Review: 2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SE

Posted on 15. Aug, 2011 by in Auto News

Volkswagen wants to become the world's largest automaker. Sell far more cars in the United States would achieve this goal. Euro-spec cars were not doing the trick, because too few Americans have been willing to pay the resulting semi-premium prices. Sun VW new Jetta compact sedan and a new Passat midsize sedan designed specifically for American tastes and budgets. Convinced of its success, they even have a new factory in Chattanooga, TN, assemble it built. If the UAW latest targets expected to work overtime? Today's review evaluates the 2.5-liter five-cylinder gas Passat in SE trim, while on Wednesday compare the 2.0-liter turbodiesel in SEL Premium trim.

Apparently VW felt biting enough risk with the new system and the significantly higher sales needed to justify it, the new Passat exterior design could not be sure. From the side of the large sedan is similar to the first generation Toyota Avalon, even tailored to the most conservative slice of the American car market around the 1994th The front-end, such as the new Jetta, renounces the way over styled, oversized headlights and grille, which are in fashion in the past half decade. But it goes too far in the other direction, so that the otherwise beautiful (in dark colors) outside an overly generic, "value" face not unlike the 1997 Camry.

The new Passat interior styling is similarly conservative to a fault. The instrument panel top and parts of the doors are soft to the touch, but since many of the other surfaces and controls are decidedly inferior materials, the smells, the whole ambience exist to reduce costs. The climate-control dial, though easy to understand, feel very tacky. As in other recent VWs the beltline (base of the window) is highly fashionable. But the pillars are thin by today's standards, and the windshield is comfortably stretched, so that the driving position is good, if not commands. The seats do not have much in the way of the typical American posterior contour and they are short on padding. Compared to the last VW practice lacks the power of space for two adjustments. No inclination and no relative adjustment for lumbar bulge For some people, none of this will matter, because the new Passat interior is literally one big competitive advantage: limo-worthy legroom. Headroom is also plentiful. If you ever have trouble with a sufficiently spacious sedan, your search is over, unless you want your rear passengers also well ventilated. Although dual zone climate control is standard on all 2012 Passat rear air vents are not available. There is plenty of room for your stuff too, like the truck is large and the rear seat folds to expand it. VW thinks clearly, Americans worry more quantity than quality, make as well as Ford and Chevrolet, a big shift in the opposite direction.

The 200-hp 2.0-liter turbo four, powered previous Passat costs too much for the new car, the lower price ranges. Instead, the 170-horspower five-cylinder engine is lurking at first for the U.S. market Jetta 2005.5 created under the hood of the Passat 2.5. While most definitely not the driving enthusiasts choice (we want what Europe gets), which distinguishes itself with five torque at medium revs and sounds more comprehensive than the typical four. Paired with a six-speed automatic has no trouble the car off the line or accelerating up to highway speeds. It helps that the new 191.6-inch-long, 72.2-inch wide sedan weighs only 3220 pounds, about 100 less than the smaller, 188.2-by-71 0.7-inch Passat 2006-2010. The new Audi A6, even if only a little bigger on the outside and roomy inside weighs less, almost a quarter-ton more.

The trip computer reported mid-twenties. In suburban driving and high 30s for a distance of 70 MPH highway Both figures seem optimistic. The EPA rating for the Passat 2.5 automatic: 22 city, 31 highway, like the 2010 2.0T.

Stripping the Passat at fighting weight also pays for handling. The Passat 2.5 feels much smaller than it actually is. The chassis and especially the steering direct, honest feeling is missing in today's cars with their relentless pursuit of Lexus. Feedback is rich and differentiated when it is needed most, in the turns. The steering is a little light in the center, but gradually as the company turned the wheel (many current systems with new technology too much for their own good do the opposite). As a result, although the Passat are 2.5 's pretty low limits could be better damped in bumpy curves courtesy of unaggressive suspension tuning and 215/55HR17 ContiProContact tires and front-end, it is easy and pleasant to every bit of the car exhaust.

Then the other side. Without the extensive use of budget-busting light steel and aluminum, had to come from the missing pounds of body structure and sound insulation. Perhaps for this reason, the new Passat sounds and feels unreal and refined compared to the emerging norm for the class. Mid-turn bumps triggered a clunk from the driver's door. Even if a defect with the tested car feels, the body structure is less rigid than in imperfect pavement. Build quality, noise levels and refinement where a mid-pack car. A decade ago Just a modest isolated driving experience forever disappear from the midsize sedan segment for a good and not so good? Think again. Slicker, quieter, stronger competitor sound and feel of more expensive, a reversal of the situation when the 1998 Passat shook up the industry.

The 2012 Passat will start with a sensational $ 19,995, but the mandatory $ 770 destination charge bumps well over the magic $ 20,000 mark. Opt for the $ 1,100-automatic gearbox and the SE package (17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather driver's seat, leather steering wheel, trip computer, satellite radio and a few other goodies) and the sticker jumps to $ 25,595. Not as attention getting, but still $ 2,350 less than the 2010 Passat (there was no 2011). But the 2010 contain more stuff, especially a standard sunroof, fog lights, and these are no longer available power seat adjusters. Ask for that use True Delta car price comparison tool and the MSRP difference shrinks to only $ 750. Compare invoices and the feature-adjusted difference is less than $ 200-VW has cut dealer margins. Sun VW is not much to tell here. You have increased the size of the car, but downgraded materials and remote content to a wash (best) what. Even with its lower price. 2012 Passat still lists for $ 3,390 more than a Hyundai Sonata GLS with Popular Equipment Package Adjusted for differences cuts the difference to a still respectable $ 2,900. The Koreans are indeed outliers. Other competitors tend to be the Passat in the $ 1,500 once feature differences are adjusted.

Do not care for upscale materials or insulation from the outside world? I just want a roomy car at a reasonable price? Then VW has developed a Passat for you. But as much as I like to feel the road, the Passat sacrifices too much sophistication in the quest for a low price and a low curb weight. The best current cars suggest that with finesse, it is possible to have both driver and passenger comfort commitment. The new Passat needs more such finesse. But if strong sales of the new Jetta are signs it will sell well regardless.

Vehicle provided by Dan Kelley, Suburban VW in Farmington Hills, MI, 248-741-7903

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source for automotive reliability and pricing information.