2014 VW Passat, as tested: $31,715.
There isn’t much not to love about the Passat. It’s German, first, and die Deutschen do cars right. (The actual car is put together in America, though.) The 2014 Passat is wide, authoritative, handsome and lends the driver a feeling of “I can handle anything” as opposed to “You better not push me too hard” or “You can pass that guy if you want but I wouldn’t if I were you.”
For 2014, they’ve parked a 1.8 turbo four cylinder under the hood, replacing the naturally aspirated 2.5 litre inline 5-cylinder jobs of old – you can still get a V-6, however. The new engine sacrifices close to zero power, feel-wise, making the new plant a smarter move as it’ll deliver better mileage. Four trannys are offered, depending which Passat model and trim you choose: two manuals, an automatic and an automated manual. All make your feet-hands combo a well-oiled team.The ride is smooth, the cockpit plush and roomy and upmarket, and you can still squeeze somewhere around 30 miles per highway/city per gallon if you don’t go nuts with the acceleration. The car can also be equipped with goodies like VW’s new Car-Net connected services, pairing your smartphone to offer roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle location assistance, remote car access, speed alerts, a car health report and an improved point of interest service on models with navigation. Other items on the menu include two different navigation systems, a rearview camera, HD Radio, satellite radio, a sunroof, remote start, push-button start, dual-zone climate control and two different premium sound systems.
It’s roomy in back as well as front, ditto the gargantuan trunk. Finally, it happens to be one of the safest sedans you’ll ever ride in, with a near perfect 5-star across-the-board rating from the Institute for Highway Safety. Our tester was $31,715; base Passats can be had in the low 20’s.
The Passat’s 2014 tweaks happily make it a better car. Fans will be pleased.