• (4.5) 56 reviews
  • Available Prices: $8,815–$18,203
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 23-35
  • Engine: 170-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual w/OD
2014 Volkswagen Passat

Our Take on the Latest Model 2014 Volkswagen Passat

What We Don't Like

  • Steering lacks road feel
  • Hesitation with optional dual-clutch transmission
  • V-6 needs premium gas

Notable Features

  • New turbo 1.8-liter gas engine
  • Available diesel engine
  • Optional Fender stereo
  • Built in America

2014 Volkswagen Passat Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in October 2013 about the 2013 Volkswagen Passat. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2014, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

While the 2013 Volkswagen Passat's straightforward simplicity may not win over the tech-addicted, its massive rear seat legroom should certainly win over those who plan to use it for real live people.

The Passat was redesigned in 2012, and for 2013 has a few minor changes, namely a new center console with rear air vents in the SE and higher trims, and a backup camera in the SEL. Compare the 2013 version side by side with its 2012 predecessor here. Technically a full-size sedan due to its passenger volume, the Passat is priced to compete with midsize sedans like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Honda Accord. Check them all out here.

The Passat's trim levels include the base 2.5L S (which I drove), where the number refers to the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder gas engine. Higher trim levels include the SE, Wolfsburg Edition, SEL and SEL Premium, some of which also come with a gas-powered 3.6-liter V-6 or a 2.0-liter TDI clean-diesel four-cylinder. You can compare a few of these here.

Exterior & Styling
While the base Passat 2.5L S has 16-inch alloy wheels, 17-inch alloy rims are standard on the SE and SEL trims. Eighteen-inch alloys show themselves on the TDI SEL Premium and the 3.6 SE and SEL.

The Passat's styling probably won't turn many heads and might simply elicit a "meh," unlike the "oohs and ahhs" garnered by the sweeping lines of the Passat's sexy little sister, the CC. The Passat's exterior styling is a little bit pedestrian, part utilitarian and certainly won't offend anyone on the road.

How It Drives
The Passat is easy to cruise around in, whether your daily driving adventures take you on a morning highway commute or on quick in-town jaunts throughout the day. The Passat's refined suspension manages to feel perfectly soft and comfortable without losing too much road feel or adding an unnerving floaty sensation.

The 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder I drove felt a bit underpowered when trying to punch it up to speed on the highway. Around town, however, this wasn't noticeable. In the 2.5-liter version, performance was simply average, which seems to be a common theme in this car. There's nothing bad to report, but, likewise, nothing necessarily stands out or revs my engine, either.

Of course, for drivers wanting a punchier feel to their ride, VW gives you the option of a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 hp, as well as the more fuel-efficient and typically fun-to-drive turbo-diesel, which has 140 hp but 236 pounds-feet of torque, which is what really gets you going from a standstill. This spec is closer to the V-6 than the five-cylinder.

The 2.5-liter Passat comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission and gets an EPA-estimated 22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined. An optional six-speed automatic transmission changes those numbers ever so slightly to 22/31/25 mpg. The 3.6-liter V-6 with automatic transmission takes this down to 20/28/23 mpg, while the automatic turbo-diesel gets a whopping 30/40/34 mpg estimate.

Interior
The Passat's interior is remarkably simple but somehow manages to avoid crossing the line into frumpy or plain Jane. As VW points out, "Nothing here is trendy or overdone." It feels timeless and is very practical.

Up front, the driver has access to in-door storage bins with bottleholders, two cupholders in the center console area and an open bin under the radio that held my phone and garage door opener. An additional small storage area keeps unruly small items like change and lip gloss contained. The center console itself is relatively small but houses an aux input jack for routing music from a phone through the car's speaker system.

The Passat's most impressive feature is its 39.1 inches of backseat legroom. In comparison, the Hyundai Sonata offers 34.6 inches and the Kia Optima has 34.7 inches. This is where the Passat really excels in its class. Even for an adult sitting in the back, there's plenty of space, and my husband was quite comfortable back there as I played the chauffeur in "Driving Miss Daisy." (Hey, don't judge — what we do behind closed doors is our business.)

This backseat comfort was further enhanced by a center armrest with cupholders, which was very handy for adults and kids alike.

Visibility was excellent without making me feel like I was in a fishbowl. I also really liked the sliding sun visors.

Ergonomics & Electronics
While many cars are adding excessive technology and, as a result, multiple steps to do the simplest tasks, the Passat S sticks to old-school buttons and dials in all the right places, including within thumb's reach on the steering wheel.

The audio system's functions were without confusion and didn't require the assistance of the owner's manual to get up and running within seconds. When shifting the balance of the sound to the rear, we could comfortably have an adult conversation up front while the kids grooved away in the back. The steering wheel's audio controls were also well-located and easy to manipulate by feel without requiring me to take my eyes off the road. Bluetooth phone pairing was also quite easy to configure, again without assistance from the manual.

Cargo & Storage
With 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space, the Passat's trunk feels plenty big for a family. You have the option to expand the trunk even farther by folding the rear seatbacks jointly, or just folding one side or the other. For comparison, the Kia Optima is on the lower end of this car class with a 15.4-cubic-foot trunk. Families needing even more space may want to turn their attention to the Hyundai Sonata and its 16.4 cubic feet.

Just as important as volume, the Passat's trunk also has a low sill that makes it easy to load and unload large, bulky and unruly sized items. Golf clubs, bags for sleepovers or luggage for a weekend road trip all fit very comfortably, with room to spare.

My family and I even tested the Passat's storage ability with a run to the local Home Depot, and it comfortably accommodated some 2-by-4-foot lumber and a small ladder. Customers, and especially families, have come to expect flexibility in their vehicles, and the Passat delivers in this department. For a midsize sedan, the Passat is an impressive mover of both people and stuff.

Safety
The 2013 VW Passat received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top label of Top Safety Pick Plus, having received the required highest rating of good in four out of five tests, and a rating of acceptable in the stringent new fifth test, the small-overlap crash test.

The Passat also received an overall rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a common rating among best-selling midsize sedans.

These ratings, combined with the fact that every safety feature is standard on every Passat, are comforting reassurances for a mom like myself who regularly chauffeurs three very valuable little packages.

In addition to all the standard safety features we'd expect in any 2013 vehicle, the Passat also includes an intelligent crash response system. This unlocks doors, turns off the fuel pump and turns on the hazard lights in the event of a collision.

Installing child-safety seats in the base Passat with fabric upholstery using Latch proved simple and straightforward. The lower anchors are visible within the seat bight, and the soft and malleable fabric seating surfaces make it easy to manipulate a child seat's anchors into place. Check out our Car Seat Check of the 2012 VW Passat, which also represents the 2013, here.

All three of the backseat's seat belt buckles are on stable bases, making it easy for kids in booster seats and those with limited dexterity to easily buckle up on their own.

See all the standard safety features listed here.

Value in Its Class
The Passat is great value for families in the market for a midsize sedan. You get ample seating and massive legroom for five, combined with a very flexible cargo space at a reasonable price. For those who want a little more voom, available upgraded engines and interior technology are accessible for a small price increase.

While the Passat might not come out on top in the sexiest-sedan pageant, it's a very practical and comfortable option for families on a budget.

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Consumer Reviews

(4.5)

Average based on 56 reviews

Write a Review

So far, no complaints!

by Tina from on December 11, 2017

Most definitely the best car i've purchased. Have always heard good things about VW and i'm glad i made the switch!

Read All Consumer Reviews

13 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2014 Volkswagen Passat trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Volkswagen Passat Articles

2014 Volkswagen Passat Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S

Front
A
Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Hip/thigh
G
Lower leg/foot
G
Overall evaluation
A
Retraints and dummy kinematics
M
Structure and safety cage
A

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 7 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $2,200 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

36mo/36,000mi

Free Scheduled Maintenance

24mo/24,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years