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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 164 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Excellent experience for three years of ownership

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, quiet, convenient, huge back seat no problems, high mpg."

Cons: "Radioi/Nav is slow to react. Diesel costs more."

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

"Previously owned Jetta version which was excellent experience in three years of ownership. The Passat is similar but much more comfortable and better ride with longer wheelbase. Zero problems with both. Would buy again without hesitation. Last summer, took 8,000 mile trip. Over six weeks averaged 44 mpg overall. This summer took 4800 mile trip. Over three weeks averaged 43.3mpg. Day-to-day average between 34-37 mpg. Low-end torque characteristics of the diesel provide very satisfying ride. Acceleration quite adequate for "normal" driving but you're not going to win any contests with V-6 gas version. I regard as one of the most satisfying cars ever owned. At 60+ years of age, that would be quite a few. I like a good no-problem ride. This is one."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

2014 Passat SE 1.8T, Pleased with it so far

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All around nice driving car. Alot of interior room"

Cons: "Up-date sound system and too much hard plastic"

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

"After six months of lite use, This car is more impressive than I first expected. Because of the lack of front passenger leg room, I had to trade my 2014 Honda Accord Sport for this car. Wasn't real thrilled at the time but now I'm happy I did! Pros; the 1.8T has plenty of pep around town mainly due to the great shifting 6 speed auto. Passing slower vehicles on two lane roads is very quick. It's not a neck napper but pretty darn close. Handling and ride is pure Germanic, great on long trips. A lot of leg and thigh room inside, no nee in your face anymore! Cons; The entertainment system, although very functional and simple, needs an up-date. Needs more soft touch materials inside. Although the current exterior styling is classy, it needs to be more like the Euro version. If your looking at mid-size Don't over look this car!"

At its best on long trips

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "efficiency, seats, reliability"

Cons: "takes a while for the engine to warm up in cold"

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

"Switched from 2007 Camry hybrid to 2013 tdi sel (bought used with 25k). I drive a lot, and while the car is not as spectacular on short trips, it really comes into it's own on longer trips. The ad blue can be bought for around $10 at retail stores (urea is urea), and doesn't pose a major expense. We took a 525 mile trip, all highway, and had a third of a tank of fuel left when we got there. No major issues so far."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

great vehicle for long trips

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,850

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very comfortable car."

Cons: "No rear seat A/C, heater vents"

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

"I own a '12 Passat 2.5. Many "experts" talked about that engine being noisy, but on a trip, the only noise I hear are the tires. The car is very comfortable to take on a trip. I've had some cars that tire me out after a couple of hours. This car doesn't have that problem. The latest road trip I took, I got 30 MPG doing 80 MPH. Not bad! I recommend this car."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

#4 is best so far!

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very well made automobile. 49 MPG"

Cons: "Miss red blue dash lights"

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

"Moved up from 09 Jetta TDI. On a trip to LA on the interstate averaged 49 MPG doing the speed limit plus driving in the city. Very quiet ridding car. Still has a great sound system. Drove with 5 people in the car around the city, plenty of get up and go. The back up camera is a nice feature. It's the American Passat."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Great car at a great price!

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellent equipment and gas mileage for low price"

Cons: "No ipod cable or heated mirrors"

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

"I had been looking at the Passat for a while. But when they came out with the Limited Edition model, I jumped! This car has a lot of features that their base car doesn't have, but for just a little more money. It is less than the Wolfsburg or the SE model! The things I love about this car is that it has very nice alloy wheels, rear view camera, bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, Fog Lights!!, keyless entry with pushbutton start and chrome accents around the windows. A few options this one doesn't have is the heated outside mirrors, the cable to plug in your ipod nor the new Car Net system VW has available. On a recent trip to see my grandsons play baseball (about a 200 mile round trip) I averaged almost 39 mpg. And this is a gasoline engine, not their diesel! I really like this car!"

5 people out of 7 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

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