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2012 Volkswagen Passat

Overview
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2012 Volkswagen Passat Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

If we were to describe the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan in as few words as possible, we'd go with "more for your money." Compared to the previous-generation Passat , this all-new, just-for-North-America sedan is bigger, costs a lot less, and comes with more stuff standard. In other words, it's the automotive equivalent of the extra-value meal at your local fast food joint. But rest assured, the refined on-road German manners that appealed to many buyers in the midsize-sedan market over the years haven't been removed from this Passat iteration. If you're looking for a practical family sedan that is also fun to drive, the new VW Passat is a worthy contender for your hard-earned dollar.

You'll Like This Car If...

Looking for a roomy, midsize sedan that offers an assortment of powertrains and a healthy amount of standard content like dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and keyless entry, all for a starting price in the low $20K range? Try the 2012 Volkswagen Passat on for size.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although starting in the $20K price sweet spot, adding options (like an automatic transmission or a USB port) will quickly up the total for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan. And if you're looking for a family 4-door that stands out visually on the road, the sharp-looking Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima will draw more attention.

What's New for 2012

The Volkswagen Passat sedan is not only larger, better equipped and much lower in price for 2012. It's also tailor-made just for North America, in North America.

Driving the Passat

Driving Impressions The 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan has grown substantially to appeal to North American sensibilities, but even though it's now a larger car, the new Passat is lighter and delivers a...

refined road-going experience. Its new suspension – including a 4-link independent rear setup – cancels out most road imperfections, and body roll is nicely controlled on tight curvy roads. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder will undoubtedly be the volume leader of the Passat's engines and is a perfectly fine around-town commuter, but if you want more zip in your drive, the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine is where you'll get your smiles. Its minimal turbo lag and plenty of low-end torque make a trip of any length a more pleasurable experience. The final feather in the VW Passat's cap: Whether you choose the 2.5-liter in-line 5, the TDI or the V6, this German sedan is one quiet ride. That's a good thing, because with segment-leading rear legroom, passengers sitting there won't need to yell to be heard.

Optional Fender Sound System
Fender's first foray into automotive sound, this 9-speaker, 400-watt system developed with Panasonic provides well-balanced and clear sound.

TDI
Offering up to 43 miles per gallon on the highway, this clean-burning diesel engine can return nearly 800 miles per tankful. Whether you can survive for that long without a rest-stop break is another matter.

2012 Volkswagen Passat Details
2012 Volkswagen Passat photo Interior

The 2012 VW Passat isn't flashy inside. Think clean lines and tasteful - but not overdone – chrome. Lower-end Passats can look vanilla, but spending a little more and moving up to the Premium level adds Autumn Nut Burl wood trim detail that brings some visual interest to the cabin. Base S models come with standard cloth seating surfaces, while SE models get V-Tex leatherette and SEL models receive the full leather treatment with suede-like "Dinamica" inserts. And while we're on the topic of seats, thanks to its longer wheelbase, rear seat passengers now enjoy 39.1 inches of legroom - which is more than any other current midsize sedan, and more than the longer and wider "4-door coupe" VW CC.

Exterior
2012 Volkswagen Passat photo

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat may not be as distinctive-looking as the Passats that came before it, but its new looks should serve it well over time. It's now sleeker and more angular in appearance, sporting a 3-bar horizontal grille and pronounced side crease lines that draw attention to the sedan's increased length. This length also allows for a more sizeable trunk – with 15.9 cubic-feet of space, it's a nearly a cubic foot larger than the trunk in the Honda Accord, which the EPA classifies as a large car. Sadly, the VW Passat Wagon is no more, so if you're looking for a family-friendly front-wheel-drive hatchback, consider a VW Jetta SportWagen, Audi A3, Acura TSX Wagon or Honda Crosstour.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

For less than $21,000 (including destination), a 2012 Volkswagen Passat S sedan comes equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, cloth seating, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 3-year/36,000-mile maintenance program. Hoping for a USB port to plug your mobile device into? You'll have to move out of the base Passat to get it.

Optional Equipment

With a lot of available options, it's easy to spend more on a 2012 VW Passat. Worth noting: Vegan-friendly V-Tex leatherette seating, a Fender Premium audio system, an iPod interface and a quick-shifting 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. For a little more oomph in your daily drive, a 3.6-liter V6 or 2.0-liter 4-cylinder clean diesel engine are also on the menu.

Under the Hood

The 2012 VW Passat sedan offers three engine choices: A 2.5-liter in-line-5 shared with the smaller Jetta, a turbocharged 2.0-liter in-line-4 diesel with direct injection (TDI), and a 3.6-liter V6. There are also four transmissions available: a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic and a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission direct shift gearbox (DSG). If how much you spend at the pump is important to you, you'll be interested to know that the TDI can return a class-leading 43 mpg on the highway when matched with the manual transmission. In order to get comparable fuel economy with any other internal-combustion-engine-motivated sedan, you'd have to move down from the midsize segment.

2.5-liter in-line-5
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (manual), 22/31 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line-4, turbodiesel
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/43 (manual), 30/40 (DSG Automatic)

3.6-liter V6
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (DSG Automatic)

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2012 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 156 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

worst car I have ever owned

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "none"

Cons: "no leg room, to many blind spots,"

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

"I have a 2013 Passat. It is the worst car I have ever owned. First of all the car has to many blind spots. It has plenty of leg room in the back seat, but limited leg room in the front. After being in the car a couple of hours, my legs start to cramp. I would never own another one. I am used to driving Toyotas and that is what I will be buying in the future."

Great gas milage, interior room, classic style

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas milage, reliability, styling"

Cons: "Dated entertainment system, hard plastics"

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

"If you like timeless styling, 35-40 miles per gal highway, turbo pep, roomy interior and German handling and ride, you just might like this car. According to Consumer Reports, the Passat is a top reliability pick. On the negative side, the entertainment system is a little dated. Fewer Apps than the competition. But being over 65, I find that refreshing. To cut down on pricing, VW uses a lot of hard plastic, although tastefully."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Mileage exceeds eps

By on Thursday, April 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Mileage, highway ride and very roomy ."

Cons: "Telephone reception."

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

"Over the road ride and performance excellent smooth ride but still,fun to drive and has that German road feel. Hands fee telephone clarity is only negative. Initiate take off in 25 mph zones a little slow but sport mode cures thatband love the trans. I would buy another but would add the navigations. Also I Prefer the endurance of the Leatherette to my previous passat leather that showed wear at 30,000 miles Hwy mileage on trips have been as high as 49-50 mpg"

21 people out of 35 found this review helpful

Love it as much now s when I test drove it.

By on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Size, power of the 3.6. Handling"

Cons: "Seats are hard."

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

"Have had the Passat Since June 2012. Have not had any problems other than the coolant light came on twice due to a slightly low amount. I am 6'4" 340lbs and this car has ample room. You can comfortably seat 5 people or four adults. I carried an 8ft long carpet with no problem. Works well at the grocery store and even at the stock up trips to Sams Club. Drove the Ford Taurus on a two hour trip (BTW I am a Ford guy) and it could not compare to the Passat."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

TDI SE 6 speed manual is the best one

By on Sunday, March 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, quiete and tourquey little diesel."

Cons: "Need to learn to drive manaul ecconomically."

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

"I typically get 47MPG combined hwy /city. Diesel is 10% above unleaded around Colorado. Recently drove to California and averaged 51.1MPG, first leg was 687 miles on 3/4 of a tank. Why go hybrid or electric? Simple diesel lowers driving cost so low it is no longer the expensive part to driving. No service problems in 45K miles. My 30K service was only $400 with service before that paid by VW."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very good value in midsize sedan.

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,250

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quality of construction and ride. Comfort."

Cons: "Poor original tires."

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

"This car has a solid feel to its construction and ride. I have the manual 5-speed. It is fun to drive and handles well in corners and over bumps. The interior is quite comfortable. The lumbar support in the driver's seat is excellent. Features include dual climate zones, heated seats, roomy trunk and back seats, automatic headlamps, directional lights on the side view mirrors. etc. This an all-around very good car for the price. The gas mileage has been consistently 25-26 mpg combined. The only negative I experienced with this car was that the original Hankook tires were completely worn at 25,000 miles."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?