Midsize car; Built in
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $8,400 – $25,400*

2014 Volkswagen Passat

2014 Volkswagen Passat

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport

2014 Volkswagen Passat

  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
  • Wind noise
  • Brake-pedal feel

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat was designed specifically for the American market and differed significantly from the version sold in Europe. Larger than the car it replaced, Passat offers excellent passenger and cargo room in a very practical and comfortable package. The available diesel engine is one of this car’s defining features, and the fine fuel economy it promises helps this sedan stand out in a class filled with excellent choices.


After a one-year hiatus, the Volkswagen Passat was redesigned for 2012, and production moved from Germany to the United States. The midsize car now offered freshened styling, new engines, and larger dimensions than the previous model. Now one of the largest cars in its class, Passat topped the segment in combined front- and rear-seat legroom. This car was only offered as a 4-door sedan; the 4-door wagon was discontinued in North America.

While the previous-generation Passat offered just one engine option (a turbocharged 4-cylinder), the new Passat offered three. The 2.5L versions used a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine. The TDI was equipped with a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder, and the V6 was powered by a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Five-cylinder models could pair with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Diesel versions used a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual that behaves much like an automatic. V6 versions offered only the dual-clutch automated manual.

The Passat expanded from one trim level to eight: 2.5L S, 2.5L SE, 2.5L SEL, 2.5L SEL Premium, TDI SE, TDI SEL Premium, V6 SE, and V6 SEL Premium.

The 2.5L S included such features as a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, driver-seat lumbar adjustment, split folding rear seat, and wireless cell-phone link. The 2.5L S w/Appearance added illuminated visor mirrors and alloy wheels.

The 2.5L SE and TDI SE added a leather-wrapped steering wheel, vinyl upholstery, heated front seats, 8-way power driver seat, heated power mirrors, satellite radio, 17-inch tires, and more. These models could also be purchased with a power sunroof or with a power sunroof and nav system together.

The 2.5L SEL added a rearview camera, Fender sound system, and several minor features.

The 2.5L SEL Premium and TDI SEL Premium added leather/suede upholstery, driver-seat memory system, 8-way power passenger seat, keyless access and starting, remote engine start, and (on TDI) 18-inch tires.

The V6 SE w/Sunroof added the following to 2.5L SE w/Sunroof and TDI SE w/Sunroof: V6 power, Fender sound system, fog lights, and 18-inch tires. This model can also be purchased with a navigation system.

The V6 SEL Premium added a rearview camera, leather/suede upholstery, driver-seat memory system, 8-way power passenger seat, remote engine start, and several other features.

Volkswagen offered only a handful of standalone options (all minor) on Passat.

Yearly Updates

2012 Passat
Passat saw few changes for 2013. SE and SEL models received a redesigned center console with air vents for the rear-seat passengers, along with revamped cupholders and storage compartment. A standard rearview camera was added on SEL models.
2013 Passat
Passat’s standard gasoline engine switched to a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder for 2014. New Wolfsburg and Sport trim levels joined the lineup, and Volkswagen’s Car-Net communications system/smartphone app debuted on Wolfsburg, SE, and SEL models.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Passats have been offered with four engines. The 2.5L versions from 2012 and 2103 use a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine. In 2014, the 2.5L engine was replaced with a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 170 horsepower. The TDI gets a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder, and the V6 is powered by a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Four- and Five-cylinder models pair with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Diesel versions use a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual that behaves much like an automatic. V6 versions offer only the dual-clutch automated manual.

Turbodiesel dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 236
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automated manual
dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 184
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/219
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automated manual


Road Test

With the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, Passat has good pickup from a stop and enough gumption for worry-free highway merging. Testers disagreed over this engine’s throttle response though. Some felt it was fine, others found it non-linear. The 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is brisk from a stop and has enough gumption for confident highway merging and passing. The TDI engine feels snappy from a stop too, thanks to its low-rpm torque peak. It works well with the 6-speed automated-manual transmission. VW improved throttle response on the TDI, eliminating the bogging and surging from a stop that we noticed in other cars with this engine and transmission combination. The 3.6-liter V6 engine is strong and smooth with fine throttle response.

In Consumer Guide testing a 2.5-liter SEL with automatic averaged a very good 28.27 mpg with a bit more highway driving. Our extended-use 2.5 SEL averaged 25.7 mpg over the course of a 6,859-mile evaluation. A 1.8-liter SEL with automatic returned 27.2 mpg in majority city driving. Diesel-powered TDI SEL with the automated-manual transmission returned an outstanding 39.72 mpg, again with a slight bias towards highway driving. No opportunity to measure fuel economy with the V6. Four- and five-cylinder models use regular-grade gas. VW recommends premium for the V6. The TDI diesel engine is available in all 50 states. It employs a urea-based exhaust-treatment system that requires periodic dealer maintenance.

Passat rides comfortably on the available 17- and 18-inch tires. Small bumps are heard more than felt, and the car is a comfortable highway cruiser.

The Passat never feels particularly sporty, but it is well balanced and more than competent. The steering is lighter in cars with the 2.5-liter engine compared to the TDI and V6, but all are accurate. Braking is strong, but some testers found the pedal too touchy.

Wind rush is noticeable at highway speeds, and the tires make a bit of a ruckus on coarse surfaces. Passat remains reasonably quiet for the class, however. The 1.8-liter and 2.5-liter engines are very smooth and refined. Along with the TDI, both are heard a bit under acceleration, but all three are nearly silent at cruise. The smooth V6 engine sounds rich under acceleration, and quiets nicely on the highway.

The climate controls are easy to reach, clearly marked, and simple to operate. All Passats we’ve driven have had the available navigation system. It uses a combination of buttons and touchscreen controls, and absorbs most audio functions. It will require a bit of acclimation to master. On one test car, the radio/navigation unit was very slow to react to inputs.

Up front, there is good headroom and legroom. The seats are firm and comfortable, but taller drivers may wish the bottom cushion was a bit longer for better thigh support. Comfort is further enhanced by a standard manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel. Visibility is generally good. Entry and exit are trouble free.

Volkswagen claimed the new-for-2012 Passat had class-leading rear legroom. Six footers have ample legroom and foot space behind a like-sized driver. Headroom is good too. The cushion feels a bit low, but overall Passat has a remarkably comfortable rear seat. Entry and exit are easy.

Trunk room is cavernous with a flat floor and low liftover. Sickle-style hinges steal a bit of cargo space though. The 60/40 split rear seat folds down to make room for longer loads. Plentiful small-item storage includes a good-size glovebox, door pockets with bottle holders, a deep console bin, a drop-down bin on the dash left of the steering wheel, a covered bin in front of the shifter, two covered cupholders, and a small open tray.


Model Tested: 2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5L SEL with automatic

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.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 8
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 8
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 6

Total: 63


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.4 191.6 72.2 58.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.9 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.8 42.4 39.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


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

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

Trouble Spots

Description: Moisture may cause the front door latches to freeze and prevent them from operating. (2012-14)
Description: Some 2012 Passats may have been produced without tabs on the seat tracks that limited the fore and aft adjustment of the passenger’s front seat. Dealers will perform a visual inspection and if needed instal missing tabs. (2012)
Information stickers/paperwork
Description: Some 2012 Passat owner’s manuals contained incorrect wheel bolt tightening torque values. Dealers will replace owner’s manual with a corrected version free of charge. (2012)

Recall History

Description: Certain 2012 Passats equipped with the 2.0-liter diesel engine may develop a fuel leak because of a fuel filter element that does not seal correctly.
Description: The low-beam headlamp bulbs may become loose and lose power.
Description: Debris may contaminate the air bag’s clock spring, a flat cable that maintains power to the air bag when the steering wheel is being turned. The contamination may cause the cable to tear, which prevents the air bag from deploying in a crash.
Description: On certain 2014 Passats, a sealing cap on the engine’s fuel rail may fail, creating a fuel leak in the engine compartment.
Description: Certain 2014 Passats equipped with the 1.8-liter engine and automatic transmission may leak transmission fluid because of O-ring seals in the transmission oil cooler.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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.

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