By Cars.com EditorsOctober 17, 2011
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2012 Volkswagen Passat 3.6. It competes with the Ford Fusion and the Hyundai Sonata.
(rock music) <v Announcer>Cars.com "Auto Reviews." Hi, I'm Mike Hanley with cars.c
om, and the redesigned 2012 Passat, maybe from German automaker Volkswagen, but it's been designed for Americans, priced for Americans, and it's also built in America, which all adds up to a family sedan that should have a lot of appeal for American shoppers. One of the things Volkswagen did to make the Passat more appealing to American shoppers is they made it bigger. It's four inches longer. Now it's about the size overall as a Ford Fusion midsize sedan, but it has a much more understated look than some of the new models out there, like the Hyundai Sonata that it competes against, but I think it's a clean, elegant design that should wear well over time. Though, it does look a lot like a larger version of Volkswagen's Jetta compact car. Volkswagen's tried to hit all the bases with the Passat's engine offerings, 'cause it comes with something for those that are value minded, efficiency minded, or who like horsepower. For starters, there's the base 2.5 liter inline five cylinder engine that goes in the model that starts at just under $20,000, but you can step up to a diesel Passat if you're really looking for efficiency. It's rated at 31 miles per gallon city, or up to 43 miles per gallon on the highway, which is impressive in a car this big, or if you're really looking for power, you can get the 3.6 liter V6 engine. It's rated at 280 horsepower. When Volkswagen redesigned its Jetta sedan, people were critical of its cabin, which didn't seem to have as high of quality as the outgoing model, but with the redesigned Passat, it's become much more affordable overall, but it still retains that premium interior that you expect from Volkswagen. So they've done a nicer job here hiding where they've had to cut costs. Still has a nice looking dash layout, and it comes with standard features like dual-zone automatic air conditioning, and Bluetooth that users are gonna appreciate. One of the benefits of the Passat's increased exterior size is its roomier cabin, especially in the backseat. Now, even though it's similar to a Ford Fusion on the outside, it's wheel based, it's three inches longer and that translates to noticeably roomier backseat leg room. I have the front seat adjusted for me. I'm 6'1", and I still have a couple inches of leg room here to spare. So this is really a car that can be comfortable enough for taller people to take a long road trip in. The Passat's cavernous cabin doesn't come at the expensive of cargo room, as the trunk measures 15.9 cubic feet, which is competitive for the mid-sized class. What I like about the space is that it's pretty rectangular and square. There aren't a lot of intrusions to catch any luggage, and they also come standard with a 60/40 split folding back seat if you need even more space. There are a lot of quality cars in the family sedan segment, and the redesigned Passat takes on industry heavyweights like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, but what this car gives Volkswagen that it hasn't had in a long time is a competitively priced entrant in the segment, and when you look at the number of engines that are offered, the efficiency they offer, the roomy interior and the premium amenities, this car is well positioned to take on those others. <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog, kickingtires.net.