Full Review of the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI
We’ve had the great pleasure of driving and reviewing many of the offerings from the long standing German automaker, Volkswagen. We drove, and really liked, last year’s CC Sport Plus which we felt was an extremely handsome and nice day to day sporty sedan. We were also lucky enough to get our hands on the new VW Jetta last year, which surprised us on how much we liked the overall driving experience even though it’s built to be a cheaper offering than previous generation Jetta. Now we’re driving the 2014 Passat. This vehicle is also built to a lower spec to be more affordable. The car we get here in the U.S. market is exclusive to North America and is a completely different vehicle than the one sold in the European market. VW has built for us a larger and seemingly more dumbed-down model. The CC we drove last year is much closer to the European Passat as it actually shares most of the interior and underpinnings. So with all of this deviation from a vehicle we really liked and catered to what VW thinks we should like, what did we really think about this car?
The exterior styling isn’t really much to get excited about. The best way I can describe the looks of this car, with a nice spin, is that it’s elegant and restrained. With all the mid-sized sedans coming to market like the Sonata, Optima, Mazda6, and the Fusion, this sedan really seems bland and already outdated. I’ve heard others, though, who’ve express a desire for the design as it should age better without a more modern design language. I actually disagree, but design is something that speaks to people individually.
The front-grille is unmistakably Volkswagen with its chrome, horizontal bars. The profile view is mostly bland, although it does give away hints at this car’s actual size as the trunk protrudes far beyond the rear tires. All the lines are clean and precise, but there’s really no flare there.
One thing VW has always done is make a nice interior. The interior in this car reminded me more of the Jetta we drove last year than the CC. That being said, they have done a good job at disguising what is cheap and what is not. The seats are wrapped in real leather with Dinamica inserts which can help with temperature in hot and cold weather. The dash is super simple with a basic infotainment display that functions well, but is lacking in technology. The instrument cluster is nice and easy to read and while the driver information display is usable, it also is very dated looking. One of the biggest things the interior of this car has going for it is room. The Passat can brag about its best-in-class rear legroom and there’s no doubting it. The trunk is pretty massive as well.
Under the hood of our tester was a 1.8-liter TSI engine. This setup pushes 170-horsepower and is matched up to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is basically the base engine setup, but it actually worked pretty well with this vehicle. Power delivery was sufficient for day to day driving and we were able to average just over 30-mpg. The EPA rates this setup at 24-mpg city and 35-mpg highway.
Of course, VW is also known for their diesel engines and you could have a Passat equipped with one. If you opt for the TDI, you’ll be getting the 2.0-liter, 140-hp diesel with a DSG gearbox. The EPA rates this vehicle at 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.
If you’re looking for more power out of your family sedan, you can also opt for the 3.6-liter FSI V6 which pushed a healthier 280-hp and also comes with a DSG gearbox. This option, though, will leave you a little less satisfied when it comes to fuel economy. The EPA rates the V6 at 20-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
As I alluded to earlier, our test car seemed to handle the day to day just fine. There was no need to smash the accelerator pedal to the floor and hope for some tire squeal; this car is more about getting your family from point A to point B as safely and efficiently as possible. I would say VW has achieved their goal there. The chassis felt sturdy and rigid, but the ride was noticeably comfortable. All that being said, it did still leave me wanting. I wanted a more colorful design, more technology, and more features, but to get those you’ll have to look elsewhere.
You can pick up an S model with a base price of just $20,995 and our tester stickered out at $26,995. If you’re looking to go all out, you can easily get the price over $34k with a Premium TDI.
If you’re cross-shopping the Passat, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the new Ford Fusion. This is still one of the best looking mid-sized sedans on the road. It is also packed full of tech and luxury that you might not expect from Ford. The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are also very good choices and both come with great warranties. Of course, if you’re a fan of the Germans and you really want a better looking German sedan, the CC is always another way to go.