2019 Volkswagen Passat

By September 11, 2019

The Volkswagen Passat is the German automaker’s mid-size sedan. Built in Tennessee, the 2019 Passat lineup shrinks to just two trim levels in advance of a new model due soon. There’s a base Wolfsburg Edition and the well-equipped SE R-Line.

Every Passat is now powered by a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo-4, rated at 174 horsepower and issuing 184 pound-feet of torque. Engine output goes to the front wheels, via a 6-speed automatic transmission. 

Volkswagen gives the Passat a worthy selection of standard active-safety technology, led by automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. The Passat SE R-Line adds adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, and active lane control. 

Crash-testing by both the IIHS and the NHTSA has been completed. The Passat earned “Good” ratings for most tests conducted by the IIHS. In the small-offset frontal crash test on the passenger’s side, the Passat received a “Marginal” score.

The NHTSA gave the 2019 Passat a 5-star rating overall and for side-impact, and four stars for the frontal-impact test and for rollover prevention.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $895 destination charge.

Wolfsburg Edition ($25,295), the base model, includes a 6.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, synthetic leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, and keyless ignition. Safety features include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection, rear traffic alerts, and blind-spot monitors.

SE R-Line ($29,995) comes with 19-inch wheels, an upgraded touchscreen with navigation, LED headlights and taillights, paddle shifters, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, parking sensors, and Fender speakers. The trunk can be opened by swiping one’s foot below the rear bumper.

Exterior

Volkswagen’s mid-size sedan is crisply styled and well-tailored, if largely anonymous. It skips today’s coupe-like profiles, “floating” rooflines, and deep contours for a straightforward look that endures. Its simple “three-box” shape shows minimal decoration, other than a few chrome bits.

A prominent “VW” badge sits on the wide grille. Sharp bodyside creases complement a tall greenhouse, which provides excellent outward views. R-Line trim features a snappy body appearance kit.

Interior

Restraint is the dominant theme for Passat’s admirably spacious cabin. Except for an analog clock, the Passat interior is even more conservative than its exterior. Little visual flair is evident, but the interior displays a clean, cohesive look.

Firm, highly supportive front seats provide a wide adjustment range. Great outward vision ranks with the best in the mid-size sedan segment, helped by a low dashboard.

The Passat’s rear seats also are firm, yielding excellent support. Space is bountiful with 39.1 inches of leg clearance – just right for long-legged adults. The well-contoured back bench makes the Passat feel even more roomy, though three-abreast seating can be snug for riders with broad shoulders.

At 15.9 cubic feet, trunk volume is about average for the Passat’s class.

All Passats have synthetic leather seat upholstery. Front door panels and the dashboard are covered with low-sheen, soft-touch trim pieces.

Good infotainment systems feature large, crisp displays, though the base screen is small. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard.

Driving Impressions

Volkswagen’s Passat has one big bonus that places it above the pack: its smooth, practically pampering ride. On the Wolfsburg base model, standard 17-inch alloy wheels yield the gentlest, most luxurious, ride. Still, optional 18-inch rubber doesn’t impart too much firmness.

Composed, confident handling delivers a sense of safety. Volkswagen’s turbo-4 engine helps gives the sedan good road manners, supplying adequate energy. Engine behavior is smooth and responsive, if short on excitement. Few Passat owners are likely to feel deprived, as the turbo-4 mates well with the 6-speed automatic transmission. The Passat’s 184 pound-feet of torque gives it good passing prowess on two-lane roads, or when merging onto an expressway.

Satisfying fuel economy makes Passat a frugal choice. It’s EPA-rated at 25/36 mpg City/Highway, 29 Combined. Some drivers are likely to chalk up even thriftier figures, helped by the responsive 6-speed automatic transmission that keeps engine revs low. Passats use regular gasoline.

Final Word

A roomy interior, combined with a luxury-level ride, may tempt some drivers to look at the 2019 Volkswagen Passat. Best bet: turn to the base Wolfsburg Edition, which is amply equipped for its price. 

 

Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.