The redesigned Passat is larger than the previous version. The interior looks solid, with a soft-touch dash and switches, buttons and knobs that it shares with the well-executed Touareg. A 170-hp five-cylinder is the base engine, which is also found in the Jetta (available to subscribers). The higher-end engine is a 280-hp V6. A 140-hp 2.0-liter diesel that Volkswagen says will get 43 mpg on the highway will be available. All-wheel drive will be optional.
If Volkswagen’s new emphasis on value pricing doesn’t cut corners, then the new Passat might be a solid competitor. But it has lost some of the sharpness of its predecessors.