The Volkswagen Passat is a mid-size sedan similar in size to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It was completely redesigned for '06, and is unchanged for model year 2007, though wagon versions have been added to the model lineup.
The 2006-07 Passat is longer and wider, larger and more mature than previous-generation models. It offers more interior room, particularly for back-seat riders, so a six-foot passenger can now sit behind a six-foot driver. It boasts generous standard content and a beguiling mix of high-tech and haute couture. And while the previous model was among the safest cars in America, the structure of the new Passat is substantially improved.
Its steering is precise, with effort that automatically adjusts to the situation. Its six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, and its brakes are excellent.
The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 200 horsepower that should satisfy most needs, while returning 23/32 city/highway mpg with a six-speed manual transmission.
The optional 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 growls when pressed and delivers robust torque, allowing the Passat to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds.
Traditionally, the Passat line has included a wagon as well as a sedan. This time Volkswagen rolled out the new sedan first, during 2005 as an '06 model. The wagon followed in early calendar-year '06. Packing 35.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and returning 18/26 city/highway mpg even with optional all-wheel drive, the Passat wagon presents a more easily managed alternative to a big, tall SUV.
The 2007 Volkswagen Passat is offered as a four-door sedan or five-door wagon. It's available with a 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 280-hp, 3.6-liter V6. Four-cylinder sedans can be ordered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Wagons and V6s come with the automatic only. The V6 models are available with VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive.
The base Passat sedan is available with a manual transmission ($22,960) or an automatic ($24,035), while the wagon comes standard with the automatic ($25,235). All come with a nice level of trim. The climate control system includes air conditioning and a pollen filter. The leatherette-upholstered front bucket seats adjust manually eight ways, with additional adjustment for the head restraints and lumbar support. Increasing interior utility are 60/40 split/folding rear seats, in the sedan as well as the wagon. Also standard are power windows; an electronic parking brake; central locking; heated outside mirrors; an eight-speaker stereo with in-dash CD player, MP3 capability, and an auxiliary input jack; three auxiliary power outlets; and 215/55HR16 all-season radials on 6-1/2 x 16-inch steel wheels.
The 2.0T comes with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as the base model. The 2.0T sedan is avaialble with the six-speed manual gearbox ($23,960), the six-speed automatic ($25,035), and the wagon comes with the automatic ($26,235). The 2.0T add niceties such as ambient interior lighting, illuminated footwells, six-way power for the driver's seat (plus four manual adjustments), split folding rear seat with armrest, storage and pass-through, dual sunvisors with illuminated mirrors, chrome exterior trim for the window surrounds, body moldings, and 16-inch Catalunya alloy wheels with all-season tires.
The 3.6L sedan ($29,960) and wagon ($31,160) come with the V6, 17-inch Le Mans alloy wheels with all-season tires, power sunroof, Sirius Satellite Radio, and all the features on the 2.0T. The all-wheel-drive 3.6L 4Motion sedan ($31,910) and 4Motion wagon ($33,110) are identically equipped.
Options for the 2.0T include Option Package 1 ($1,750) with a power sunroof, six-disc in-dash CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio (including activation and three months service), heated front seats, and heated washer nozzles. Package 2 Luxury ($4,400) for 2.0T includes Package 1, plus leather seats with 12-way power up front; 3-way memory for front seats and mirrors; leather shift-knob and multi-function steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; fog lights; automatic headlights; environmental lighting on exterior mirrors; rain-sensing wipers; HomeLink; switchable auto-dimming interior rearview mirror; and interior wood and aluminum trim. Package 2 Sport ($5,450) for 2.0T includes all of the above, plus a sport-tuned suspension and 235/40R18 all-season tires on Samarkand alloy wheels. Brushed aluminum interior trim replaces wood and aluminum.
Similar Luxury ($3,250) and Sport ($4,030) Packages for 3.6L include essentially the same equipment, plus high-grade amenities such as Park Distance Control, a cargo net, and sunshades for the rear (sedan only) and rear-side windows. Additionally, the Luxury Package for the V6 upgrades to 235/45R17 all-season tires on Le Mans alloy wheels.
Stand-alone options for 2.0T and 3.6L include 17-inch ($400) and 18-inch alloy wheels; bi-xenon headlights with adaptive steering ($950); Dynaudio premium sound ($1000); DVD navigation with glovebox CD changer ($1800); adaptive cruise control ($975); heated front seats ($225). An iPod adapter ($199) will join the list later in the model year.
Safety features that come standard on all models include front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger, side curtain airbags, four-wheel-disc brakes and ABS, speed-variable electromechanical steering, electronic stability control (ESP), tire-pressure monitor, and a security system. Rear-seat si