Go

2012 Volkswagen Passat

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Volkswagen Passat Review

By

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)

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?

2012 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 184 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 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
    8.7/10

Perfect body+interior; Drives beautifully;

By on Monday, February 01, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,700

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: "Service warranties are essential today."

Cons: "Too small to sleep in. Need a van."

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

"Needed a van or I wouldn't sell, because it drives like a German sports car. $5000 in bumper-to-bumper service warranties up to 120k miles. Gap Insurance. Dent protection. Key loss protection. Tires. So, it's like a new car in all respects. Been in the garage for its entire short life. is NOT the more expensive model with moon roof and GPS. Is NOT diesel, of course, but gets 40mpg at 65 mph – 37mpg at 70mph."

Not happy with VW

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,100

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fuel milage"

Cons: "routine maintenance cost not good"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Unsatisfied with the pickup speed of car, headlights and space in trunk. Although the truck space looks big, the hinges to the truck door take up a lot of space in the truck and I find this feature inconvenient. Very dissatisfied with cost of routine maintenance of oil changes and required gas additive. I will not purchase another diesel auto. Lights for night driving are not good. Seating space is roomy."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best car I've owned

By on Saturday, January 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, torquey zip, ride/feel is tight"

Cons: "Slo-mo infortainment system"

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

"I bought my VW Passat TDI SEL Premium due to it's value, fuel mileage, and huge back seat and trunk. Am I disappointed about the VW 'diesel-gate', sure, but the car itself is fantastic for me. I am confident, despite the bad press, that VW will make things right, however painful to them it might be. I would buy another one today if I had too! I like the clean, understated classic lines of the exterior and the Germanic functional interior, both look like they won't go out of style anytime soon. I average 42 mpg in my 50/50 city/hwy commute and typically go 675 - 735 miles per tank before filling up. Low fuel prices makes it even better, but not having to stop to fill-up so often is a key reason why I like it so much. I would have given full "10's" on everything, but the infotainment system lags a bit and not as responsive as other makes. That has been fixed for 2016 models - too bad the TDI is offered for sale right now - hope it comes back!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car, beat expectations.

By on Thursday, December 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great milage, very comfortable for tall adults."

Cons: "Avoid the dealer, service takes too long."

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

"I bought this as a commuter car because of the diesel mileage. It is rated at 43 on the highway but I always get 48-50 MPG average. For short drives at a steady 55 MPH I have seen up to 75 MPG average. There are a few fit and finish issues but it has been a great car. My long term ownership will depend on how the fix for emissions cheating affects the car's performance. Another reason that I bought this model was because of the rear seat space. This has as much rear seat leg room as my Suburban."

Functional, inoffensive, honest, and efficient

By on Thursday, December 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "1.8l motor, fuel economy, road manners, interior"

Cons: "boring styling like a 1990s Ford Taurus"

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

"Compared to the 2.5l inline 5-cylinder offered in previous model years of the Passat, Jetta, and Rabbit/Golf, this new 1.8l turbo motor is a gem. The turbo motor is barely audible but you’ll quickly feel the surge upon initial acceleration through the first few gears. Double-clutch DSG transmission is electronically controlled and can be a bit jerky at times as it is always wanting to upshift into the highest gear possible to maximize fuel economy during city/suburb driving, but is generally very smooth in gear ratio progression. Suspension is controlled but not as tight as European-spec Passats, which is a good thing, because American roads are generally in horrible condition compared to Germany’s, and that would lead to premature interior rattles, etc. On the highway, the car cruises effortlessly and quietly at 70-80 mph. I have squeezed nearly 700 miles out of a tank of regular unleaded (NOT diesel) by lowering cruise speed to about 65-70 and averaging 42mpg. In a full-sized, American-made non-hybrid sedan, this is the most impressive thing about the car. Backseat passengers love this thing because it has more legroom than some first-class airline seats. Interior design is smart and definitely Audi-ish, but VW cannot offer all the Audi features at VW price points. Having chosen black as a color, it is about as visually stimulating as driving inside a lump of coal. But with predictably German road manners and high-quality materials, I find it to be much more enjoyable than the Toyota Camrys and Hyundais I usually end up with at the rental car lots."

A VERY NICE RIDE & A LOT OF BANG 4 THE BUCK.

By on Sunday, December 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

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

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

"I DID SOMETHING I SWORE I'D NEVER DO AGAIN, BUY A EUROPEAN CAR ! BUT, AFTER READING SEVERAL POSITIVE ARTICLES IN CONSUMER REPORTS, I DECIDED 2 GO 4 A 2015 PASSAT LE. FROM THE MOMENT I DROVE IT OUT OF THE DEALERSHIP, I KNEW THIS WASN'T YOUR FATHER'S PASSAT. I HAD MY INDEPENDENT MECHANIC ( WHO HAS AN ENGINEERING DEGREE FROM EMBRY RIDDLE U.) TAKE IT 4 A SPIN. HE LOVED IT & SAID A LOT OF ENGINEERING WENT INTO THIS CAR. I'VE OWNED VW'S ON & OFF SINCE AFTER I CAME BACK FROM VIETNAM ( THAT TELLS U HOW OLD I AM ). I OWNED 2 B-5'S, A 2001 V-6, 5 SPEED & A 2003 1.8T AUTO, & THOSE CARS HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE NEW PASSAT, ESPECIALLY THE 1.8T. THE OIL SUMP HAS BEEN BUMPED UP 2 ALMOST 6 QTS., VERY IMPORTANT 4 ENGINE & TURBO PERFORMANCE. THE TIMING BELT IS GONE, NOW A TIMING CHAIN, PLUS ELECTRONIC STEERING. GAS MILEAGE IS NOTHING SHORT OF SPECTACULAR, ESPECIALLY ON CRUISE CONTROL !! VERY COMFORTABLE & QUIET RIDE. PLUS IT RUNS ON REGULAR GAS !!"

6 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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?


Advertisement