VW Passat Review

2012 Passat Volkswagen Review

VW Passat
My first ever car review was the Suzuki Kizashi, a car I praised. My Uncle Dan decided to chime in to the blog world and wrote, “I still love Buick-Nice try kid-good writing Dan.”  Now to understand the true hidden meaning of that you would have had to live in my house during holidays when the men would gather in one room and dispute which vehicle was the best. Names like Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler were argued (and sometimes heatedly) to the point of exhaustion. Notice only American “names” were ever brought up in the debates. Several years have passed. I’m most definitely not a kid anymore. American cars aren’t so American anymore. And foreign cars aren’t quite so foreign anymore. Volkswagen’s Passatis now assembled in Chattanooga, TN. I just wonder if VW’s name will get kicked around now by one of the family guys.I would suspect the first to land in the verbal ring of fire would be the three engine choices and which one is optimal. The entry level is savvily priced just under $20,000 and sports 170-hp, 2.5-liter five with 170 lbs/ft of torque. The TDI promises more than 40 MPG has 140-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four with 236 lbs/ft torque under its hood. Or the powerhouse with 280-hp, 3.6-liter 10.6-degree VR-6 with 258 lbs/ft torque. Someone I’m sure will throw in some jabs that Passat doesn’t come with all wheel drive or the coveted wagon anymore and the heat will be enough to roast our holiday turkey.

VW Passat exterior

Passat has earned the coveted “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

While the men hash it out in the living room, the women are in the kitchen nibbling on treats knowing perfectly well that men may have the corner in the ring but women decide who wins the fight. Just ask any car sales reps and they’ll confirm that when it comes to buying a family-mobile, the woman is the end *decision maker. (Same with houses and computers but that’s a different article.)

Looking at the Passat from a female point of view, you’ve got quality German engineering assembled in the USA adding 1,700 jobs and selling at a lower price from the previous year. Not only are they assembling the cars here, but VW is also purchasing 85% of the parts from local suppliers. Throw in that the Passat has been designed specifically for the American market, (must mean bigger)  and the bottom line, us buyers get a better deal plus better standard features. What else is this car up to?

We drove the 2012 Passat SE for a week. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the roominess of the backseat. I think they were even better behaved because of the extra space. I swooned over the well crafted cabin features. The heated leatherette seats with 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat including power lumbar was quite comfy for this chauffeur. The two drink cup holders in the front  had doors that could close up any mess which kept things neat for this cleaning lady.  (Notice a theme here?) The Touchscreen Premium VIII sound system with eight speakers kept this mom on the go entertained. The hubs was also quite pleased with the extra headroom and leg room. Passat is one of the few cars that he didn’t extend the seat to the farthest position.

Other interior standard features include Bluetooth hands free calling system, AUX-in for portable audio players, three 12V power outlets, remote keyless entry, and dual zone climate control.

Passat, with all of its roominess and cabin comfort, is a highway cruiser. The car’s easy suspension makes it a forgiving ride over our never ending road construction projects. Even though Passat is more about comfort than sport, the car handled exceptionally well on winding roads. I could envision taking this car on family vacations with our long legged kids sitting in the back. The smooth and quiet ride would take us to the events instead of being one. You all know what an event it is to sit in an uncomfortable car for twelve hours.

VW Passat interior

I could envision taking this car on family vacations with our long legged kids sitting in the back. The smooth and quiet ride would take us to the events instead of being one.

The domestic goddess in me really likes VW’s method to hold your goods in place. They’re called CarGo blocks ($125 upgrade includes heavy duty trunk liner).  Each plastic block has velcro on the bottom allowing you to protect and arrange your groceries and other goods. Wish I had these blocks two years ago when the hamburger patties fell out of the bag and hid in Neverland only to be noticed a few days later by a very unhappy nose.

Passat has earned the coveted “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The old Passat also earned the safety pick by IIHS but the new version is even stronger. A vehicle must withstand force of at least four times their weight on a rollover to qualify for a “good” rating. The Passat scored 6.3 times its weight on the roof test.

As of 2012, all cars are required to have electronic stability control. ESC helps when the driver suddenly swerves by “applying corrective forces to individual wheels”. Passat is equipped with 6 standard airbags and TPMS which informs the driver if loss of tire pressure occurs. ABS brakes are standard.  The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), and child seat anchor points are also required. VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) is standard and if activated in an event when the airbags are deployed it turns off the fuel pump, turns on the hazard lights, and unlocks all the doors. Now look away from the computer and quiz yourself on all the acronyms.

Passat’s MPG for city/highway is estimated 22/31. We averaged 29 driving mostly city with some freeway action. Momma saved some change at the fuel pump. Kids were quiet in the backseat. The hubs had enough room driving. Perhaps a Passat will be parked in our garage one day.

*2009 NBC/Universal polling: Women buy 60 percent of all new cars and 53 percent of used cars, and spend $300 billion annually keeping their cars repaired.

One week test vehicle from Inver Grove Heights VW in Inver Grove Heights, MN. 2012 Passat SE MSRP $24,825

Assembled in Chattanooga, TN
Engine: Mexico
Transmission: Japan

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