Midsize car; Built in Germany
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,400 – $19,000*


2006 Volkswagen Passat


2006 Volkswagen Passat


2006 Volkswagen Passat

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Passenger room and comfort
  • Quietness
  • Steering/handling
  • Brake performance
Cons:
  • Cargo room (sedan)
  • Ride (rough pavement

Volkswagen said four-cylinder models would account for 80 percent of Passat sales, and a sparsely-optioned Value Edition or 2.0T has indeed been the smart new-car choice, due to hefty prices for lavishly-equipped versions. Near-average resale values help keep secondhand prices reasonable. In materials quality and driving poise, Passat was once a match for cars in the premium-midsize class, but the latest edition struggles to justify such comparisons.

Overview

Volkswagen redesigned its midsize car for 2006, with fresh styling, larger dimensions, and more power. Sixth-generation Passat sedans arrived first; wagons debuted later in the model year.

The 2006s retained virtually the same wheelbase as the 1998-2005 sedans, but their bodies grew 3 inches longer and 3 inches wider overall, promising 2.4 inches of additional rear leg space. Available features new to Passat included a navigation system and steering-linked bi-xenon headlamps, plus manual and automatic transmissions with six speeds instead of five.

Base engine remained a turbocharged four-cylinder, but it was a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter versus the prior 170-horsepower 1.8-liter. The 2.0-liter was used in the Value Edition and 2.0T models. These came with front-wheel drive and either six-speed transmission. The V6 was now a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter, versus a 190-hp 2.8-liter, and was used in the 3.6 models.

Passat V6 models came only with an automatic transmission, and were available with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive. Volkswagen said a diesel model would not be available before the 2008 model year.

Antilock four-wheel disc brakes and antiskid/traction control were standard; so were front torso side airbags and head-protecting curtain side airbags. Rear torso side airbags were optional.

Four-cylinder models came with 16-inch wheels; 17s were optional on 2.0T models and standard on 3.6 editions. The 3.6 was available with 18-inch wheels and a sport suspension. Leather upholstery was optional on 2.0T and 3.6 models, with wood interior trim available on 3.6s only. All models had air conditioning, but the 3.6 version added dual-zone automatic control. A navigation system was optional.

With the Passat, Volkswagen competed against the Honda Accord, Mazda 6, and Toyota Camry.

Yearly Updates

2007 Passat
Adaptive cruise control was a new option for 2007 models. Passat came in base, 2.0T, and 3.6 versions, with AWD available only for the 3.6. Firmer suspension tuning was used for the Sport Package, optional for 2.0T and 3.6 models.
2008 Passat
The 2008 Volkswagen Passat got several new trim levels. Sedans and station wagons were offered in Turbo, Komfort, Lux, and 4Motion VR6 models. The front-drive VR6 sedan was new and powered by a 280-hp 3.6-liter V6.
2009 Passat
For 2009, Passat was no longer offered with a manual transmission, a V6 engine, or all-wheel drive.
2010 Passat
The 2010 Volkswagen Passat received slightly freshened styling.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Passat could have either a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 3.6-liter V6, producing 200 or 280 horsepower, respectively. Four-cylinder models might have a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, but the V6 mated only with automatic. For 2008, a new, front-drive VR6 sedan was powered by the 280-hp 3.6-liter V6. For 2009, Passat was no longer offered with a manual transmission, a V6 engine, or all-wheel drive.

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/212
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
23/32
22/31
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/219
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 265
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

19/28

Road Test

Acceleration can be more confident with V6 power, but both engines appeal. The 2.0T moves away from a stop with spirit and is impressive in midrange highway passing, but it counts on the right blend of turbo boost and transmission downshifting for good response in the 35-55 mph range. The 3.6 delivers stronger, more linear power throughout–but the four-cylinder may satisfy most buyers. VW estimated 0-60 mph acceleration at 6.9 seconds for a four-cylinder with manual transmission, 7.4 with automatic; 6.6 seconds for the 3.6 model with front-drive, 6.2 with AWD. A test front-drive V6 sedan reached 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, but suffered significant wheelspin from a stop. With their better traction, AWD versions are slightly quicker. Power delivery with either engine is often imprecise, due to non-linear throttle action. One test AWD sedan suffered extreme low-speed throttle lag.

Fuel economy is acceptable. Test automatic-transmission 2.0Ts averaged 19.6 mpg overall, 26.9 in mostly highway use. V6 sedans have averaged 18.2 to 19.9 mpg with front-drive, 22.1 with AWD, in mostly highway driving. A front-drive 3.6 wagon averaged 21.8 mpg. Volkswagen recommended premium-grade fuel for the V6 and requires it for the turbo 2.0T.

Firm ride quality follows the European tradition, with the entire car reacting as a unit to bumps. Unlike that Euro ideal, some float and wander may occur, though the Passat is reasonably stable at highway speeds. Around town, sharp imperfections register with a jolt felt through seats. Little difference is evident between the base and sport suspensions, or between 16- and 18-inch tires.

Steering is firm and accurate. Nicely weighted but light, it requires attention in straight-ahead driving. In the same vein, a test 2.0T exhibited less than optimal straightline tracking at highway speed, though overall, Passats track confidently. Good cornering grip and balance is the rule, especially with the sport suspension and 18-inch tires. Rapid low-speed acceleration in the 3.6 model, especially with front wheels turned, can trigger annoying torque steer (pulling to the side). Stopping power is fine, though some testers have cited overly long brake-pedal travel on certain test cars.

Most noise is isolated well, though road sounds are evident on coarse surfaces-especially in the wagon or with 18-inch tires. Highway speeds prompt wind rush from windshield pillars. Rapid acceleration makes the four-cylinder growl, the V6 purr–though the V6 is slightly rough at idle.

The angle and location of the speedometer and tachometer may make them difficult to read, and the small, deep-set fuel gauge is even harder to decipher. Climate controls are too low for best access. Thankfully, VW’s navigation system incorporates no audio or climate functions, but some icons and programming steps seem illogical and the screen can become illegible in direct sunlight. Overall, Passats are a puzzling mix of high-quality materials offset by budget-grade plastics. Some dash panels ring hollow instead of solid to the touch. Cabins are assembled with care, but Passat no longer sets the class benchmark for interior materials. One test 2.0T suffered buzzing and rattles in the instrument panel.

Generous front-seat room is accompanied by soft, flat seat cushions that may fall short on comfort and support for some occupants. A manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel has been standard, but the 2.0T driver’s seat is an odd amalgam of manual control for fore/aft and tilt, and power for backrest recline. Some testers could not find a comfortable driving position, but outward visibility is fine. Spacious in the rear, with plenty of knee clearance, Passats have tight toe space beneath the front seats. Taller passengers may prefer more head clearance. Wide-opening doors ensure fine entry/exit.

Trunklid hinges reduce useful cargo space in sedans, but the trunk is otherwise deep, wide, and easy to load. The standard 60/40 split folding rear seatback with pass-through is a nice touch. Clever thinking gives the cabin a wealth of storage opportunities, including small dashboard drawers, liter-bottle holders in front doors, a cooled center console and glovebox–plus umbrella storage with a drain in the driver-side door. The wagon’s cargo bay is nicely trimmed, with handy side storage pockets; but seatbacks don’t fold fully flat.

Ratings

Model Tested: Volkswagen Passat 3.6 AWD sedan

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 59

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.7 188.2 71.7 58.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.2 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.8 41.4 37.7
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.7 188.0 71.7 59.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
35.8 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 38.6 41.4 37.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Passat 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The airbag warning light may come on because of high resistance in a connector under the driver and/or passenger seat which must be replaced. (2006-07)
Air conditioner
Description: The A/C may gradually get warmer while driving due to a bad temperature sensor allowing the evaporator to freeze up. (2006-07)
Engine misfire
Description: Engine may misfire and the check engine light may illuminate due to moisture getting into the coil-over-plug ignition coils unless improved COP units have been installed. (2005-07)
Audio system
Description: The navigation system may develop several faults (no map, inaudible voice, radio locks up, etc.) requiring software upgrade. (2006-08)
Seat
Description: The heated seat(s) may quit working. (2006-08)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid may leak from the fluid cooler lines due to defective O-rings. (2006
None
Description: Noises may come from the rear springs which is eliminated by replacing the galvanized spring plate with a rubber coated plate. 2006-08)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on due to a malfunction in the evaporative emission system requiring the lines to be blown clean and the purge regulator valve replaced. (2006)

Recall History

2006
Description: Left and right tie-rod securing nut on certain vehicles may be insufficiently torqued and could loosen, resulting in tie-rod separation and loss of steering control.
2006-07 w/2.0-liter engine
Description: These vehicles may have a vacuum line that could fracture and become disconnected at low temperatures. If this happens, the brake power assist can become fail, and the driver will experience increased effort to apply the brake. Dealers will install the newly designed vacuum line.
2006-07
Description: The wiper motor may fail during heavy rain due to excessive moisture entering the wiper motor. The wipers could become inoperable, resulting in a possible crash. Dealers will install a special cover and sealing kit.
2008 Passat sedan and wagon with 2.0T FSI ULEV II engines
Description: These vehicles have an engine-control module (ECM) containing software that may not properly control engine idle with the air conditioning turned on. In rare cases, the ECM may unexpectedly increase engine RPM. Dealers will inspect and update the ECM software.
2009 sedans and wagons
Description: Some vehicles may have an electromechanical steering gear control unit that can malfunction due to a damaged capacitor. If malfunction occurs, the steering wheel may vibrate, a warning light may appear, and the car might not adequately respond to the driver’s steering inputs. Dealers will replace the steering gear in the affected vehicles.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.