Introduced for 2012, Volkswagen's midsized sedan was redesigned and optimized for the American market; that is to say, it grew larger than most competitors, lost some of that crisp European driving feel, and became less expensive. Since then, continual changes have tweaked and honed the Passat.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
2020
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard; available in rear side from 2006. Head protection air bags standard from 2001. ESC available from 2002, standard from 2006.
Road Test

Introduced for 2012, Volkswagen's midsized sedan was redesigned and optimized for the American market; that is to say, it grew larger than most competitors, lost some of that crisp European driving feel, and became less expensive.

Since then, continual changes have tweaked and honed the Passat. For 2014, VW replaced the unrefined and thirsty five-cylinder engine with a smooth and responsive 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This new engine provides readily available power and achieves 28 mpg overall -- very commendable for such a large sedan. The six-speed automatic transmission works well enough, but isn't quite as refined as the better ones in this category. Buyers willing to sacrifice fuel economy for speed can go for the 3.6-liter V6; acceleration is swift and it got 23 mpg in our tests.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (170 hp)
  • 3.6-liter V6 (280 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 Volkswagen Passat owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Apple CarPlay

"Apple CarPlay intermittently works with iPhone."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 3.6-L V6)
Backup or other camera/sensors

"Backup camera does not always turn on when I need it"

Anonymous, OR (2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL 3.6-L V6)

"sometimes to just doesn't work."

Anonymous, OR (2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL 3.6-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Has a very sensitive touch screen that is difficult to use. especially difficult to use as the passenger in a moving car."

Anonymous, FL (2016 Volkswagen Passat)

"perplexing to use, not intuitive at all"

Anonymous, OR (2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL 3.6-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

"Improper bolts on driver's door"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 3.6-L V6)

"Top trailing edge of drivers door about1/8 to 1/4 inch proud, allowing air and water ingress. Repaired under warranty."

Anonymous, ON (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Both front doors were installed with the incorrect sized bolts. Dealer replaced with correct bolts."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 3.6-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

"The top-of-the-line Passat SEL Premium comes with power folding mirrors that fold-in when locking the vehicle and unfold when unlocking the vehicle. The issues I've had (still unresolved because the source is unknown) have to do with an intermittent situation where the mirrors do not unfold when unlocking the vehicle and the driver side mirror loses its memory position. Neither of these things keep the vehicle from driving because the mirrors can be unfolded once the vehicle is running using the mirror control switch inside the vehicle and the driver side mirror can be adjusted, but it is fairly irritating and I've had the vehicle back to the dealership multiple times and multiple parts have been replaced in an effort to resolve the issues. Part of the problem is that no errors/faults are stored in the BCM and the concern is intermittent, so finding the source is tough. That being said, VW North America and the VW dealership itself have both been very accommodating and have offered good customer service while attempting to find the source of the problem."

Samuel R., CA (2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL 3.6-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Turn signal bulb went out. There is NO easy way for owner to change. No info on internet even. Manual says see dealer, which is ridiculous. This is a safety feature that should be readily replaceable by owner."

Marc B., CT (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Interior lights

"Trunk light control had to be replaced."

Lawrence K., SC (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Rotors

"Vehicle needs second set of rotors at 45000 miles. Neither VW or dealer will contribute to the repair nor have a reason. Dealer paid for first replacement at 27000 miles. Speaking of the front rotors only."

Steven C., CT (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Replaced third set of front rotors in 24 mos. The first two were covered by vw but refused to pay for the third. Accused me of aggressive driving. Ceased my six year relationship as a result. Had an independent repair facility turn the rotors 5,000 miles ago. Ok so far."

Steven C., CT (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"The VW dealership did a complementary wheel alignment check at 30,000 KM. They said that the rear wheels were out of spec and the cost to bring them back into spec would be $400. I have not done anything about this and the car seems fine on the highway and in the city. I don't think a car this new should have this issue and I told them that."

Dennis L., ON (2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Steering wheel vibration

"Vibration and clicking noises from steering column. The steering wheel collar had to be replaced."

Anonymous, TX (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"The visual symbol in the mirror is very difficult to see on a bright sunny day. THE MAIN ISSUE I HAVE WITH BLIND SIDE DETECTION SYSTEM HAS NO AUDIBLE WARNING IS A CAR IS IN YOUR BLIND SPOT AND YOU TURN ON THE TURN SIGNAL. I HAVE COMPLAINED TO THE DEALERSHIP, A VW REPRESENTATIVE AND INCLUDED MY THOUGHTS TO VW CORP. IN A SURVEY TAKEN SHORTLY AFTER PURCHASING THE CAR. I SAID IT FORCES THE DRIVER TO TAKE HIS EYES OFF A VERY BUSY ROAD WHEN HE WANTS TO MAKE A TURN OR LANE CHANGE. IT COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SAFE LANE CHANGE AND A VERY SERIOUS ACCIDENTAL, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A FATALITY. I ALSO TOLD THEM (VW) IS THE MAIN REASON I WOULD NEVER BUY THAT CAR AGAIN. I HAD REQUESTED THEM TO CONTACT ME ABOUT THIS DANGEROUS FLAW IN THEIR DESIGN. UNFFORTUNATELY IN THE PAST 2 YEARS THEY NEVER CONTACTED ME."

Anonymous, FL (2016 Volkswagen Passat)

"Rear tire sensor"

Anonymous, PR (2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"Minor squeaks or rattles on the dash, especially in cold weather, other than that the car feels very solid."

Anonymous, NB (2016 Volkswagen Passat S 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The car feels and drives solidly, but sometimes the is some plastic noise and squeaks in the top dash area. The car is quiet and solid otherwise. In our rural area the roads are somewhat bad with potholes and the surface is rough, so that might be factor..."

Serge B., NB (2016 Volkswagen Passat S 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Coil

"AT FOUR MONTHS AN ENGINE COIL FAILED AND THE CAR HAD TO BE TOWED TO THE DEALER FOR REPAIRS"

F P., MA (2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

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