Volkswagen will bid farewell to the Passat after the 2022 model year. The Passat has been in production since 1973 and now in it’s 8th generation the brand is sending it off with a well rounded vehicle that is a solid choice to look at for families. New for 2021 is a simplified lineup that consists of the S, SE, and R-Line models. Also new is the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control as a standard feature. Prices start at $23,995 for the base S model and can climb to a starting price of $31,385 for the top R-Line trim.
The Passat has a single powertrain option: a 174-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 206 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission. In our week with the car, the engine was smooth and refined throughout its rev range and helped move the sedan with ease. Whether eating up highway miles, meandering down back roads, or running around town the Passat is up to the challenge. It combines a soft, almost luxurious ride with predictable handling, providing a vehicle that’s as comfortable as it is capable.
The suspension is smooth and absorbs bumps on the road and the body remains stable during quick turns, the Passat lacks the excitement found in some competitors like the Mazda6 but still performs well enough to have a decent ride quality. The Passat’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s EPA fuel economy of 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway estimates is on average with most family sedans, and many rivals offer more efficient models and hybrid options.
Proportions remain good with a wide stance and even overhangs both in front and back of the wheel arches. The Passat was most recently refreshed for the 2020 model year with updated exterior and interiors. Up front, the Passat features a large horizontal grille flanked by LED headlights. The updated grille and fascia have been softened a little from the previous model while the hood is now sculpted to include four prominent character lines that give the car some dimension. The side profile features a more coupe-like roofline with a more curvaceous b-pillar. In the rear Passat is spelled out across the decklid and LED taillights provide a very Volkswagen-esque lighting signature.
Inside the Passat, clean, straight lines follow Volkswagen‘s unassuming design language. The Passat’s interior is handsome in a German, utilitarian way and the cabin provides plenty of space. The open cabin and thin door pillars mean outward visibility in the Passat is excellent. The dashboard has a horizontal design with air vents stretched across the top of the dash which enhances the width of the car and gives it a very clean look. The rear seatbacks also fold down to increase the overall cargo space. The trunk opens up to offer nearly 16 cubic feet of cargo space.
Our R-Line loaner ($30,990) featured special 19″ 5 spoke wheels as well as a more aggressive front-end treatment with C-signature air intakes in gloss black and chrome badging on the front fenders. Now sitting at the top of the model lineup, the R-Line offers more features and infotainment than the 2020 R-Line. The aforementioned wheels along with other features such as a unique front bumper, black window surrounds, power sliding sunroof, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, R-line door sill protectors, V-tex leatherette seating surfaces and more are all standard on the R-line models. Passat R-Line models start at $31,385 (with destination charge) and there are only a few options you can add such as remote start, a rear lip spoiler, a higher end red metallic paint and some misc accessories.
The standard infotainment system includes a 6.3-inch touchscreen paired with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, around the cabin are several USB ports to keep devices charged. The top model adds navigation, a larger 8.0-inch display, a Fender premium sound system (with a subwoofer), and a six-month subscription to Volkswagen‘s Car-Net services. This allows users to locate the vehicle, call for roadside assistance, and even lock/unlock the doors remotely from their smartphone. This along with its many standard driver assists, such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, make it a solid choice for families.
The Volkswagen Passat continues to be a contender in the diminishing mid-size sedan segment. It offers a good value from its base trim up to the top-level R-Line. The overall package of safety, simple design, roomy interior, and good fuel economy make this a great option to consider.