By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
The Volkswagen Passat for 2014 faces a number of well-received competitors including the new Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Impala. To stay a step ahead, VW has loaded its base model with features most consumers want, and then added a robust line of trims, engines and options to help satisfy a wide variety of shoppers. Although the Passat doesn't offer a hybrid or pure electric model, it does offer a diesel engine that, until the Mazda6 comes online, remains the only family sedan in the segment to do so. You can also get a manual transmission on a number of Passat trims, another olive branch to the driving enthusiast who needs to trade up to a more family-friendly ride.
If you're in the market for midsize sedan, but the budget demands the price remain competitive and the fuel economy high, VV's Passat for 2014 is worth a look. It offers a number of engine and transmission choices as well as European road manners and the latest in electronic innovation.
While the Passat does have a low base price, adding popular options can quickly move this midsize sedan into premium luxury-car territory. From a styling point of view, the Passat may be a bit too generic for some, especially when parked next to the Kia Optima or Chevy Impala.
For 2014, the VW Passat sees a number of improvements. A new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine will gradually replace the 2.5-liter unit as the base engine. VW's Car-Net connected services will be offered on select trims, and a rearview camera is now standard on SE and higher trim levels.
Driving Impressions Volkswagen upsized the Passat a few years back, a move intended to make it more appealing to Americans. However, despite its added size, the 2014 VW Passat has lost none...of its appeal, both from a driver's standpoint and a quality perspective. A 4-link independent rear suspension helps the car eliminate most road imperfections while still allowing the big sedan to hustle through twisting turns without drama. The new 1.8-liter turbo is a strong performer, offering the same horsepower as the outgoing 2.5-liter unit while providing more torque at a lower rpm. The 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, however, is our pick for performance and fuel economy, with enough low-end torque to shame some V6s. Beyond its numerous engine choices the Passat offers a comfortable, quiet interior built of high-quality materials and assembled to perfection. Segment-leading rear-seat legroom should make adults relegated to the back seat a bit happier about their station.
FENDER SOUND SYSTEM
VW's choice of electric guitar icon Fender is appropriate, given the company's long history perfecting the art of sound reproduction. The Passat's available 9-speaker 400-watt system, developed in conjunction with Panasonic, is one of the best we've heard.
If you're looking for power and fuel economy, VW is hard to beat. Whether it's the high-mileage, high-torque TDI clean diesel, the economical 1.8-liter gasoline turbo or the potent V6, the Passat wants for nothing in the powertrain department.
The 2014 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 Wolfsburg and 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 midsize sedan.Exterior
The 2014 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 nearly a cubic foot larger than the trunk in the Honda Accord, which the EPA classifies as a large car.
For just under $22,000, a 2014 Volkswagen Passat S sedan 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 2014 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 is also on the menu.
The 2014 VW Passat sedan offers four engine choices, which greatly affect the character of the car: a 2.5-liter inline-5 to be phased out over the model year, a new 1.8-liter turbocharged unit to replace the 2.5, 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, 1.8T), a 6-speed manual (TDI), a 6-speed automatic (2.5, 1.8T) 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. To get comparable fuel economy in any other sedan, you'd have to move down out of the midsize 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)
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg (manual), 24/34 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 2014 Volkswagen Passat S with a manual transmission carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $21,600. If you prefer an automatic, add another $1,100 to the bottom line. The TDI turbodiesel Passat spans a range of just over $27,000 (SE) to nearly $34,000 (SEL Premium). A fully loaded SEL Premium climbs past $34,000. The Passat competes in the crowded midsize 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 JJ (IN) on Sunday, November 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel economy"
Cons: "poor value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"My local dealer in Bloomington, IN is horrible. The service department is not trust worthy, to the point I will sell my VW within the next year and never buy a VW again."
By lm68 (SC) on Thursday, November 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well thought out features, big trunk, great value!"
Cons: "None. Wish I could spend more time driving!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Can't believe how well laid out this car is. Everything is exactly within reach and easy to operate. Love the Bluetooth so I can stream my music while I drive and I can control the radio and answer the phone with controls mounted on the steering wheel. The trunk is so big that I don't have to use the seats and floor inside the car like I used to with my old car when I bought groceries. This baby can hold a lot of stuff! The seats and interior are so comfortable it feels like they belong in a more expensive luxury car. I can't believe how luxurious this car is for such a great price. Definitely a great value for the price. The engine provides more than enough power and doesn't feel like it's just 2.5 liters. It's not sluggish like other cars I've drove in the past with small engines. The exterior is also very well designed and attractive for a midsize family sedan. Who says you can't be sporty when you have four doors? I love, love, love everything about this car! I just wish I had discovered VW a long time ago!"
By Solomon (FL) on Thursday, November 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, safe, drives smoothly, and much more!"
Cons: "No cons!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car for myself, then will be passing it on to my daughter. Absolutely love it! Quite similar to a Audi. We have gotten rear ended twice, and no dent at all to our car! Sturdy, safe, and just simply amazing!"
By TommyL (NJ) on Saturday, November 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG decent, auto trans sport mode helps accelerate"
Cons: "Extremely uncomfortable power drivers seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had a 2001 VW Passat that I kept for 12 years. That was a great car. I replaced it with a 2013 VW Passat SE 4 months ago. When VW redesigned the Passat in 2012 they messed it up. They went cheap and only have 8-way driver's seat. They changed the angle or tilt of the seat bottom and it is not adjustable! I called the dealer and the seat is not replaceable, nothing they can do. Every time I drive my car I am left feeling like I have a sprained ankle. The auto dimming rear view mirror does not work as expected. The middle head rest in the back seat blocks the sensor so that it doesn't work. Even taking the middle head rest out has not completely resolved the problem. The 5 cylinder engine with 6 spd auto transmission has problems maintaining speed going up small hills with cruise control on. Even with cruise control off, the transmission shifts into higher gears too soon when going uphill. I now have a 4 month old car that I hate. I am buying another new car to replace it. Next car will not be a VW!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Big Dan (OR) on Saturday, November 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great MPG"
Cons: "Seat foam is vey thin."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"i bought this car as I was needing a more economical vehicle to drive to work. I read all the reviews and was amazed at how great the car was according to the reviews. After driving the car for approx 1 month i was truly amazed as to how great of MPG the car really was getting. I have gotten as good as 50 a few times, but I usually get right around 46 to 48 MPG. I am giving 9 out of 10 due to the seat being very poor quality. they are not very thick when it comes to the amount of foam that is put in. I have to use a 4" pad to sit on in order to drive."
By Poindexter (CA) on Sunday, November 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,895overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "very comfortable car!"
Cons: "I wish it had a rear view camera."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the '12 VW Passat new in April of 2012. I traded in another car for this one. The car has been excellent the whole time. The back seat pampers the passengers with tons of leg room. The trunk is also very big. My wife and I took it on a fairly long trip, and we were both very comfortable. Some people don't like the 2.5 liter engine, but it works very well for us. We considered the diesel engine, but the fact that the engine was quite a bit more money, and the cost of diesel fuel was, and still is higher, we couldn't see the advantage. We also like the dual zone automatic A/C. That can keep a marriage together. The Fender sound system is outstanding. All in all, we're very happy with this car."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful