Volkswagen's midsized sedan was optimized for the American market with the 2012 redesign ; 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.
Alerts
There are 5 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

Volkswagen's midsized sedan was optimized for the American market with the 2012 redesign ; 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
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
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 2017 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

"CarPlay freezes and shuts down"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Backup or other camera/sensors

"lane assist too sensitive. pickes up false readings"

Anonymous, WI (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"CAMERA STOPPED WORKING., WHEN I BROUGHT THE CAR BACK TO THE DEALER, THE CAMERA WAS WORKING AGAIN, THIS HAPPENED MANY TIMES , THE DEALER SAID THAT THEY HAD TO SEE THE CAMERA NOT WORKING, THE CAMERA WAS NEVER FIXED BECAUSE THE CAMERA ALWAYS WORKED WHEN I BROUGHT THE CAR BACK,"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"the backup camera does not always come on. I will back out of a parking spot and the camera will be on, then I will drive to my location and put the car in reverse but the camera won't come on. I then have to put the car in park, turn the car off and then turn the car back on in order to reboot the camera. This should not happen"

Mary S., PA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"Has not been resolved"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The radio display screen including all functions froze and the radio was able to operate only the function it started with before the freeze. This was a recurrent issue which the dealer resolved by replacing the entire head unit"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Intermittent issue. I have to shut the car off to reset it."

Anonymous, MS (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Complete failure of the MIB2 unit about 3,000 miles out of warranty, cycles off then on every 2 min 57 seconds. VW can not tell us what software version came with the unit nor what the current version is. Want $1,400 + labor to replace the unit."

Paul E., VA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"the unit goes blank and whole radio system re-boots. some times the indicator of the car starts going around in circles and shows the car going the wrong direction, pull out the sims card and reinstall and its works ok. the worst system i have ever experienced"

Eugene G., TX (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Navigation didn't know where it was. Dealer had to replace the whole head unit."

Anonymous, MS (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"The entire system would reboot itself after 52 seconds. This happened for 3 months, then fixed itself. Have had two occurrences since then where the system stopped working, but turning off the vehicle resolved the issue."

Anonymous, VA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"AM radio has problem with signal overload causing severe audio distortion. My guess is the automatic gain control (AGC) loop is malfunctioning. (I'm an electronic guy). Have yet to take it in to have Radio swapped."

Brad S., CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 3.6-L V6)
Speakers

"Left front speaker buzzing"

Edward B., SC (2017 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

Air or water leaks

"Panel seam in the trunk area was not sealed properly. Repair required 2 weeks of removing trunk interior and sealing panel joint."

Anonymous, NH (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Front driver side window seals seem to leak. I have not taken to the dealer for warranty service"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat S 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaks or rattles

"There is a small rattle in the armrest of the rear seat"

Jerry R., NJ (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 3.6-L V6)

"There was something loose inside the passenger door that clunked when driving over any bump. It took 2 times for the dealer to solve, but they fixed it"

Anonymous, MI (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Rattle in ceiling liner that has never been resolved."

Anonymous, MS (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Rattle in front passenger side door. It was fixed under warranty. It was an extra clip from factory."

Anonymous, MA (2017 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

Normal routine brake wear

"Upon scheduled maintenance I was told that the front brakes would need to be replaced at the next service interval."

Anonymous, (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Upon inspection during regular service, I was told that the front brakes would need to be replaced at the next service interval."

Anonymous, (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Rotors

"At 30000 miles I noticed a distinct pulsing as the brakes were applied. I guessed it was warped rotors. VW service agreed, but stated worn rotors are a normal wear item. I stated that pads might be, but rotors should not need to be replaced at 30,000 miles. The suggested cost was $675. I called VW and explained my thinking, I was assigned a very helpful young lady who carried the ball for me. It was arranged that I would bring the car in to another VW dealer for diagnosis. The repair was done free of charge. I am happy with the outcome and it appears that VW wants to keep its customers happy. I check the warranty and rotors are, in fact, listed as normal wear and tear items."

Pete A., CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaking

"Just literally developed a loud squeaking noise from the drivers side front wheel. Appointment made to return to dealership."

Anonymous, NY (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"From the time the vehicle was delivered, brakes squeak every time they are applied. Mentioning it/complaining to the dealer was of no help; they suggested making a few hard stops. That was of no help."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"3 times since owning the car the collision system has locked the brakes for unknown reasons. I was in parking lots each time with no other cars moving around me."

Anonymous, TX (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Sensors have dropped out twice this year. Requires stopping vehicle and turning off to reset. this stops keeping the speed up, but gave a warning notice."

Robert F., FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Sometimes the steering wheel will pull to the right even though the car is well within the center of the road."

Mary S., PA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"This Front Assist is part of the overall Autonomous Emergency Braking system and the problems with it are explained in the previous question!"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The Autonomous Automatic Braking (Front Assist) does not work at speeds over 18 mph. This is suppose to be a two part system . The low speed part operates below 18 mph, and the high speed is suppose to work at speeds above 18 mph and up to highway speeds. Tests by IIHS have shown that out of 20 different manufacturers model cars tested, the 2017 VW Passat was the only car that could not slow down its speed going 25 mph into the back of the dummy test vehicle. I and many others have complained of this failure, and VW has repeatedly denied that a problem exists. The 2017 owners manual clearly defines how the AEB system should work, but it does not work on any 2017 Passats. Now in 2018 VW has changed the feature to say it is only good at 18 mph and below. However, VW will not acknowledge that there is a problem with the AEB system on 2017 cars. It is also possible that the same problem may be in the Golf model as well. Problem is that because it does function at slow speeds, and there is no safe way a consumer can test the high speed operation, people are driving thousands of VW Passats, and possibly Golfs, with a false sense of security. VW should acknowledge that high speed AEB (Front Assist) does not perform as advertised, warn Passat owners, and compensate existing owners!"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

12V power plug

"The fuse for these outlets seems to blow. They did not work when I received the vehicle and stopped working right after repair."

Dietmar H., MI (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Cruise control

"Several times when the dealer had the car staff disabled the cruise control and I had to return to the dealership to get them to activate it"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Warning lights

"The Blind spot warning lights recently stopped working on the divers side. This will be reported to the dealer in the near future."

Anonymous, NC (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Minor window trim reapplied"

Anonymous, CT (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"Rear handle above door was loose, required replacement."

Anonymous, GA (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Not a big deal, but the silver trim coating came off exterior in one smal spot. Not sure from what or from the elements."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"a valve needed replacement"

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Automatic climate control

"Automatic climate control card stopped working after 10 months of ownership -- during the middle summer with temperatures over 96 degrees. As a result of the climate control card failure the fan would not operate."

Anonymous, TX (2017 Volkswagen Passat SEL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

Locks and latches

"Unable to open fuel door. Had to make emergency trip to dealership."

Anonymous, NY (2017 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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.

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

Engine Minor

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

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.

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.

Transmission Minor

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

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