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2008 Volkswagen Passat

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2008 Volkswagen Passat Review

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The 2008 Volkswagen Passat competes with the top-of-the-line Accord and Camry models, along with such sporty sedans as Nissan's Maxima. Loaded with features—some unavailable on the competition—and offered in both sedan and wagon forms, the Passat continues to be an affordable way to enjoy true German engineering without breaking the bank. A smooth and powerful turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers excellent fuel economy and V6-like acceleration powers the base model. Those seeking a bit more power can opt for a potent, but pricy, V6. Toss in an interior fit for an Audi, and you have a compelling reason to go VW.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you appreciate the typical distinctions associated with European sedans—tangible and intangible—you might consider the Passat to be one of the best values on the road.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If its driving dynamics or design distinctions don't make an impression on you, there's little reason to choose the Passat over benchmarks like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, which both feature base models priced below $20,000.

What's Significant About This Car?

New trim names are Turbo, Komfort, Lux and VR6. New standard features include a 12-way power driver's seat, manual side sunshades and a leather steering wheel and shift knob. Adaptive bi-xenon headlamps are made standard on the VR6.

Driving the Passat

Driving Impressions If above all else you're seeking insulation from the realities of the open road, the 2008 Volkswagen Passat might leave you feeling a bit exposed—it is neither the smoothest-riding nor...

the quietest car in the category. Still, we remained comfortable after hours on the road. We liked the 280-horsepower V6, but were especially impressed by the 200-horsepower 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder that's more responsive than traditional turbocharged engines. We haven't had a chance to drive the six-speed manual, but the six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission was very good and especially reactive in its sport mode. As is characteristic of European sedans in general, the Passat behaves with stability and predictability from low to high speeds. Perhaps most significantly, the all-new Passat is wholly successful in being exactly the car it wants to be.

Dynaudio Sound System
The optional 10-speaker sound system by Dynaudio (a well-regarded Danish speaker outfit) is one of the best we've heard.

Sport Package
Offering a stiffer suspension, lower ride height and deep sport seats, the optional sport package makes the Passat even more of a driver's car.

2008 Volkswagen Passat Details
2008 Volkswagen Passat photo Interior

Inside the Passat you'll find a combination of style and refinement unmatched by any of its non-premium competitors. Quality materials and dynamic design combine in a passenger cabin that's at once both relaxing and energetic. Leatherette seating gives even the base model an upscale feel that cloth rarely delivers. Interior trim options include wood, aluminum or composite materials. Neat features include an electronic key and electronic push-button parking brake, plus a cleverly placed umbrella holder and two cooled storage compartments. The optional Dynaudio sound system is excellent. Rear-seats offer generous legroom, and a 60/40 split seatback functionally extends the Passat's already deep but narrow trunk.

Exterior

With similarities extending from their tall, V-shaped chrome grilles all the way back to their nearly identical taillights, never before have the Passat and Jetta shared such a strong family resemblance—even though the larger Passat effectively projects itself as the more sophisticated older brother. The Passat is also bigger than the last-generation car, measuring three inches longer and three inches wider. Wheel options range from 16-inch to 18-inch alloys. The big VW badge placed prominently on the rear doubles as the trunk release.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even base 2008 Volkswagen Passats feature an impressive list of standard equipment that includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, six-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, single-zone climate control, AM/FM/CD-MP3 sound system, V-Tex (simulated leather) seats, power locks/mirrors/windows (one-touch up/down in front), cruise control, comprehensive trip computer, umbrella holder, 12-way power driver's seat, keyless entry, cooled storage, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, electronic push-button parking brake, tire pressure monitoring system, 16-inch alloy wheels and a hill-hold function that prevents roll-back during hill starts. Standard passive safety equipment includes front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags, plus crash-active headrests and seatbelt pretensioners. Active safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), plus stability and traction controls.

Optional Equipment

The Passat's list of optional features is almost as impressive (or daunting) as its standard equipment list. Powertrain options include a 3.6-liter V6, six-speed automatic transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Other trim-level, package and stand-alone options include rear-side airbags, navigation system, power glass sunroof, six-CD changer, Dynaudio sound system, burled-walnut or brushed-aluminum trim, leather seating, multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, foglights, heated wiper nozzles and self-dimming rearview mirror.

Under the Hood

We really liked the 2008 Volkswagen Passat's powerful V6 engine, but came away even more impressed by the new four-cylinder turbo that provides plenty of power along with highway fuel economy close to 30 miles per gallon. The 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system operates as a front-wheel-drive unit until extra traction is needed, thereby reducing fuel consumption. The 4MOTION system is available only in combination with the V6, while the manual transmission is available only with the 2.0 turbocharged engine. Zero-to-60 miles per hour times range from 6.2 seconds to 7.4 seconds, according to Volkswagen.

2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 19/28 (automatic)

3.6-liter V6
280 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
265 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (2WD, automatic), 16/24 (AWD, automatic)

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2008 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 508 Ratings for the 2006 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Comfortable, great fit and finish.extremely reliab

By on Thursday, August 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "well rounded vehicle + great reliability"

Cons: "nothing of note"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Passat Wagon in 1988 as I had just retired and my yearly mileage went from 50K+ down to under 7K. Most of which was city driving mainly carrying my two dogs. The 2L turbo is not the most fuel efficient for the type of city driving I do (average 19mpg of premium)but longer trips gave me more than 28+ mpg. It is surprisingly sporty and will cruise at 80+ (if you are not careful). This the longest I have kept a vehicle and it has never let me down. One of the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned.I service it every 6 months, it neither leaks oil nor uses oil between services. I would confidently recommend this car to anyone. It has the added advantage of an electronic parking brake which will hold the car on any hill and release with the touch of the accelerator, has and excellent and fast AC / heating system and heated seats.(The driver's seat also warms your back)"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Don't buy it!

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: unreliable

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "nice durable interior"

Cons: "in the shop again and again......"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Interior held up pretty well and car is pretty quick with the turbo but constant repairs over the entire ownership of the car were very costly and annoying. Dash lights coming on constantly. Never ever will I buy another VW product."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great quality, reliable, good looking

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Style, power, handling, seats"

Cons: "No hands free phone, no light in trunk"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have owned this car since new and the quality, power, handling have exceed my expectations. I am trading my VW in on an Audi, and am going to be sorry to let it go. No issues with reliability, comfortable, and a great daily driver."

13 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Love this car. Very classy, does everything well

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"First VW I've ever owned, and I'm not sure I can ever buy Japanese or American again. Car has very nice "feel" for the road, especially on highway, where it will cruise serenely at 90 mph. I regularly drive 100+ miles, and it's the most comfortable car I've driven, makes traffic seem less bothersome. Interior is absolutely first-class, a real European luxury automobile (I have the highest trim level w wood accents). Lots of smart design touches and amenities. A very upscale car. Reliability has been OK, but repairs can get expensive. I purchased as pre-owned certified w 30K on it, and now have over 90K, just beginning to experience some repair costs, ouch, but still love to drive this car."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

A great Car given regular Dealer Service

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "nice ride and handling"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I am pretty loyal VW customer. I have had many and as long as you take care of them by having all the recommended maintenance done they are excellent cars."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Excellent Handling but Expensive Repairs

By on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "excellent handling, good highway mileage"

Cons: "Only 16 mpg city not 20 mpg stated"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I am really satisfied with my Passat 3.6 4 Motion wagon but the repair work is quite expensive. For example, a new headlight will cost around $425 installed at a dealer (they told me the front bumper had to be removed) but around $225 at a certified shop (they did not have to remove the front bumper so go figure that out) which was quite surprising to me. I have the lower profile version with oversize wide tires and the car handles like an expensive European sedan car. I am also impressed with the great acceleration. On a side note, I have never used the paddle shifters or Triptronic and I am not sure why both had to be installed. As for the interior, I have not had any issues at all so far but for the exterior, the rims seem to ding and scratch fairly easily. Be careful with the low profile front end because scraping curb parking bumpers can be an issue"

15 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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