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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 147 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

2013 VOLKSWAGON PASSAT TDI

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "GREAT PRICE FUN TO DRIVE"

Cons: "SITS LOW TO THE GROUND."

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

"I HAVE OWNED THIS CAR FOR TWO YEARS. IT IS DEPENDABLE RIDES SMOOTH LOW ROAD NOISE. IT IS THE MOST FUN TO DRIVE VEHICLE I HAVE EVER OWNED.THE SOUND SYSTEM IS WONDERFUL , STEERING WORKS VERY WELL. THE TURBO DIESEL IS VERY AGRESSIVE (WANTS TO GO) IT TAKES OFF AND IF YOU NEED TO PASS ANOTHER CAR IT GOES."

BEST CAR EVER MADE

By on Saturday, February 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "EVERYTHING"

Cons: "NONE"

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

I am soo in love with this car! I have never been so satisfied with a vehicle like i am with this one!

"I've had 2 Jetta's in the past and I traded in my Jetta for a Scion tC.....not worth it. I was not happy from day one. So I went to the dealership Monday and traded in my tC for the 2015 Passat Sport 1.8T. I absolutely LOVE this luxurious vehicle."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

I am soo in love with this car! I have never been so satisfied with a vehicle like i am with this one!

awesome vehicle for the value

By on Saturday, February 21, 2015

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, eye-catching, its a VW"

Cons: "could use some lighting upgrades"

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

"Leased this VW to roll over some negative equity in a previous vehicle and was pleasantly surprised. Went in to look at a Jetta and left with a Passat. Rides better than some Cadillac's I've been in, can't beat the gas mileage for the power that comes from the engine, and the overall styling is pretty fun."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Outstanding TDI Passat

By on Sunday, February 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Outstanding fuel economy. Tons of rear leg room"

Cons: "None"

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

"My 2012 TDI Passat turned out to be a much better vehicle than I anticipated. I typically turn my vehicles over every two years but not this time.. The Passat has been extremely reliable and fun to drive. Im geting up to 800 miles per tank on freeway trips which I take 3 to 4 days a week. It has good looks and never lets me down. Keep up the quality control VW and I will consider my next car a TDI Passat, however, that might be quite a ways down the road."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Diesel particulate filter clogged with soot!

By on Sunday, February 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable and roomy"

Cons: "TDI can't handle short drives, buyer beware"

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

"I have owned a 2015 Passat TDI SE for three weeks. I live about a mile away from work and I drive home for lunch. I drove it on the highway during the weekend and I like how it handles. I was driving back home from the store one day when my check engine light came on, my glow plug light was flashing, my diesel particulate filter (DPF) change light came on, the multifunction display said the DPF was clogged with soot and the car became very under powered. I only had 700 miles on the car and took it to the mechanics. They took it for a "special drive." It says in the owners manual to drive it at 45 mph in 4th gear for 15 minutes if the DPF light comes on and that's what they did. That's because the diesel particulate filter needs to be hot in order to clear the emissions. I didn't find this out until after I got the car and because I only live a mile away from work it's getting clogged. The mechanic told me it was going to cost $100 if I bring it to him again for the "special drive." It could cost about $2000 to replace the filter if it gets clogged more than 95% and the worst part of it is that it's not covered under the warranty because VW sees it as "your fault" for driving short frequent trips. This is the worst engineering design I've ever heard of and VW should have a warning. I shouldn't have to change my driving habits or spend money on maintenance on a brand new car just because I live close to work. If VW warned me I would have bought a different car. I'm taking it straight back to the dealership and telling them to give me something else. This is the worst car I've ever owned."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

confort ,ice blue /wht.int and ex.fuel eco.

By on Friday, January 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "it's perfect for anyone"

Cons: "make in usa"

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

"my car is an exc.condition out side and interior , maintenance at vw dealer only with less than 21000 miles"

27 people out of 57 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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