It's hot and humid in the South. US Airways had a mechanical problem and we are stuck in North Carolina for two hours. We finally make it to Chatanooga, TN. Volkswagen's manufacturing plant has just opened and the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat is 85% locally-produced.
Our driver thinks the new Passat being built in Chattanooga, TN is the biggest homerun yet. "I've lived in Tennessee all my life. I know all the builders in this area and some of them do shoddy work. When I saw the fit and finish of the Volkwagen Passat I was impressed with the work. Volkswagen picked some great workers."
His daughter has a Honda Accord and he wishes she had bought a Volkswagen Passat, "It's bigger than the Accord, and has a nicer interior. Wait till you see it." The journalists in the Touareg hybrid laughed and accused him of drinking the kool aid. Defiantly he stands his ground, "just wait and see".
In the morning we gather for the press briefing on the car. I'm waiting for the stats to see if our driver is right. Volkswagen tells us that the new Passat is 191.7 inches long and has a 110.4 inch wheelbase. That works out to 2 1/2 inches longer than the Camry with 2 inches of that in the rear. I was waiting for it. Here it is - drumroll please. Our driver was sort of right, the Passat is about the same length as the Accord, but it has 1 3/5 inch more room in the rear than the Accord.
I walk into the warehouse and see the new Passats lined up. The first thing I noticed were the colors. Color has become part of the new design, the new style. We're seeing lime greens and bright yellows and frickin Oranges on the road these days. Sometimes I don't notice the design as much as I notice the color, because it's so unusual to see such vivid colors. Volkswagen didn't bring out a screaming primary color, but the colors worked well on the sheet metal. Burgundy is always a favorite of mine, but Volkswagen's gray was impressive as well.
There were ten women journalists on my wave, probably the most women in one group that I've seen at a new car press event. We started talking about the difference between women and men and air conditioning. We came to the conculsion that men and women feel air differently.
Volkswagen has done their work on this level. The new 2012 Volkswagen Passat has dual everything; dual air, dual heat, heated seats for the driver and the passenger in the front seat.
We headed out of Chattanooga in a 2.5-liter SE. The 2.5-liter is the only model that has an S trim level. There were no S levels available, so we took the SE. I regret to admit this, but I found nothing wrong with the car. The interior of the Jetta was a disappointment, so I expected the same from the Passat.
Remember this is the SE model, the next to the bottom level. Everything is soft touch. I know this is a bigger car than the Jetta, but there are Passats that will be less expensive than the most expensive Jetta. If it were me, I'd buy the Passat over the Jetta.
Jettas are selling well, but Volkswagen needs to do a mid-year refresh on their Jetta dash. This Passat interior is so much nicer that people will buy it instead of the Jetta. That, my friends, is long-term satisfaction, not short term sell.
The drive from Chattanooga to Eagleview, TN was easy. The turning radius, 36.4 feet, made correcting our mistakes easy. We easily passed trucks on a hill. I'm not a race car driver, or a stunt woman. When I test drive a car I drive it the way I would drive it naturally, the way a woman with kids drives a car. I want to be secure around a corner and fast on the uptake of an 18-wheeler on a hill. Those things were easily achieved with the Passat.
We drove the the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder through the scenic Tennessee backwoods from Eagleview, TN to Nashville, TN. At that point we switched to the TDI clean diesel. The TDI has a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR), giving the green light to the emissions requirements in all 50 states. The TDI gets 43 miles per gallon, equalling some of the best hybrids with 258 lb-ft of torque
The Passat will be offered in three trim levels, S SE and SEL, with a total of 16 equipment levels.
Engine and Transmission
The all-new domestically assembled and sub-produced 2012 Volkswagen Passat offers three drivetrain options: a 2.5L gasoline engine, an eco-friendly 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel and a powerful 3.6L VR6.
The 2.5L five cylinder engine (170 hp/177 lb.-ft.), which is being offered in the Passat for the first time, will be mated to a standard 5 speed manual transmission. Optionally, the 2.5 multi-port injection engine may be
paired with a 6-speed automatic. The 2.5-liter is produced in Mexico and 21/32 22/31
Next is the four cylinder 2.0L turbo diesel injection (TDI) Clean Diesel (140 hp/236 lb.-ft.). The 2.0-liter has the power of a six cylinder gasoline engine and the fuel economy of a hybrid. The Passat TDI is expected to deliver 43 miles per gallon on the highway, with a range of approximately 800 miles. The Passat’s TDI clean diesel engine comes with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) and is among the cleanest engines in the world, fulfilling emissions requirements in all 50 states. Optional on the Passat TDI will be Volkswagen’s legendary 6-speed DSG transmission. 31 /43 mpg camry fusion sonata 41/36 35/50
The 3.6 liter VR6 (280 hp/258 lb.-ft.) makes the new Passat a top-flight sport sedan. It offers power and luxury-class driving comfort, with European-type restraint in its fuel consumption - estimated at 28 mpg on the highway.
bluetooth standard 20/28 mpg DSG
You need to add $770 to the cost below for destination charges.
2.5-liter S Models
2.5-liter S with manual transmission $19,995
2.5-liter S with automatic transmission and Appearance $22,690
16” steel wheels, six-speed manual transmission, Automatic dual-zone climate control, power locks & windows, body color mirror and door handles, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, 8-way manual driver seat, center armrest w/integrated storage box + Six-speed automatic transmission, 16” alloy wheels, rear center armrest w/storage
2.5-liter SE Models
2.5-liter SE with manual transmission $23,725
2.5-liter SE with automatic transmission $24,825
2.5-liter SE with automatic transmission and Sunroof $25,625
2.5-liter SE with automatic transmission and Sunroof and Navigation $26,795
17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest + Six-speed automatic transmission + Sunroof + RNS 315 Navigation with Mobile Device Interface (MDI)
2.5-liter SEL models:
2.5-liter SEL $28,395
2.5-liter SEL Premium $29,895
The SE options plus, RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System which features 9-speakers and 400 watts of system power, Homelink, comfort sport seats, interior chrome accents, wood grain interior decor, exterior chrome accents + leather seating surfaces, keyless access and remote start, fog lights, driver seat memory, 8-way power passenger seat
2.0-liter turbo diesel injection (TDI) Clean Diesel SE Models
TDI - SE $25,995
TDI – SE w Sunroof $27,895
TDI – SE w Sunroof/Navi $29,495
17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest + Six-speed DSG automatic transmission, sunroof + 18” alloy wheels, RNS 315 Navigation, Mobile Device Interface (MDI), fog lights, exterior chrome accents
2.0-liter turbo diesel injection (TDI) Clean Diesel SEL models:
TDI – SEL Premium $32,195
The SE options plus, Leather seating surfaces, comfort sport seats, keyless access and remote start, RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System which features 9-speakers and 400 watts of system power, driver seat memory, wood grain interior decor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents
3.6-liter SE models:
3.6-liter SE with Sunroof $28,995
3.6-liter SE with Sunroof and Navigation $30,595
Six-speed DSG automatic transmission18” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, sunroof, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, comfort sports seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Fender Premium Audio System which features 9-speakers and 400 watts of system power, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, chrome dual exhaust, fog lights, sliding front center armrest + RNS 315 Navigation, MDI, exterior chrome accents
3.6L – SEL models:
3.6L – SEL Premium $32,950
The SE options plus, Leather seating surfaces, keyless entry with remote start, RNS 510 navigation, driver seat memory, wood grain interior decor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents
Manual trnamsission for TDI. V-6 didn't want less equipped vehilcle.
Toyota Camry,Honda Accord,Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Nissan sonata, Nissan Altima.
If you're looking for an all-wheel drive Passat you're out of luck. There is no all-wheel drive on Passat. You'll need to buy a CC for all-wheel drive. The CC is based on the previous Passat and will get a facelift soon. If you're looking for a plush for the money easy to drive car the new Passat is your car.