I happen to be one of those few people who liked the current Volkswagen Passat. Aside from the stale design which makes the Toyota Camry look like the Mona Lisa, there were a fair number of items that I liked. From the large interior space, comfortable ride, and value for money proposition. One huge drawback I noted in my review back in 2012 was the base 2.5L five-cylinder. Not only did the engine had to be worked to get it to move the vehicle, it was one of the noisiest engines engines I had ever driven.
But last year, Volkwagen announced that the 2.5 would be going the way of the dodo bird and a new turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder would take its place. I had the chance to sample it in a 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL. Would this fix one of the Passat's biggest problems?
Oh yes. The 1.8T makes 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Both have the same horsepower, but the 1.8T has seven more pound-feet. This makes a difference when leaving a stop. The 1.8T feels much more punchy when leaving a stop and has more than enough oomph to move you along at a rapid pace. As for noise, the 1.8T is noticeably quieter. The six-speed automatic delivered quick and smooth shifts. Fuel economy wise, the 1.8T gets 24 City/34 Highway/28 Combined. In my week long test, I got an average of 29.2 MPG.
Otherwise, the 2014 Passat is pretty much unchanged which for the most part is very good. The interior was well equipped in this SEL tester with dual-zone climate, touchscreen navigation, leather, and heated seats. Ride quality was excellent as the Passat was able to ride over bumps and provide a quiet ride. Those who want a bit of sporting might want to look at either a Honda Accord or Mazda6. The Passat corners decently, but the rubbery steering does let it down.
Volkswagen fixed one of the major problems with the Passat by dropping the 2.5 and putting in the 1.8T. This makes the Passat a more compelling choice in the class. Also, when you consider that this top line 1.8T model costs $31,715 with destination, its also quite the bargain.
Now if they could only work on the design...
Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Passat, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Trim: SEL Premium
Engine: 1.8L Turbocharged Inline-Four
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4800
Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 1500
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/34/28
Curb Weight: 3,230 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
Base Price: $30,895
As Tested Price: $31,715 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)