"My search began for a full efficient vehicle back in September of 2013. Although the main requirement was that the new vehicle be fuel efficient, I also needed it to be comfortable and full of modern conveniences, mainly because my daily work commute is 150 miles, round-trip, and if I’m going to spend that much of time in a car, it needs to be a pleasure.
--RESEARCH: I researched and test drove many vehicles, including Ford Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Lexus Hybrids, Honda Hybrids and even some fuel efficient Buicks. I considered that if I was going to get a car that had great gas mileage, then the sticker price had also better make sense. I didn’t want to pay an extra $8k for a car that would save me only $2k in fuel costs. So, it had to make sense base upon sticker price, residual value and fuel economy. The Passat came out ahead because the car was less expensive than the others (even loaded), and had an acceptable high fuel economy. Although, I did have to factor in that it uses Diesel, which is generally about 60cents more per gallon. Nonetheless, after crunching the numbers of sticker price vs. residual value, and adding in all fuel costs, the Passat was the winner. I went with almost every option that the Passat had, including GPS, leather, sunroof, satellite radio, etc.
---TEST DRIVE: When I test drove the Passat for the first time, the tings that caught my attention were the quick and “punchy” drivability and spacious interior and trunk. I had only seriously considered Hybrid cars until this, so I was growing accustomed to the not-so-sporty feel of a hybrid. The Passat turbo diesel felt like a sports car.
---FUEL ECONOMY: I have about 7K miles on my Passat after three months. I track all my fuel ups with an iPhone app, and I watch my mileage closely while traveling. I’ve had 13 fill ups so far, and my average mileage has been right about 40MPG. I travel about 80% on highways, ranging in speeds of stop-n-go-traffic to 81MPH. I sometimes will get much higher MPG, such as the low 50’s, if it’s a nice mild, weather day. So far, I’ve driven the car only in the Winter, so I haven’t seen how it performs in the warm or hot temperatures. I will say that I generally see an MPG of about 36-38MPG for the first 15-20 miles of my trips on the highway, but then I see the numbers rise as the trip gets longer…such as 53MPG. I get better fuel economy when I drive without the cruise, and when I stay below 77MPH. Overall, I think it’s fair to expect 40MPG, overall.
---DIESEL: I had no idea what a pain in the back end that it was to get Diesel for a car. Most gas stations do not carry it. It seems to be at about 30-40% of the stations. I have finally made myself a mental list of all the places in my area that carry it, so I know where to go. But, be warned, for some unknown reason, the fuel pump handles always seem to be much dirtier than the regular has handles. Therefore, I have began keeping a towel in may car truck that I use for handling the gas handle. It keeps me from smelling like Diesel all day. But, it’s all worth it to have the PUNCH that diesel provides.
---BEHIND THE WHEEL: I love the drive of the TDI Passat. In fact, I find myself anxious to drive it to work. It’s much sportier than anything I’ve ever owned. I easily accelerate past anyone on the highway or at a traffic light, without even trying. In fact, when I first began driving the car, I had somewhat teach myself some restraint, because it was just to easy to exert the power. This is NOT a sports car, however. It does extremely well in straight lines, but doesn’t handle sharp corners/turns with grace.
---SPACE: This car has more space than anyone could want. It’s surely the roomiest car that I’ve owned. The backseat is the size of many New York apartments (kidding…a bit). The truck is amazingly huge. There’s even a handy storage compartment to the left of the driver, which is great for holding my keys, wallet, etc. Not to mention a center consoler storage bin, a front console storage bin and a glove box. Oh, and the map/trash bins on the side of the doors, which also double as #3 and #4 front seat cup holders. The backseat has storage in the center pull down armrest, as well as two cup holders, and pockets on the back of the seats.
---GPS: The GPS was also a fairly important part of picking a car to me. However, I didn’t truly appreciate this cars GPS until using it for a while. The GPS is very user-friendly and quick. I was disappointed to see that it didn’t have voice recognition input, but once I began using the input screens, I realized that inputting was much faster on the Passat, than speaking on the others. I very much like the ability to input the name of a business that I’m searching for, and it gives me several options to choose from. Then, with a push a button, I can set the destination to this business, or I can even place a call to them…perhaps to reserve a table, or to check their hours of operations. Very handy! The screen is also a touch screen, so you can move around the map if you want. You can even press the rocket button, and zoom out to see birds-eye view of your entire route. Oh, and if you get stuck in a traffic jam, there’s a button to press to suggest a quick route out of the jam, and onto nearby routes. Really the best GPS that I’ve used.
---STEREO: Well, let me tell you, the Fender system rocks the house. Hands down the best audio system that I’ve heard in a car. The sound is clean, crisp and truly envelopes the listener. When I first hear music over the system, I thought a few times that was hearing a new mix of an old, familiar song, but it wasn’t. Instead, the system just makes the music sound better, and you hear more notes. I generally listen to Sirius XM (you can program 24 pre-sets on the Passat...Wow). But, it also has a hard drive, CD player, Bluetooth and SD Card reader. I can set tags/alerts on Sirius to let me know when any of my favorite songs are about to be played. Super nice.
CONS: I wish the computer graphics were a little more updated and crisp, especially for the instrument cluster. Honestly, I like the body style of the CC better than the Passat. If they made a TDI CC, then I might just switch. I feel that the leather appointments are fairly scarce, and the plastic seems a little cheap. I wish they would equip these cars with a full size tire in the trunk instead of the donut. There is too long of a delay between starting the car and the rearview camera coming on. I wish the car had backup sensors.
---BOTTOM LINE: If I had to do it all over again, I would still buy the Passat without hesitation. The fuel economy is great, the drive is awesome, the entertainment is superior, the GPS is the best and it’s very, very spacious. I just hope the next generation has a more modern, sexy look."
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