KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The 2010 Volkswagen Passat competes with the top-of-the-line Accord and Camry models, along with such sporty sedans as Nissan's Maxima and the Mazda MAZDA6. Loaded with features – some unavailable on the competition – and offered in both sedan and wagon forms, the Passat continues to be a more affordable way to enjoy true German engineering without breaking the bank. A drastic change in the lineup last year saw the elimination of the V6 engine, manual transmission and 4MOTION options, leaving those seeking a bit more power and traction to move to the sleek CC sport sedan.
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 well below the Passat's $28,000 asking price.
What's New for 2010
The Passat's six-speed automatic transmission is replaced by Volkswagen's new DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic, which is far superior to the auto/manual gearbox it replaces. Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity is also made standard on both the Sedan and Wagon.
If above all else you're seeking insulation from the realities of the open road, the 2010 Volkswagen Passat might leave you feeling a bit exposed – it is neither the smoothest-riding nor the quietest car in the category. Still, thanks to the superb seats we remained comfortable after hours on the road. We were especially impressed by the 200-horsepower 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder that's more responsive than traditional turbocharged engines. The new six-speed DSG automatic transmission is very good, delivering instantaneous shifts with just a tap of the shifter or steering wheel mounted paddles. As is characteristic of European sedans in general, the Passat behaves with stability and predictability from low to high speeds. Perhaps most significantly, the Passat is wholly successful in being exactly the car it wants to be.
Hard Drive Navigation System
With 20 of its 30 gigabytes dedicated to music storage, the excellent navigation radio lets you transfer all your music directly into the system, negating the need to carry around CDs. The system also features DVD playback when the vehicle is in the park.
A self-draining storage compartment located in the driver's door allows convenient placement of a wet umbrella.
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. V-Tex Leatherette seating gives an upscale feel that cloth rarely delivers, but may deter some who prefer the coolness of cloth in the summer. Neat features include an electronic key and electronic parking brake, plus a center console storage box and umbrella storage in the driver's side door. The rear-seats offer generous legroom, and a 60/40 split seatback functionally extends the Passat's already deep but narrow trunk.
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 standard 17-inch to available 18-inch alloys. The big VW badge placed prominently on the rear doubles as the trunk release.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2010 Passat features an impressive list of standard equipment that includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, six-speed DSG automatic transmission, air conditioning, single-zone climate control, Premium 8 AM/FM/CD-MP3 sound system, V-Tex (simulated leather) seats, power locks/mirrors/windows (one-touch up/down in front), cruise control, fog lights, comprehensive trip computer, umbrella holder, 12-way power driver's seat, power sunroof, keyless entry, cooled storage, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, electronic push-button parking brake, tire pressure monitoring system, 17-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.
Notable Optional Equipment
The Passat's list of optional features has been reduced to just a few choices. Buyers can opt for the 30-gigabyte hard drive navigation system, rear side-impact airbags, 18-inch wheels, an iPod interface and few dealer-installed body kit packages.
Under the Hood
We love that the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo provides plenty of power along with highway fuel economy close to 31 miles per gallon. The engine feels like a V6, with no noticeable turbo lag or shortage of power, even at highway speeds. 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: 22/31
The 2010 Volkswagen Passat Komfort Sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $28,000, while the Wagon sits closer to $29,500. Compared with most of its non-premium Japanese and domestic competitors, the Passat is indeed pricier – even though our Fair Purchase Prices have reflected real-world transaction prices just below MSRP. Look beyond the badges, however, and the Passat can be a bargain when compared to many higher-end sedans with which it can go head-to-head in several areas, save prestige. In terms of resale (an important factor to consider when comparing vehicles), we expect the Passat to hold slightly better than average five year values,below the figures expected of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Mazda MAZDA6, but better than Chevrolet Malibu.