By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
Last year, Volkswagen completely reinvented the Passat mid-size sedan, and aimed it straight at the heart of American shoppers. Bigger, conservatively styled, with lots of standard equipment and a lower price, the Passat retained its German driving feel even though VW now builds it in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For 2013, the Passat continues to deliver great value for money. It plays in the tough heart of the market, where the iconic Toyota Camry and Honda Accord set the beat and more edgy upstarts like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima play counterpoint. But the new VW Passat is carving out its niche as a comfortable, affordable 4-door with good space, lots of features, great road manners, and an honored spot on KBB's list of the 10 Best Family Cars of 2013.
Looking for a roomy, mid-size sedan that offers an assortment of powertrains and lots of standard content? Like the idea of genuine German driving characteristics with a Made in America label? Want it all for a starting price in the low $20K range? Check out the 2013 Volkswagen Passat.
Although starting around the $20K price sweet spot, options packages and higher trim levels quickly push the 2013 Volkswagen Passat into $30K territory. And if you're looking to make a visual statement, the sharp-looking Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima will draw more attention.
After its thorough remake last year, aimed specifically at attracting more American consumers, Volkswagen's mid-size Passat sedan is little changed for 2013. Some tweaking inside makes the center console's cup holders and storage space more functional, and a rearview camera is now offered on the top SEL trim level.
Driving Impressions The Volkswagen Passat sedan has grown substantially to appeal to North American sensibilities, but even though it's now a larger, heavier car, you'll still be rewarded with...... a refined road-going experience. Its suspension – including a 4-link independent rear setup – cancels out most road imperfections, and body roll is nicely controlled on tight, curvy roads. The base 2.5-liter 5-cylinder is 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 lusty 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 inline-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.
FENDER SOUND SYSTEM
Fender, the electric-guitar icon, is making its first foray into automotive audio. The Passat's optional 9-speaker, 400-watt system developed with Panasonic provides clear, well balanced sound.
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.
The 2013 VW Passat isn't flashy inside. Think clean lines and tasteful – but not overdone – chrome highlights. Lower-end Passats can look vanilla, but moving up to the Premium level adds an 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 on the subject of seats, thanks to the Passat's longer wheelbase, rear-seat passengers now enjoy more legroom than in any other current mid-size sedan.
The 2013 Volkswagen Passat may not be as distinctive-looking as the Passats that came before it, but its clean styling should serve it well over time. It is sleek and subtly 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 sizable 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.
For just over $21,000, a 2013 Volkswagen Passat S sedan (inline 5-cylinder) comes equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, hill-hold control, 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 up to the top SEL trim to get it.
With a lot of available options, packages and trim levels, it's easy to equip a 2013 VW Passat the way you want. Noteworthy items include Vegan-friendly V-Tex Leatherette seating, a Fender Premium audio system, an iPod interface and the quick-shifting 6-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission. For a little more oomph in your daily drive, a 3.6-liter V6 or the strong but frugal 2.0-liter 4-cylinder clean turbodiesel engine are also on the menu.
The 2013 VW Passat sedan offers three engine choices, which greatly affect the character of the car: a 2.5-liter inline-5 shared with the smaller Jetta, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 diesel (TDI), and a 3.6-liter V6. There are four transmissions available: a 5-speed manual (with the 2.5), a 6-speed manual (TDI), a 6-speed automatic (2.5) and the DSG 6-speed dual-clutch automatic (TDI and 3.6). 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 in any other sedan, you'd have to move down out of the mid-size segment.
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (manual), 22/31 mpg (automatic)
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/43 mpg (manual), 30/40 mpg (automatic)
A base 2013 Volkswagen Passat S, with the 2.5-liter engine and manual transmission, starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,640. If you prefer an automatic, that means the Appearance Package (includes alloy wheels) for another $2,100. A full-boat SEL Premium package tops $31,000. The TDI turbodiesel Passat spans a range of $27,000 (SE) to $33,700 (SEL Premium). The 3.6-liter V6 engine (DSG automatic only) starts around $30,000 for an SE and climbs past $34,000 for an SEL Premium. The Passat competes in the crowded mid-size segment, which includes heavyweights like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, as well as value-oriented rides like the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. Check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what local transaction prices are running. In resale value, the Passat falls behind the Camry and Accord but bests the Optima and Sonata over time.
By vw diesel owner on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage, huge back seat area and trunk"
Cons: "wierd placement of steering wheel to drivers seat,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"only had to fill up twice a month typically unless I had a long trip. The drivers side seat is off set to the steering wheel - something I did not notice until after the purchase and it bugged me. The vehicle ran great and I did not need to fill it up much which is AWESOME! plenty of room for passengers and luggage and golf clubs! Overall good and reliable car."
17 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Smith on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "radio ...."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Solid sedan, great acceleration cheep radio. Cars that cost 10K less now days have better radio than this model."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By JMCIII on Sunday, August 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,050overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid build, good handling, well laid out"
Cons: "Wish gas mileage was better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought my 2013 VW Passat S used, so I didn't have to deal with the break-in period. Car is solidly built and feels good on the road - that is, I feel connected to the road, but without the harsh ride of a sports car. The interior is well laid out, with everything within easy reach. Seats are comfortable and adjustable. While some (both pro and consumer) reviews malign the in-line 5 cylinder engine for its (seeming) lack of power and fuel economy, personally I've found the engine to offer all the power I need for most driving comditions (though there is a slight lag when you first step on the gas, but then it takes right off). But to off-set this, there is the "S"port gear that mimics the acceleration of a sports car if you need it - and can be shifted into and out of at any time. BIG trunk, and the legroom in the back seats is second to none in its class. Plus there is plenty of room for the driver and passenger. Road noise is low, and I LOVE having the Bluetooth for music and phone. Can't yet speak about reliability as I haven't had the car long enough, but other then my wish for better fuel economy (who doesn't wish for that?), I've found the basic version of the Passat to be a fine car for the money."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful