Volkswagen’s newest Passat, now built in their Chattanooga, Tennessee factory, costs over $7,000 less than the 2010 model it replaces. It’s bigger, too, with an emphasis on increasing leg room for rear seat passengers. Best of all, it’s going to be available in a turbodiesel variant, which gives buyers a legitimate alternative to hybrid vehicles. Like the Jetta, the lower price comes at a cost: expect to see more hard plastic on the inside, but Volkswagen insists that the bulk of the cost savings comes from domestic manufacturing. This much is certain: with three powertrains and a variety of trim levels, there will likely be a Passat to suit almost any budget.
On the low end of the price scale is the Passat S, with the 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter I-5 engine that Volkswagen is using throughout their product range these days. Starting at $20,675 (which includes a destination charge of $770) with a six speed manual transmission, even the base model gives you automatic dual-zone climate control, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and 3 years or 36,000 miles of no-charge scheduled service.
Step up to the $24,495 SE version (which uses the same 2.5-liter engine as the S) and you get a powered driver’s seal, 17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, premium audio and aluminum interior trim. A six speed automatic is available, and raises the price of the SE trim level to $25,595.
Opt for the TDI version (as I would), and the price of admission starts at $26,765. That buys you an SE trim level car complete with VW’s 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine, good for 140 horsepower but 236 foot pounds of torque. It’ll get an estimated 43 mpg on the highway, which gives it a range of almost 800 miles between fill-ups. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but VW will sell you a DSG dul-clutch gearbox Passat TDI for $28,665.
Topping the range is the Passat with the 3.6-liter V-6, which starts at $29,765 in SE trim level. Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter V-6 is good for 280 horsepower, and all V-6 equipped cars come with the DSG gearbox. They also come with 18” alloy wheels, a Fender premium audio system, fog lights, comfort sport seats and dual chrome exhausts.
There’s plenty more models to choose from, since the Passat range includes some 15 variants. Expect to see the new Passats in dealer showrooms by late summer.