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2013 Volkswagen Passat

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Review

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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.

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
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 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

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)

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 186 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Best car I have ever owned

By on Sunday, May 08, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,326

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Workmanship, fuel mileage, interior design&room."

Cons: "Carpet, sun visors,"

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

"Bought new in Sep of 2013. Came down to this TDI or a Honda Accord. Drove both, and evaluated both for over a mouth. We have 4 Hondas in the immediate family which I service, combined over 600,000 miles. Nothing but good to say about Hondas. My Son-I-L, who is quite a car guru, suggested we consider a Passat CC. At the dealership the young salesman almost insisted we drive a Passat Diesel. Having owned an Olds Diesel back in 1979, I had no desire to consider a diesel of any nameplate. Did not like the CC, so we drove the TDI-SE. Loved the car. Large interior, large trunk, plenty pep in the normal driving range. And 40+ mpg. After much reading and comparing, and re-driving the Honda, we bought the Passat TDI-SEL Premium. After 67,000 miles I am still in love with this TDI-SEL. Yes, it has issues..small ones compared to all the major assets. The carpeting is cheap. The GPS/Entertainment system is slow. But I like the way the entertainment system integrates the different functions...very user friendly, but slow. This is overshadowed by superior workmanship and drive-ability. What is not to like about 45mpg overall average ! Makes you want to go for a drive, which is what I think I will do right now."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

a polluting disaster

By on Thursday, April 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Cons: "can't recommend since it's illegal to even buy"

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

"looks good...drives well.....and pollutes the atmosphere every time I am forced to drive it... disappointed with VW would be an understatement"

10 people out of 25 found this review helpful

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."

18 people out of 26 found this review helpful

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."

14 people out of 22 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!"

8 people out of 14 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."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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