CARS.COM — Following a major refresh in 2016, the current-generation Volkswagen Passat has had little added either for 2017 or 2018 (aside from the new GT trim level). Even so, this car-seat-capable full-size family sedan remains a reliable bet as an alternative to the class-dominating Honda Accord and Toyota Camry — though not necessarily in terms of fuel economy.
A base Passat with the turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 25/36/29 mpg city/highway/combined, which isn't bad unless you look at competitors like the Accord, Camry and especially the Mazda6, all of which equal or best the VW. What does that look like in cold, hard cash coming from you as an owner?
- With the national average for regular gas down a penny, week over week, at $2.53 a gallon early Thursday per the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, filling the 2018 Passat's 18.5-gallon tank from an empty state would cost you $46.81.
- In Alabama, where the average cost of regular was the lowest in the U.S. at $2.27 a gallon, filling up a Passat would cost you an even $42.
- In Hawaii, where regular averaged 15 cents more per gallon than anywhere else in the U.S. at $3.50, filling up a Passat would cost you $64.75.
But while you might be paying more out of pocket to fill it up, the Passat also has a larger tank than its competitors (with the exception of the Hyundai Sonata, which also boasts an 18.5-gallon tank, and the unlikely exception of the redesigned 2018 Mazda6, whose tank size hasn't yet been confirmed but is likely to remain at 16.4 gallons). That can help compensate for lost miles.
The fuel-economy debate may not matter much longer for the Passat if Volkswagen follows through on its electric ambitions, however. The automaker debuted a new EV concept at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show this week, the I.D. Vizzion, and suggested that while certain autonomous elements may be years away, an electric sedan is set to hit dealerships in 2022. If the I.D. Vizzion gets anything close to VW's projected range of 250-300 miles, one of the Passat's current weak points ought to be addressed.
Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.