundai products definitely more attractive than the current generation Toyota Camry we
have this very horizontal front

Volkswagen grille appear it definitely
looks like all the other Volkswagen products going on in America the other thing you need to know about the Passat is that they’ve really tried to target it a little bit down market compared to the previous generations of the Passat pricing is a little bit lower we don’t have the same kind of luxury features that you used to be able to find in the Passat maybe about 10 years ago or so the side profile of the Passat is fairly plain just like most entries in this segment I have called a number of those other entries boring and that same descriptor would probably have to apply to the Passat as well I do find this general look elegant however something that appeals to me one thing to note right back here is the rear door and
that’s because the Passat in this

generation is a decent amount bigger
than prior generations of the Passat for North America because this is not the European Passat this is a North American exclusive Passat it’s a little bit bigger to compete with the likes of the Honda Accord the Camry as well as the Ford Fusion the same simple and elegant styling continues around the back we have a single chrome strip running along the back right here we have a single chrome exhaust tip over there for the TDI model and really the only way you know that this is the TDI model is by this little TDI badge right here so there’s no funky blue headlamps or blue badges or blue grill inserts or anything like that going on for the turbo diesel model just this little TDI badge right here under the hood we have this 2-liter
turbo diesel engine it produces 140

horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque
and of course to use as a turbocharger making it very different from those old Mobil Diesel’s that I used to drive when I was a kid this is a little bit less powerful than the planned Mazda 6 diesel which is a 2.2 litre 173 horsepower engine with 310 pound feet of torque but I am told that this engine is fairly easy to tune if you’re willing to risk your warranty by installing an aftermarket ECU on it this engine is mated to either your choice of a 6-speed manual transmission that’s available in the SE model only or a 6-speed DSG like our vehicle is equipped right now one thing that bugs me a little bit about the Passat is right here because even though the Passat requires diesel exhaust fluid you won’t find the filler neck right here with the diesel fluid you’ll find it in the trunk to fill the exhaust fluid yourself you
have to go into the trunk and then right

here on the right side is where you’ll
find the filler port for the diesel exhaust fluid of course have to use a funnel and you do risk getting that exhaust fluid on the inside of your car fortunately doesn’t really stink but I do find that just to be a little bit of a pain versus other cars where they put the diesel exhaust fluid filler right there with a diesel filler front seat comfort and the Passat is very good but it’s not necessarily my favorite in the segment and that comes down to the seat adjustability this seat adjustment mechanism allows you to raise and lower at the back of the seat but not the front of the seats that front seat portion is always fixed kind of made my legs go to sleep we do have a two-way adjustable lumbar support and a multi-position memory right here in the seat along with a tilt

telescoping steering wheel you should

spend a decent amount of time checking out the seats in a car because what I find annoying to me may not be annoying to you what meets my body shapes requirements may not meet your body shapes requirements so that is something very important to keep in mind these seats are not terribly heavily bolstered which might make it easier for larger people to find comfortable seating positions in the Passat because the Passat has grown in this generation these rear seats aren’t enormous sitting behind myself I still have about a foot of legroom left over here if I move over to the right side of the car this front seat was adjusted for a six foot five passenger I still have about three inches of legroom left behind that front seat these bottom seat cushions are a little bit close to the floor for my tastes but they are definitely suitable for children who will find them more comfortable this rear armrest has to fix
position cupholders and a little storage

cubby right there it is fairly
comfortable because we’re in the SEL model our seats are covered in this leather as well as faux suede fabric a nice touch in the back of the Passat is the fact that these rear door panels aren’t noticeably cheaper than the front door panels that does happen a lot in cars where the rear plastics tend to get harder and nastier than the front plastics that’s not going on here in the Passat these aren’t exactly class leading still but they are very nice we do have a power lock and unlock button in the rear which is kind of an interesting twist let’s take a quick look around the interior the Passat we have height adjustable front seat belts there for the driver and front passenger
I do apologize for the lighting it is a

little bit bright and harsh today our
front seats are covered in the same leather and suede fabric as I showed you in the rear seats that’s what it looks like there if we move on to the front door panels you’ll notice that this is fake wood but it is very believable fake wood it’s probably the best fake wood that I’ve seen lately soft touch upper panels and the doors hard touch lower panels with a soft touch door armrests right there and this portion right here is also pleather moving over to the dashboard we have this classic Volkswagens simple and elegant styling going on with a fairly flat dashboard that goes all the way across to the single hump that holds the instrument cluster right there for the driver moving down the center console we have two large air vents these do not have open and closed knobs that was one obvious cost-cutting measure in this generation of Passat moving down we have Volkswagens standard infotainment head unit if you want to know more about this then just go ahead and click that link at the bottom of your screen we’re not going to clutter up these video reviews with infotainment reviews so click on over there if you want to know more about this below that we have our two zone climate control we also have our heated seat buttons right there we have a storage cubby right in front of the
shifter and this also houses a 12-volt

power outlet we have these shifter for
our DSG transmission as well as our start/stop button that’s because we’re in a model with keyless go these are button blanks around the shifter module they would be used for other added features if our Passat had them moving further down we have two large cupholders obviously designed for the American market in mind easily capable of storing large takeout cups then we have our center armrest and if we open that you won’t find a usual USB port in this car like you would in something like an American or Japanese car instead we have a regular old auxilary input there at 12 outlet and then we have this funky Volkswagen Multimedia Interface device cable which is optional it’s not included with your Passat at this time uses a proprietary Volkswagen connector there and then it gives you an Apple dot connector there you can also get one with a USB input this does work well with modern iOS devices with apple’s adapter over on the driver side we have a typical volkswagen for dial instrument cluster you can see how high that diesel revs up it revs up to about 5,000 rpm which is fairly high for a diesel it’s a

fairly simple but attractive layout we

have trip computer as well as vehicle settings going on right there in that monochromatic multi-information display right in the middle moving out to the steering wheel you can see we have Volkswagens typical three-spoke steering wheel there’s a very comfortable steering wheel has these nice sports grips up here a nice soft leather over here we’ll find our radio buttons that’s volume up and down forward backward phone button voice command button and then over here these buttons control that screen in the center of the instrument cluster with a little back button there up top we have Volkswagens version of OnStar available right here via these three buttons we have an info button a service button and an SOS button and this little knob right here controls the center if this is kind of an interesting Volkswagen Audi Group thing you twist this knob to how much open you want your Sun or if I can’t think of how better to describe that so if you want your sunroof only to be halfway open you twist it to there and then if you move back you’ll see that
the sunroof is about halfway in its

tracks if you want it open all the way
you rotate the knob completely like that and that causes the sunroof to open the rest of the way same thing if you want to close the sunroof so if you want to close the sunroof most of the way then you can set the knob to that position right there and then the sunroof will move to that position the Passat scores 8 out of 10 points in our exclusive trunk comfort index because we have a fairly large area back here we also gain a few extra points because there’s enough room under this load floor to handle a full-size spare tire now admittedly the Passat TDI does not come with a full-size spare tire it does come with a doughnut but if you’re a guy like me that we really rather have a full-size spare tire you can get one and you can actually fit it in the trunk of the Passat we also have one thing that I really like which is a nice grab handle on the trunk to help close it and there’s one on both sides of the trunk lid so it’s not just one-sided like you find a decent number of cars there also a few other nice touches like these rear seatback release hatches that are right
back here in the trunk rather than

inside the car so if you want to stuff
something long in the car you don’t have to go in the car to lower this rear seat back you can just pull this lever and then jam your long item in the trunk and fold the rear seat down if you’re watching this video from Europe and you’re thinking to yourself this Passat doesn’t look quite like the Passat that I’m used to then you’re right this is a North American Passat and it’s quite different than the European market Passat in America you can still buy a version of the European passant it’s called the Volkswagen CC it has underpinnings and interior that’s relatively similar to the European Passat but this North American Passat is quite a different car it’s actually built an entirely different platform it’s the NMS platform from Volkswagen for new midsize sedan this platform was designed to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord and its really obvious dynamically out on these roads this just doesn’t feel as engaging as the Passat CC otherwise known as the Volkswagen CC these days it does handle very well compared to a
Toyota Camry or you know Chevy Malibu

something like that but it’s just not as
engaging as the Passat or the Passat CC the steering is numb but accurate very much like the Honda Accord a namaz de6 and the ride is fairly soft in the Passat being that this takes third place in this segment in my mind behind the Mazda 6 which is first in terms of handling and feel out on the road and the next is the Honda Accord I think that I personally prefer the way the Honda Accord feels out on the road versus this Passat but the Passat does very well for itself acceleration is fairly average for the four-cylinder midsize sedan segment slotting right in there with the rest of the competition from the 4-cylinder Mazda 6 to the four-cylinder Ford Fusion the Camry in the Accord etc of course I’m not talking about any of the turbocharged versions of those just the regular naturally aspirated gasoline versions one thing to keep in mind is that the Mazda 6 will be available with a turbo diesel engine we’re told by December of this year so it’s very very soon from now and that engine is supposed to be about 30 horsepower more powerful than the engine found in this Passat it also has a decent amount more torque so we do expect that to be a little bit faster than this Passat TDI out on the road when you’re driving along like this it’s really difficult to tell this transmission is anything other than a regular automatic transmission
but let’s

a little bit about what a DSG is a lot

of people seem to complain about DSG transmissions but I think that’s really just that a lot of people especially Auto reviewers don’t like thinking outside the normal conventional automatic transmission box the DSD transmission really is just an automated manual it’s actually – automated manuals one of those manual transmission handles the even gears the other one handles the odd years but the big thing you need to know is that it’s a manual transmission it has a clutch and it shifts gears and so it feels very much like someone who’s driving a manual very very well so if we’re on the slope like we are right here and we stop the car after a few seconds of releasing the brake pedal you’ll start rolling backwards and that’s because the car doesn’t want to slip the clutch to try and burn it out or anything like that you have to press the gas pedal in order to get you moving again you also get that slight feeling of holding a brake and holding the gas pedal down in a regular clutch driven car if you’re used to the salt the whole parking brake trick it has that same sort of feel going on there when you’re taking off on a hill and if your hillside is a little bit slippery or a little bit gravelly like this gravel road that we’re on right now then you can get just a little bit of wheel slip that you wouldn’t find in a traditional automatic the payback however is fuel economy a fuel economy is excellent in all of the DSG equipped vehicles when you compare them to the
regular automatic vehicles you do save a

decent amount there and in my mind it’s

definitely worth it in many ways the internals of a DSG transmission are also simpler if you’re thinking that maybe this is a much more complicated transmission so it’s prone to fantastic failure there’s actually a little bit less going on in transmissions like this because there no planetary gear sets which means they’re actually fewer moving parts inside let’s talk about fuel economy because that’s what the TDI is supposed to be all about we’ve been averaging 36 to 37 miles per gallon in the TDI over our 700 mile week with this car that is fairly good in this segment but you do have to keep in mind that diesel is more expensive and that diesel exhaust fluid costs some additional money as well that number is better than the 35 mile per gallon combined EPA score that Volkswagen is claiming for the Passat TDI however it’s not quite as good as the gasoline-electric hybrid models in this segment most notably that new Honda Accord Hybrid which gets 47 miles per gallon combined but easily exceeded its EPA numbers in our testing if you’re trying to decide between a diesel or gasoline Derk hybrid for your next car and you’re really just concerned about fuel economy then you need to ask yourself what your commute is like if your commute is very highly intensive and by that I mean very steady speeds relatively level roadway surfaces between 50 and say 70 miles per
hour or so the new diesel is probably

going to be the more fuel-efficient car

for you if however your commute involves a lot of stop and go traffic a lot of city traffic or a lot of low-speed driving then a hybrid is probably going to deliver the best fuel economy for you something along the lines of the Ford Fusion the Toyota Camry or even the new Honda Accord Hybrid the new Honda Accord Hybrid did give us the best numbers so far in this midsize sedan segment I averaged about 48 to 49 miles per gallon in that Accord Hybrid when we last had it I haven’t had it on my regular commute but we do expect to see it very soon either way you slice it that mile per gallon in a gasoline-electric hybrid car is going to be cheaper to operate than a diesel car because diesel in California especially costs about 40 cents per gallon more than a gallon of you know low-grade gasoline you also have to factor in the fact that the diesel exhaust fluid has to be filled up about every 5,000 miles or so it’s a five or six gallon tank depending on the model of car you’re in it’s about eight dollars a gallon for that diesel exhaust fluid there are some slightly lower maintenance costs going on in a diesel car versus something like a regular turbocharged gasoline car because you don’t have spark plugs and there are few other maintenance items that are just a little bit different and maintenance cycles tend to be a little bit longer but overall there’s not that much difference between something like a

gasoline-electric hybrid and a diesel in

terms of regular maintenance cost the
regular gasoline Passat starts at twenty thousand eight hundred forty five dollars but the Passat TDI starts at twenty-six thousand two hundred ninety five dollars for that SE model feature content is slightly different than the v6 model but pricing is relatively comparable it’s about a three thousand dollar upsell in order to get the diesel like for light compared to the regular gasoline Passat vs. this TDI model our model here is the fully equipped SEL version and it rings in at thirty two thousand nine hundred ninety five dollars the Passat TDI is about three thousand dollars more expensive than a regular Passat and also about three thousand dollars more expensive than something like a Honda Accord e.x with the four-cylinder engine and the CVT transmission when you take a look at fuel costs and fuel economy averages even though we’ve been averaging better fuel economy in this pissant TDI then in the Accord e^x because of fuel costs this is actually slightly more expensive to operate it’s also more expensive to purchase so you do have to keep that in mind however when you compare the Passat TDI to something like a Honda Accord Hybrid which is my current favorite hybrid in the midsize sedan market the Passat is a decent amount less expensive the Honda Accord starts at 29,000 $155 being this is not that bad of a deal however that Accord Hybrid is cheaper to operate it’s about five hundred sixty two dollars less a year to operate 15,000 miles a year based on the average driving cycle because it gets so much better fuel economy and because gasoline is cheaper in California still overall I really like the Passat TDI and this is


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