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2013 Volkswagen Passat Review

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Expert Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.1
  • 7.9
  • 7.9
  • 7.5
  • 8.1
  • 9.9
How It Ranks

#24

out of 26

Fuel Economy

#15

out of 26

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.7 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2013 Volkswagen Passat Low/wide front photo What's New for 2013

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 the Passat
2013 Volkswagen Passat Front angle view photo

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.

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.

2013 Volkswagen Passat Details
2013 Volkswagen Passat Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

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.

Exterior
2013 Volkswagen Passat photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood
2013 Volkswagen Passat Engine photo

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.

2.5-liter inline-5
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)

3.6-liter V6
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.

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 112 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Good car, but cost of ownership is ridiculous

By on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I have a tdi and the mileage is great, I average about 43 on long trips in the summer and about 38 in the winter using premium diesel. Car drives great, but my main complaints is that the cost of ownership is ridiculous, the low profile tires don't allow for any quality tires, I am on my third set now and only have 75k miles on my car, oil changes are triple the cost of a normal oil change. I used to have a chevy Monte Carlo and I could get around 100k on those tires and I put over 300k miles on the that car with minimal repairs, I have already had several factory recalls and minor parts that have gone bad on the tdi, most have been under warranty but it makes me think this car won't last long. Not impressed with cost of ownership! I would not recommend to anyone unless they plan on spending 3k a year on oil changes and repairs and tires?"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Great highway mileage

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Highway Fuel Economy"

Cons: "Uncomfortable seat, HMI, no head room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I own the 2014, and I cannot wait to get rid of it. YES, THE HIGHWAY FUEL MILEAGE IS AMAZING. Try driving any competitor midsize sedan at 78 mph and be lucky to top 28 mpg (I get 43 mpg), and that's if you're in a 4-cylinder and not getting ran off the road by a semi while pulling out on the interstate. I will give the TDI credit there, while the 0-60 is not so great- the 60-80 (which is what matters here)is decent enough (better than a 4 cylinder or hybrid that engages the gasoline engine at this point. The highway MPG basically boils down to how close to 1900-2000 RPM you can get while in 6th gear, the closer the better. The trunk is like a cave. You can go spelunking in there. Oh and legroom, but we will get to that. NOW FOR THE CONS: Do not let the commercial with the guy doing donuts in a Passat or the "turbo" fool you, this is not by any means a fast car. From the gearing to the single turbo, it was made for one thing and that is fuel economy. But like I said, it still fares better on the interstate than most hybrids. The front seats, no planar tilt. Seat adjusts up and forward or down and back. YOU WILL NOT FIND A COMFORTABLE SPOT. Go ahead, drive it for 1 hour back and forth to work and tell me how your back feels. And I have the best seats they offer. Not to mention you can feel the seat heaters. I am 6' 190 lbs and I cannot get comfortable. No head room.Plenty of legroom, but no headroom- which makes for an odd combination (gives almost a feeling of vertigo). THE HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE FOR THE NAVIGATION AND RADIO IS POORLY ENGINEERED. Ever draw anything on MS Paint? That is literally how easy it is to configure a layout on a touchscreen. The buttons are touchy, yet there impact locations are hard to find, so you will swipe at it and press the wrong thing 9/10. IT IS HORRIBLY SLOW. The back-up camera, the push buttons, the screen changes. All of it. Slow. This tells me that the RAM is near full with the new updates for 2014, and instead of compensating, they just pushed forward with the absolute worst in the midsize market. Where are the LED headlights? Not even an option. I understand the urea. I get emissions. But why is the filler cap in the trunk? Do you know what happens if you ever spill it? It crystallizes and instantly bonds to whatever it comes in contact with. Oh and it will leave you stranded when you run out, as in the car will not start. Keep it filled yeah, but that is just one more thing you have to stress about besides not putting bad diesel in it. The Fender sound system is alright, but once you couple it with the horrible interface and the "why in the cosmos did they make that silly plug for the iPod thing" they have, expectations fall short. The remote start? Shuts off as soon as you open the door. No, you cannot change it. Oh, and hopefully they remove the shipping spacers in the coils. If you drive over a bump and hear a loud thud (and you didn't run over a turtle), they are still there."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2 years and I still love it! Buy the TDI !!

By on Wednesday, July 09, 2014

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Mileage!"

Cons: "Diesel takes a while to get used to. Turbo lag"

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

"I purchased my 2012 VW Passat TDI SE just about 2 years ago when this body style first came out. As an owner of a 2010 Jetta (Wolfsburg) I liked the fit and finish of the Jetta however the gas 2.0T in it was killing me in the mileage department. I was pleasently supprised by Passat. The fit and finish, ammenities, and handling between the two cars were comperable. However the intirior and trunk were so much more spacious than I thought they would be. The automatic transmisssion is quick and firm. It shifts nicely at all speeds and RPMs. The brakes are firm. However the low RPM turbo lag takes a little while to get used to. It is not a race car by any stretch of the imagination but it will get up and go when you need it to. But if you somp on the gas from a stop, you will probably spin the tires a bit as soon as the turbo kicks in. Neither a pro or a con, just something to get used to. In the 2 years I have had very few problems. My left mirror cracked when I forgot to turn off the heated mirror. Easy driveway fix with either an OEM mirror or I went with a european convex mirror. Sometimes, when the radio is low, you can hear the fuel sloshing around in the tank. Again, not a big deal with just a little music. Overall the TDI Passat is great! I get over 600 miles to a 18 gallon fill up when driving to and from work. On several road trips I've gotten almost 800 miles to the same 18-19 gallons! Thats amazing!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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