Filling in specific details of the aggressive marketing strategy it originally outlined when the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat made its debut last January at the Detroit Auto Show, VW confirmed that the entry-level Passat S model will start at $20,765, nearly $7,200 less than the vehicle it replaces, when it goes on sale this fall. In addition to that substantial sticker slice, this first made-in-America and designed-for-Americans Passat will benefit from an equally significant growth spurt. The net result is that this mid-size four-door will not only be priced more in line with prime rivals like the Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Camry, it also will be more closely scaled to those foes.
As indicated at its reveal, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat will be available in three distinct trim levels: S, SE and SEL. All will come with a long and dedicated list of standard features headed by a full array of power assists, dual-zone climate control, multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and best-in-class rear-seat legroom. The Passat S will only be available with the 170-horsepower/2.5-liter five-cylinder engine and choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. However buyers of the the SE and SEL will be able to choose from that base motivator as well as a 280-horsepower/3.6-iter VR6 gasoline engine paired with the six-speed DSG dual-clutch autoshifter and VW's 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel four that's expected to deliver 43 mpg on the highway and boast a per-tank range of nearly 800 miles.
The 2012 Passat will be available in 15 different basic configurations with the SE grade opening at $24,495 and the SEL range starting at $29,165 and extending to $33,720. Depending on trim and package choices, the new Passat will offer a wide range of upscale features, including leather upholstery, the choice of VW's RNS 315/510 Navigation systems and the dedicated Fender Premium Audio System.