Review: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium

Posted on 17. Aug, 2011 by in Auto News

Last Monday, the review of the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SE found the large, low-cost German sedan to be roomy but unpolished. Today: the TDI SEL Premium trim. In this form the "from $ 19,995 *" new Passat is a bit far. Segment from the mid-twenties sweet spot, with a list price of $ 32,965 But perhaps transform the turbodiesel and top-of-the-line interior is the car?

In SEL Premium trim, the new Passat's exterior more attractive thanks to the one-inch larger wheels and an extra dose of stylish chrome accents (as recommended by Maximum Bob). The latter and the car conservative form team especially well with dark colors, including black color cars tested.

Inside the Passat SEL Premium, the SE replaces extensive faux metal edge by as abundant faux wood and its leatherette seats are replaced with a combination of leather and synthetic suede. The budget for high-quality leather is hardly more convincing than the "wood." I thought it was leather, I happened to notice on the window sticker, "leather-trimmed sport seats comfort" (which, although large and firm, are also missing in the contour to surpass either comfort or sport). It does not help that light beige like that makes the inside of the car tested all but the best materials look cheap. Although the materials in a Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry are little, if not better, in the mid-thirties are some much nicer cabins. An exceptional legroom in both rows: split A significant advantage for all 2012 Passat. Unfortunately, even in the SEL Premium climate controls feel cheap and a tray occupies the space where rear air vents should be, so on hot days that expansive rear seat is not so comfortable. Another victim of cost reductions: there is no real front and rear adjustments relative to the power front seats, to adjust the slope independent of rel, and still no relative adjustment for lumbar bulge.

The 400-watt Fender audio system deserves special mention. The bass at first was so overpowering and muddy that I assumed someone must have it set to 11. Then I tapped my way through the sides of the touch screen interface to discover that it was centered. For the first time I had an audio system of the bass after a few clicks to compensate for its sound.

The 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine is good for 140 horsepower at 4,000 revolutions per minute (30 less, but 1700 were lower than the 2.5-liter petrol engine) and 236 foot-pounds of torque at 1,500 rpm (59 more 2750 and lower). Because the specifications suggest, the diesel feels especially strong on the line and at low speeds. About 30 miles an hour or so, the gas engine is faster, but the diesel is slightly adequate and even at highway speeds does not feel sluggish. The TDI sound is clear that a diesel, especially at idle, but is much quieter and less clattery than the oil burners of the past decades. The six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox (DSG in VW parlance) behaves very similar to the six-speed conventional automatic transmission in the 2.5. Whether creeping along, without a foot on the gas or shifting at full throttle it is smooth. I tried to trip it up, and failed. The DSG shifts are faster than the conventional automatic, but when it is coupled with the inherently slow revving diesel limited benefits.

When coupled with the TDI, the primary benefit of fuel DSG torque converter due to the elimination of the fluid coupling to a. The EPA ratings of 30/40 are very good for a large sedan. The trip computer reported better numbers: high 30s in typical suburban driving and low 50s while driving at 70 My suspicion: it is.

Compared with the Passat 2.5 SE that. TDI SEL Premium rides more smoothly, handles with less mobility and usually feels like a larger, heavier and more relaxed car More competition in some ways, but less engaging. Frankly, I was shocked by the difference between the two. My first guess: The TDI has a lot more weight in the nose, which can be expected to reduce the steering boring, agility, and the front ends tend to bob a bit in 2.5. Check the data sheet is the TDI weighs almost 180 pounds more, and the uplevel trim with its front passenger seat and sunroof probably adds another 70th But £ 3,470 is not difficult for such a large car. Tires may earn a few of the credit / blame, such as the TDI SEL Premium wheels with Bridgestone Turanza EL400 235/45HR18 Touring tires fitted instead of the narrower ContiProContacts for all trim levels of 2.5. The Bridgestone grip the road a little better, but that is probably due to its larger relative, whose design prioritizes ride over handling. It is also possible that the additional soundproofing TDI has to counteract its loud engine.

However, it seemed unlikely that even all these factors together could the difference in how the cars felt to be explained by the steering wheel. Then, looking over a photo of the TDI window sticker, while writing this review I remarked, "electric power steering." Hmmmm … the system in the 2.5 felt too communicative to electrically assisted. The system in the TDI, not so much. Drag the photo of the 2.5 's label, and confirmed my newfound hypothesis: it retains "power steering." So if you are hoping to combine the feel refreshingly direct steering in the Passat 2.5 TDI review the efficiency of the reported bad. Can not this combo. And the 280-horsepower V6, which system does it include? Unclear-electric vw.com says in some places, in other hydraulic. Most signs point toward electric. Hopefully they have this sorted in the Chattanooga assembly plant.

Compared to other two of the motors, the Passat TDI costs $ 2300 more than 2.5 and less than $ 755, the V6. Followed up by someone else and finally provides a cost mid-size sedan with a diesel engine in the U.S. (Honda, Nissan and Subaru have all announced then canceled those plans), VW needs this space itself. This mid-sized hybrid sedans leaves as main rival of the Passat TDI. A comparably equipped 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid lists for $ 460 more, but about $ 1,000 less if you compare the two accounting-to-bill (Toyota dealers enjoy much thicker edge). Adjusted for differences with True Delta car price comparison tool and both shift about $ 900 in favor of VW. So with a feature-to-bill adjusted invoice comparison they are very close. A loaded 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid lists for about $ 500 more, but accounting-to-bill is about $ 1,000 less. The function setting is $ 500 in favor of Ford. A 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with Premium Package checks in the lowest: about $ 1,300 less than the Passat TDI SEL Premium at MSRP and $ 1,900 less invoice-to-invoice. Feature differences between the two are a wash.

The Passat TDI SEL Premium looks and feels like a more expensive car than the 2.5 SE, but might struggle to support their mid-thirties price tag. Even with the upgraded interior, many of the bits are cheap and the rear bench, but very spacious, not to their own vents. The TDI DSG powertrain leads and gets exceptional fuel economy given the size of the car. But the ride, although quieter and smoother than in the SE, is still average at best. Disappointing: the steering system that the 2.5 SE is fun and engaging on a winding road not included in the TDI. Instead makes the electric power steering TDI cuts communicating with the front wheels and the carriage is much larger and heavier. (In the EPS defense, this is partly because the TDI SEL Premium is about 250 pounds heavier.) Conclusion: If you are looking for a spacious, highly efficient mid-size sedan are the Passat TDI compares well against other "hybrids and similarly priced. But it's not the car, it is could be stellar with a few minor upgrades and changes.

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

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.