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.
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.