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VW Passat: Euro Engineered, American Built

By Arv Voss, October 18th, 2014

The big news for the Volkswagen Passat lineup this model year (2014) has been the addition of a new 1.8-liter, TSI turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder engine, phased in gradually to replace the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan with the amenities and space of many full-size models, with best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match
Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan with the amenities and space of many full-size models, with best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match

Now, for the 2015 model year, Volkswagen brings Passat buyers a 2.0-liter, 150-horsepower, turbocharged, direct injection TDI four-cylinder engine. It's capable of delivering an EPA-estimated 44 miles per gallon on the highway (Manual transmission), providing a range of 814 miles.

In addition to the 1.8-liter TSI and 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder engines, there's also a 3.6-liter VR6 FSI engine. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual gearbox, a six-speed automatic, or VW's six-speed dual clutch automatic, which is optional on the Passat TDI Clean Diesel.

Starting at $21,120, the 2015 Volkswagen Passat is available in four trims: S, Wolfsburg Edition, SE, and SEL.

My 2015 Volkswagen Passat 2.0-liter TDI tester featured the SEL Premium trim and a six-speed automatic. Its base price started at $33,585, with the destination charge bringing the final total to $34,405. Standard fare in the SEL Premium package includes navigation, Fender Premium Audio System, remote start, partial leather seating surfaces, front foglights, rear-seat pass-through, driver seat memory, and eight-way power passenger seat.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan with the amenities and space of many full-size models, with best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match

The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a generously proportioned four-door sedan and remains the largest Passat produced. From front to rear it measures 191.6 inches, featuring a stretched 110.4-inch wheelbase and a 72.2-inch width, which allows for additional rear-seat space.

Essentially, the Passat is a large sedan that drives like a smaller vehicle. Acceleration is brisk and certainly more than adequate. The ride comfort is exceptional, delivering what one would expect from a much larger luxury sedan, while its handling characteristics favor the sporty side of the driving experience.

Visually, the 2015 Volkswagen Passat displays balanced proportions giving it an elegant and timeless styling. The design is clean, featuring predominately horizontal body elements.

Up front, the Passat displays the brand's horizontal face, with a three-blade grille and headlights that form a single unit. The grille is sculpted in a three-dimensional shape, making a strict geometric impression. Beneath the front bumper is a large, lower intake with a striking honeycomb surface and available foglights housed at each end.

In profile, the muscular ridge in the sill area creates an engaging interplay of light reflections, and powerfully sculpted wheel arches emphasize the Passat's dynamics. The rear section also emphasizes horizontal lines with the large taillight lines rising toward the sides. Another unique feature is the design of the two-part taillights that are integrated into the rear fender and deck lid.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan with the amenities and space of many full-size models, with best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match

The cabin of the 2015 Volkswagen Passat provides plenty of space, with room for five adults to travel in comfort, featuring four large, wide-opening doors for easy ingress and egress.

The Passat's interior lines flow in an easy, pleasing style, complimented by high-quality materials applied with craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The instrument panel showcases a similarity to Volkswagen's flagship vehicle -- the Touareg. Available chrome-trimmed gauges surround a digital multifunction display, with a high-end chrome look that is also applied to the cockpit air vents and radio surrounds, navigation system, and climate control panels. The rotary light switch and parking brake handle button also receive a chrome treatment.

Seats are comfortable, with an emphasis on providing extra thigh support for long-distance road trips. The driver's seat adjusts eight ways, even in the base version, including lumbar. Cloth trim is offered with the base S model, while the Wolfsburg and higher trims feature Volkswagen's characteristic perforated V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces. Two-tone seating is offered on SE models, while SEL models move up to leather seating surfaces.

The VW Passat has a lot going for it. It may not be as sporty as the GTI or as sexy as the CC, but it is cleanly attractive and serves up traditional German engineering excellence even though it was designed specifically for the U.S. market and is built in America at VW's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.

Specifications

Base price $33,585 (as tested: $34,405)
Curb weight 3,497 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve 4-cyl. TDI w/DI
Epa mileage rating 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 150 at 3500 rpm
Overall length 191.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 236 at 1750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger midsize sedan
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