5 reasons we’ll miss the Volkswagen Passat (and 4 reasons we won’t)



The steady march of the midsize sedan into the annals of American history continues as buyers in the domestic market choose larger, more expensive SUVs in lieu of the previous main body style. The Chrysler 200, the Dodge Avenger, the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu – all of them either went to that big parking lot in the sky (or will soon). This is how it works for Volkswagen: The automaker has supposedly said The latest Passat sedan will also be the last for the US market, with a focus on production of the new ID.4 electric SUV.

Connected: Volkswagen Passat review 2020: VW secures its bet on the future of the sedan

All of this results in this being the last Passat after more than three decades of sales in the US, and I don’t think I’m alone saying we will miss it. The Passat has gone through different versions and we’re decidedly fans of the latest version, a 2021 Passat R-Line that I recently spent a week with. Here are five reasons we’ll be missing out on the latest Passat (and four reasons we won’t).

What we will miss

1. The whole room

Perh’s most noticeable aspect of the Passat since it became a separate car from the European version for the 2012 model year is the interior – especially the back seat. It’s cave-like, with almost sedan-like legroom for rear passengers. Even with large front occupants, rear seat passengers rarely see their knees touch the front seat backs. There’s decent headroom there too, thanks to a more formal, upright roofline that you’d see on rivals like the old Ford Fusion or the current Honda Accord. The strange thing is that per person, the Passat is no bigger than the competing sedans inside – but when you sit in it the differences are obvious.

2. Good visibility

While other cars have started to adopt the high waist, small glass aesthetic, which is both about weight and cost savings and design, the Passat retains a large greenhouse and low belt. That said, it also has a low dashboard and The means that you can easily see in all directions. That’s Hondas used Feeling 20-30 years ago, but modern sedans increasingly feel like you’re sitting in a tub. Not so with a Passat.

3. Smooth powertrain

The Passat’s more powerful V-6 engine option was discontinued after the 2018 model year. The only remaining engine is now a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. That’s a few gears less than what the competition is offering, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying what VW has created here: a smooth-shifting, downright peppy drivetrain with plenty of torque. It’s not quite as exciting as the old V-6, but it remains difficult to get the big Passat moving quickly.

4. Great ride

The Passat drives smoothly even on the blasted sidewalk of the Midwest. The R-Line is the top 2021 fairing and features some sexy 19-inch two-tone wheels on low-profile 40s-series tires. Despite this aggressively thin rubber, the Passat is designed for comfort and offers a smooth and stable ride at any speed.

5. Decent value

The Passat is very well equipped, has a lot of floor space, drives well, looks good and has a lot of standard electronic security systems. Nevertheless starts about $ 1,000 less as a base model Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. A Passat R-Line like this one sticks to just under $ 31,000 including the destination, and there’s only one way to go: charged. All you have to do is choose a color.

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What we won’t miss

1. The terrible synthetic leather

The Passat’s SEL trim level is no longer available, so you can only get real leather on the steering wheel and gear selector. But the real leather from Volkswagen and Faux leathers are both generally terrible – it’s actually hard to tell the difference on a modern VW, and that’s not because the faux leather is that good. Fortunately, VW offers some high-quality fabric seats in many models. They’re only available on the Passat’s base fairing called the S, but these are the ones you want.

2. Small multimedia screen

The largest touchscreen offered in the Passat is dinky by today’s standards. All models have a 6.3-inch display, with the higher-cut R-Line featuring navigation and HD radio. Given the much more advanced and larger systems in competing vehicles, this is a feature we won’t miss.

3. Questionable interior materials

While the interior appears to be glued together pretty well, it’s an obvious area where VW has made some compromises on material quality. The dashboard and door plastics feel crisp and hollow, a complaint we’ve had about other VWs like the Atlas for years.

4. Total lack of steering feel

The Passat used to be a driving enthusiast’s choice for a medium-sized sedan with clear European handling and worthwhile overall performance. It has since become a more Americanized family freight forwarder, and that means very little steering feel. The ratio is fast, but the feedback is more like a video game controller than a car.

Related video: 2018 Volkswagen Passat Review

The Cars.com editorial team is your source for automotive news and reviews. In accordance with Cars.com’s longstanding ethical policy, editors and reviewers do not accept gifts or free rides from automakers. The editorial team is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.


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