2014 Volkswagen Passat Executive Style review
Granted, it’s not the quietest 2.0-litre diesel we’ve tested, but the power delivery is smooth and well matched to the six-speed DSG gearbox. It rarely selects the wrong ratio, and it only hesitates slightly when you put your foot down hard.
However, while this is a fairly brisk estate, it’s not especially good to drive. The steering is light and precise, but there’s no real sense of feedback through the wheel.
Most Passats are at their best on the motorway, with a supple ride that makes light work of long journeys. This version is still pretty comfortable, but the lowered suspension diminishes its appeal as a relaxed cruiser, because it means that large ruts and potholes send loud thunks through the cabin, and it fidgets over scruffy town roads, too.
It's far from the quietest car in the class, either. The diesel engine is quite noisy even under moderate acceleration, and the standard 18-inch wheels kick up a din over coarse surfaces, although wind noise is never intrusive.
What’s the 2014 Volkswagen Passat Executive Style like inside?
Volkswagen isn’t known for flamboyant interiors, but the Passat’s cabin is particularly dull. There are no interesting shapes, materials or colours to grab your attention, which is disappointing when you consider that this car costs more than £29,000.
Still, drivers of all shapes and sizes will find it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel, especially since these new models get electric seat adjustment.
As you’d expect in a run-out edition, the standard equipment list is comprehensive. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and leather upholstery with heated front seats are all included.
2014 Volkswagen Passat 118 TSI review
Note from the Editor: Generic CarAdvice image has been supplied for this review.
Since 2006, VW has built a trendy Passat, at least in my opinion. The reviews in the UK were amazing and the Passat seemed to keep in front, when lined up next to its rivals. So, I had to have one!
My first Passat was the 2006 TDI. It was a beauty. Suffice to say, I was a VW convert. Prior to this I owned a 1994 Falcon and a 2002 Toyota Camry V6. Since purchasing the Passat, I did drive a few other vehicles – 2005 Falcon, 2008 Focus, 2012 Toyota Aurion and 2013 Mercedes A180 AMG – but when push came to shove, I purchased a 2014 Passat 118 TSI. It was either the Passat or a 2014 Camry. I made the right choice because I prefer a roomy vehicle. I scored an excellent deal on an ex-fleet vehicle, so it was a no-brainer.
The comfort of the Passat is incredible. The ride is smooth and effortless. The seats are designed for the long-haul – after driving 450km I could easily keep going. The Climatronic is fantastic, and I would recommend window tinting if you haven't already got it. I had my tinting done more recently, thinking I didn't need it – the difference is incomparable.
The buttons on the dash and door all feel good to press, they're solid and satisfying. All windows are auto up and auto down, which is something I believe all vehicles with electric windows should have. The touchscreen doesn't always feel as responsive as my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, but that may just be me. I don't necessarily press the screen hard enough, although sometimes it can lag when typing information into the navigation.
On occasion, the reverse camera takes a moment to appear on the screen, but the sensors are always responsive. I do prefer the screen on the dash, rather than the screen that sticks out above the dash. The screens that stick out above the dash, to me, appear like an afterthought and it's like the screen isn't designed to be there. Whereas the Passat has the integrated screen, which makes the vehicle feel like it's been finished properly and things are where they should be. Oh, and the analogue clock on the dash is pretty special. There's just something about it that gives the interior a certain splendour.
The transmission is smooth and powers through the gears with ease. Not to mention, it's a miser on fuel. I'm often amazed by people driving their six- or eight-cylinder engines getting their 10–15L/100km, while I'm getting my 7.6L/100km. That's the average per tank, which I calculate myself on each refuel, driving both highway and suburban. Having the Climatronic on constantly doesn't play on the vehicle's performance either.
I use cruise control on almost every road I drive down. It's not because I'm lazy, I just want to make sure I stick to the speed limit... and I'm lazy! Irrespective of where I use it, my speed is constantly maintained. As I said, driving through the hills is effortless and the cruise control manages it with absolute comfort.
My brother was driving behind me in his Toyota LandCruiser, and he told me his car surges at the slightest loss of speed, whereas the Passat does it without you noticing. I have to agree, the Camry I had was an aggressive accelerator. The Passat, however, only shows aggression when you slam it into Sports mode, and even then it's sporty alright and smooth. No hard gear changes, just smooth. The Aurion isn't even this smooth.
VW has designed the vehicle exceptionally well when it comes to space. The boot is cavernous. VW has been able to utilise every section of the vehicle to ensure absolute efficiency in the space department. The backseat area is roomy, so my passengers aren't squashed when parked behind my 190cm driver's seat. In saying that, I don't even have the seat on the farthest setting, like I have done in other vehicles. The front of the cabin has ample room, although the driver's side floor mat is the smallest in the car.
The cabin remains incredibly quiet and the road noise is kept to a minimum. I don't even hear the engine, when I've got my music playing quietly. Once the Climatronic has got the temp right in the cabin, the operation is silent. The air-con system automatically switches between outside air and inside air, depending on the pollution detected, so no car fumes roll through the vents.
At night time the illumination of the cabin looks fabulous. There is a red glow and all button-type objects are clearly visible. It's easy on the eye and feels like you're in a cockpit. The speedo and RPM gauges don't turn blue, like in the 2006 model – I've got to say this colouring was stunning. The gauges are, however, white with red needles, which is also nice. It's just not blue with red needles!
I have to say, the drive of the Passat is amazing. It feels solid on the road and handles corners extremely well. I misjudged a corner, only a few weeks back, so I yanked the car around this bend and it complied. I was doing around 50–60km/h, probably should've been doing 40km/h, but it handled so well, it left me thinking how amazing the car is and how wonderful it is to own it.
Cruising up hills doesn't bother the Passat. I live in the Perth hills and often cars will pull back and rev up the hill, not the Passat. It may pull back from seventh gear to sixth or fifth, but it's a quiet achiever. On the odd occasion when the road is quiet, I've put my foot down, coming up the hill, only for the Passat to pick up speed and seamlessly cruise up the hill, without any form of complaint. The Passat has never shown any form of discontent, it just conforms with what you want. Oh, and it pulls back the gears to assist you in slowing down, when you're descending down the hill, which means less brake pad wear and tear.
I feel like the Germans designed the Passat for practicality; the fact that it's just an all-round beautiful car is a bonus. It may not come with a lot of the gimmicky features, which the cheaper manufacturers install on their base models, but the quality of the build outweighs all else. Yes, I like the idea of auto-dimming high beam lights, but do I need it? No. This was a feature on the Camry I looked at, but the drive and build quality just aren't the same. The functionality of the Passat is spot on and it is set to impress. Although, I wouldn't mind having the adaptive cruise control upgrade.
There's nothing better than getting the windows down on a stinking hot day to let out the stifling heat before you get in. The key fob gives you that ability. It will also close all the windows for you. It even opens the boot, not just unlatch the boot. The actual boot lid opens up, so you can throw everything straight in without trying to clamp onto all your gear with one hand, while the other hand is struggling to lift the boot.
Once you're in, there are four hooks to hang your shopping on. Perfect if you've bought takeaway; it ensures no spillage as everything remains upright. There is one light in the boot, but I reckon it would benefit with a second. I sure would benefit with the second light, so there's one on each side of the boot. I sometimes cover the light because I've loaded up the boot with my doona, pillows, suitcase and the other side is then dark. I could just load the boot space the opposite way around, but I only remember once it's dark, which is when I've arrived at my destination.
In my eyes, the Passat has been designed beautifully inside and out. I can't really fault the design, because I actually really like it. The styling, the lines, the lumps and bumps are all where they should be. The bonnet could be slightly more reinforced, for when closing it. It's just a sleek machine. It looks good from all angles. The interior smells good. It just has this smell that, when I get in, I know it's my Passat. Must be the leather or something...
At the end of the day, my view is find what suits you. It's your money, comfort and enjoyment that are at stake, especially if you spend a fair bit of time travelling to and from work, or on the road. You need to do what fits into your lifestyle. All I will say is, if you haven't considered VW, give VW a go. You may still prefer a Toyota, Ford, Holden or whatever... Pushbike.
2014 Volkswagen Passat 118 TSI review
2014 Volkswagen Passat 118TSI Sedan
Performance & Economy
Cabin Space & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Our ratings explained
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: What you see is pretty much what you get with this 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium, except where the engine -- a little 1.8-liter turbo four -- is concerned. Considering its humble 170-hp output, it's surprisingly capable of getting the car moving. It's not even a torque monster, though its 184 lb-ft are fully accessible from 1,500 rpm.
I liked the motor in the Jetta and I'm pleased to say it worked fairly well in the heavier (by about 200 pounds) Passat. Sport mode livened things up slightly, holding on to gears slightly longer, etc. Hooray.
Beyond that, I wish I had more to say. Despite the big to-do about a different Passats for the North American market and the rest of the world, the car we get doesn't exactly come off as gargantuan when compared to its global cousin. It is a few inches longer (great for rear passengers), but not much wider.
Interior quality is merely adequate. The Passat deploys hard plastics -- and there are a lot of them -- better than, say, a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord, and I do like the very clean interior layout and simple, button- and dial-heavy technology interface.
What can I say beyond that? It is well-equipped, with everything from heated side mirrors and a sunroof to remote start (especially welcome this time of year). Given our gripes about VW decontenting, you might think I'd be gushing about all this. But you're definitely paying for these luxuries, which are increasingly coming to be seen as inexpensive add-ons for even entry-level compacts. This Passat, a midsize, is hardly entry-level at nearly $32,000. And competition is fierce here, with a whole slew of capable, comparable cars with similar pricing structures.
The Ford Fusion Titanium offers similar interior space, cargo capacity, a more pleasant interior -- hell, everything except for daytime running lights, really -- for a tad more. At lower trims, the Passat might have a compelling case, but the argument may fall apart once you start demanding features.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: This here is a fine winter car. It goes great in the snow, has a heck of a heater and terrific heated seats -- all the comforts one needs. When the weather is like this, that's about all I'm asking.
I prefer my Passats with the diesel, but this combo isn't bad. True, Passats are a bit dull to look at inside and out (kind of making the diesel the main selling point), but are well built, roomy as any other midsize car out there if not more so (materials could use a slight upgrade, but only slight), and the turbo four has plenty of oomph. The mpg indicator on the dash said I got 29 mpg commuting on surface streets. That's only 1 mpg less than the last time I drove the diesel.
Diesel or gas, the Passat flows down the road, quiet and smooth. I've read some other reports -- not ours -- that the engine isn't mated well to this gearbox, it doesn't shift smoothly and whatnot. I did not experience that. I thought it was fine. The engine/trans relationship and drivability are class competitive.
There are other virtues. The navigation/stereo screen works well. The seats are comfy. The trunk is huge.
As I said, I'd get my Passat with the diesel. But I wouldn't dismiss this little turbo four out of hand.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I agree with the above editors in that the engine and transmission combination are perfectly adequate for this 3,200-pound midsizer. I was never looking for more power, but a set of winter tires would have been nice for my recent round in our Passat tester. Still, I didn't have any problems getting it out of, or into my unplowed driveway.
I just told a friend he should look at one of these to buy. He wanted something bigger than the Jetta, but didn't really care otherwise. I suggested the diesel model, which is our favorite of the bunch.
The Passat is pretty bland inside and out. I think a more interesting color would at least help the exterior look.
As boring as the interior is, it does have a nice clean look. There aren't too many colors or materials, beside the hard plastics on the doors and dash. And like Graham said, the standard buttons and dials are still way easier to use than the newfangled, touch-capacitor stuff for the radio and climate.
It is a little more fun to drive than the usual midsize sedan. VW does a good job with that. On the parts of the road that were dry, the Passat does a good job of going where you point it.
So, with a 34 mpg highway rating, there isn't much to complain about in this 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium. There just isn't much to be excited about either except for that diesel.
2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium
Base Price: $31,715
As-Tested Price: $31,715
Drivetrain: 1.8-liter turbocharged I4; FWD, six-speed automatic
Output: 170 hp @ 4,800 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,230 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 24/34/28 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 28.4 mpg
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2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium review: New VW Passat proves that 1.8 is enough
As Volkswagen's midsize sedan contender, the Passat's length of just under 16 feet puts it in company with other stalwarts in the segment, such as the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry . That makes for spacious seating in the front or rear seats. Frankly, I find this segment fairly boring, but midsize sedans combine a practicality, comfort, and economy that proves extreme popular for US buyers.
In the US, the Passat's base price comes to only $21,815, but the SEL Premium trim example I reviewed ran to $31,715. Leather seats, cabin electronics, a Fender audio system, and other appointments accounted for the extra cost. Passat models in the UK start at £21,405 with a mix of diesel and gasoline engines. Australian buyers have to pony up AU$36,990 for a Passat, but that regional model gets Volkswagen's seven-speed DSG, a dual-clutch transmission.
One commonality in the midsize sedan segment is the 2.5-liter four cylinder engine, seen in Camry, Fusion, Subaru Legacy , Nissan Altima , and Chevy Malibu . In fact, the previous Passat also came with a 2.5-liter, but Volkswagen replaces that engine in the 2014 model with a new 1.8-liter, using direct injection and a turbocharger to produce 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This new engine benefits from internal friction reduction, and Volkswagen notes that it hits peak torque from 1,500rpm to 4,750rpm.
The Passat's EPA fuel economy comes in at 24 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. In my course of driving, which included city, highway driving, and a few runs in Sport mode, the Passat delivered an average of 30.8 mpg. Most drivers should average in the low 30s. Most impressive, I noted the trip computer's average didn't plummet when I was driving in San Francisco, where hills, traffic, and ill-timed stop lights lead to average speeds across the city of well under 20 mph.
Contributing to the Passat's fuel economy considerably is its six-speed automatic transmission, with overdrive in fifth and sixth gears. In the US, a six-speed manual transmission is also available, but not Volkswagen's DSG.
This new engine leads to a distinct driving character in the Passat. The small displacement combined with sound deadening made it inaudible when idling or cruising. When I feathered the throttle at low speeds, the car proved a little jerky, as the torque comes up so fast. But once over that 1,500rpm point, the Passat sails along smoothly. The moderate power output meant the car didn't pin me to the seat when I floored it, but acceleration was adequate for merging and passing maneuvers. I even heard a little bit of front wheel chirp on fast starts.
As for tuning, there's nothing loose about the Passat's drivetrain and handling. The engine was always responsive to the pedal, and the transmission shifted smoothly, so that gear changes went unnoticed. The transmission offers a manual mode, which might come in handy for hill descents, and a mild Sport mode which held the engine speed around 4,000rpm when I hammered it.
I have found the driving character of midsize sedans differs by small degrees, and the Passat offers similar everyday comfort and ease of driving as the competition. However, I found the suspension leans towards stiff, so expect to feel more of the road than with a softer ride. On a long road trip, that tuning may lead to a little less comfort, but in exchange the Passat showed more lateral stability in hard cornering. The wheel gave the telltale whir of electric power steering at low speeds, but felt responsive and had decent heft. Given the power and only mildly aggressive transmission program, the Passat is no sleeper track star.
Given the similarities in the segment, midsize sedans' cabin tech features can help them stand out from the crowd. Despite sibling brand Audi's strong tech focus, Volkswagen's efforts have been rather mild. Fully loaded, this Passat came with a decent navigation system, a telematics service, minimal driver assistance, and an impressive audio system.
Where the Ford Fusion nears self-driving capability, all the Passat offers is a rearview camera with a static overlay as a distance guide. No adaptive cruise control, no blind-spot monitor, and no collision warning.
That camera view shows up on a modest 6.5-inch touchscreen, the display for Volkswagen's RNS 510 navigation system that comes standard in the Passat SEL Premium. Lesser trim Passats can be had with the feature-poor RNS 315 navigation system I recently saw in the Volkswagen Beetle. The Passat's touchscreen responded reasonably quickly to inputs, but I found its associated voice command system very limited. It gave me good control over the Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and some basic stereo system commands, but nothing at all for navigation.
This navigation system makes an odd distinction between its map views, offering 2D and 3D perspective maps, then a separate 2D map showing traffic conditions. Other automakers seem to have no trouble including traffic conditions on their navigation system's standard maps. However, whether you can see traffic flow information or not, the Passat can dynamically route around bad traffic.
Using route guidance, I found the system did a good job with voice prompts, and even showed lane guidance. Most helpful were the turn-by-turn directions shown on the instrument cluster's monochrome display, which I could see at a glance. On one trip, I was disappointed to find the navigation system had sent me into very slow traffic on the freeway, indicated in red highlighting on the traffic map. I would have preferred more aggressive traffic avoidance.
Volkswagen includes a few connected features in the Passat, such as the venerable Sirius Travel Link system integrated with the RNS 510 navigation system. That means traffic data, fuel prices at nearby gas stations, movie listings, and even stock prices are all beamed into the car, and viewable on the touchscreen. The Passat also includes Volkswagen's new Car-Net system, an app for iPhone and Android which includes standard telematics such as crash notification and roadside assistance.
Useful on a daily basis, Car-Net lets you looks up destinations on your phone, then sync them to the Passat's navigation system. It isn't quite as slick as integrating Google search into the dashboard, but offers similar functionality.
The navigation system stores its maps on a hard drive, a technology that has fallen out of favor lately due to increased flash memory storage. However, Volkswagen makes space available on that drive for music, as one audio source. The stereo includes an SD card slot and Volkswagen's proprietary Multimedia Interface (MMI), a port tucked away in the console which supports adapter cables for iOS devices, both lightning and 30-pin, and USB drives.
Bluetooth streaming is also handy, but where MMI sources show a music library interface on the Passat's LCD, you will have to select music on your phone with the Bluetooth connection.
The star of the cabin tech suite is the Fender audio system, another standard feature at the SEL Premium trim, but available as an option on lesser trim Passats. With a 400-watt amp and nine speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer, this system delivers well-balanced and crisp sound. The fidelity came through at low and high volumes. I was more impressed at the lack of distortion or panel rattle when I cranked it up. The Fender system offered by Volkswagen is one of the best in the sub-$30k price range.
Volkswagen's new engine is a standout in the 2014 Passat, offering excellent fuel economy and adequate power. Low speed power comes on unevenly, but the engine feels fine in the majority of driving situations. The associated six speed automatic makes for a seamless and easy driving experience. Those who favor more engagement with their cars will appreciate the Passat's tight tuning in both suspension and drivetrain.
The cabin includes most of the required tech features for a modern car, such as a Bluetooth handsfree phone system and audio streaming, navigation with integrated traffic, and satellite radio. The Fender audio system is the star here, an edge that could sway a music lover towards the Passat. However, I have never been a fan of Volkswagen's MMI system, and wish the Passat came with a USB port or two.
Connected features come in two buckets here, those from satellite radio and those include in the Car-Net telematics system. Traffic and fuel prices are the most useful for the satellite radio-delivered data, but Sirius Travel Link is only available in the top trim Passat. Car-Net is an intriguing system, and can be had at lower trims. I would like to see more integration of Internet-based data with the Passat.
Driver assistance features are a real let-down, especially at this price. Although not in the same segment, the similarly priced Nissan Rogue I recently tested came with a surround-view camera, LED headlights, a blind spot monitor, and a collision warning system, showing the multitude of useful features for drivers passed up by Volkswagen.
Wayne's comparable picks
|Model||2014 Volkswagen Passat|
|Powertrain||Direct-injection turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed automatic transmission|
|EPA fuel economy||24 mpg city/34 mpg highway|
|Observed fuel economy||30.8 mpg|
|Navigation||Standard, with live traffic|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard|
|Digital audio sources||Onboard hard drive, Bluetooth streaming, iOS integration, SD card, satellite radio, HD Radio|
|Audio system||Fender 400-watt nine-speaker system|
|Driver aids||Rearview camera|
|Price as tested||$31,715|
Passat 2014 volkswagen
.Car Tech - 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL
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