The 2022 Volkswagen Passat doesn’t excite like the flashier, speedier family sedans it competes against. Parked next to the low and wide Hyundai Sonata or the sleek Kia K5, the VW looks y bland. Although its interior is equally unassuming, it’s put together well and boasts pleasant materials. The Passat’s cabin is also a spacious place, particularly in the back seat. This along with its myriad standard driver assists, such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, make it a solid choice for families. Its four-cylinder powertrain operates without fuss, but it’s notably slower than rivals such as the Honda Accord, and VW doesn’t offer all-wheel drive or a hybrid variant like many of its classmates. Still, the 2022 Passat possesses a comfortable ride and attractive pricing. For some customers, those traits—and its refined German disposition—might be preferable to more popular mid-size alternatives.
What’s New for 2022?
Volkswagen will bid farewell to the Passat after the 2022 model year, but the brand is sending it off with a special Limited Edition model. Among the 1973 copies that VW will build, 423 of them will be coated in an exclusive Racing Green metallic paint, as seen on the VW Atlas SUV. The Passat Limited Edition also rides on 15-spoke, 18-inch wheels and has distinct exterior detailing. Along with an assortment of upscale interior features–including leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, built-in navigation, and a Fender audio system–there are call-outs to the Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee where the Passat has been built for the past decade.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d recommend the Passat SE, which comes standard with plenty of features that family-sedan buyers will appreciate, including touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, lane-keeping assist, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Passat has a single powertrain option: a 174-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. In our testing, the engine was smooth and refined throughout its rev range and helped move the sedan with ease. The automatic is mostly a smooth operator, but occasionally it stumbled during our testing when crawling along at low speeds in heavy traffic. Whether eating up highway miles or tooling down back roads, the Passat is up to the challenge. It combines a soft, almost luxurious ride with predictable handling, providing a vehicle that’s as comfortable as it is capable. Steering is accurate and well-weighted, but as with many others in the class, it doesn’t offer as much feedback as we want.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Passat’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s EPA fuel economy is average among family sedans, and many rivals offer more efficient models and hybrid options. The VW’s 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway estimates trail those of the four-cylinder Toyota Camry. We tested both on our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen; the Passat earned 36 mpg while the Camry delivered an impressive 42 mpg. For more information about the Passat’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside the Passat, clean, straight lines follow Volkswagen’s unassuming design language. The Passat’s interior is handsome in a German, utilitarian way, but it’s lacking true inspiration to earn our full praise. The Volkswagen’s cabin isn’t completely without merit, though; it’s among the most spacious and comfortable in its segment. With an open cabin and thin door pillars, outward visibility in the Passat is excellent. There is little variation in cargo capacity among family sedans. With the seats folded to their not-quite-flat resting position, we managed to fit 16 carry-on-sized boxes behind the front seats. The Passat fell to the bottom of the family-sedan pack for real-world carrying capacity, perhaps because Volkswagen sacrificed some trunk space to the Passat’s huge back seat.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The standard infotainment system includes a 6.3-inch touchscreen with a three-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and several USB ports. The top model adds navigation, a larger 8.0-inch display, a premium sound system, and a six-month subscription to VW’s Car-Net services. This allows users to locate the vehicle, call for roadside assistance, and even lock/unlock the doors remotely from their smartphone.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
While even the base model has several standard driver-assistance technologies, only the top trim has the most advanced equipment. For more information about the Passat’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Volkswagen has an above-average limited warranty and below-average powertrain coverage. To offset the latter, the company provides some complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles
2020 Volkswagen Passat
front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$32,410 (base price: $23,915)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
121 in3, 1984 cm3
174 hp @ 5200 rpm
206 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.3-in vented disc/10.7-in disc
Tires: Giti GitiComfort A1, 235/45R-18 94H M+S
Wheelbase: 110.4 in
Length: 193.6 in
Width: 72.2 in
Height: 58.0 in
Passenger volume: 102 ft3
Trunk volume: 16 ft3
Curb weight: 3430 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 8.3 sec
100 mph: 21.3 sec
110 mph: 26.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 9.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 6.3 sec
1/4 mile: 16.2 sec @ 88 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 116 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.84 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 27 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 27/23/34 mpg
More Features and Specs