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.
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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
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. The smooth and responsive 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that we tested provides readily available power and achieves 28 mpg overall -- very commendable for such a large sedan. It has been replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for 2018. 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 returned 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
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (174 hp)
  • 3.6-liter V6 (280 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2018 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

Android Auto

"Android Auto - sometimes doesn't automatically pair when I connect USB. So if using for navigation, I have to retry a few times, or just unplug and put in my lap or in the seat next to me. I assume this is an Android thing that will be corrected in upcoming versions and/or hardware in newer vehicles."

Anonymous, TN (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"Starting ~6 mos into ownership, display would occasionally crash or not start, especially in hot or cold temperatures. This was especially problematic when relying on the backup camera. At times seemed to occur with a hard brake or turn, which made me suspect a wiring connection. However, dealer replaced the head unit. Problem persisted. They reset the entire system a month ago, and it hasn't happened since."

Anonymous, TN (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen goes blank

"It's only happened twice since we purchased the vehicle in April, 2019. Attemping to sync the android phone to the music bluetooth and the screen goes black. Nothing, not even the radio will work. It usually comes back on after about 5-10 minutes."

Anonymous, OK (2018 Volkswagen Passat Unsure Unsure)

"It went blank for 36 hours then resolved itself! Happened once."

Anonymous, NM (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Steering wheel controls

"intermittent ability to set cruise control"

Richard F., SC (2018 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.0-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

Tire wear is uneven

"This was due to the problem with the front two wheel bearings. See previous comments."

Anonymous, PA (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Wheel balance

"Dealer attitude service Attitude service manger not willing to correct problems and not going wheel balancing correctly and even putting correct pressure in tires.Dealership charged for nitrogen as the pressure mean for the tires .Costco service verified the tires had only 77 to 78% nitrogen.The dealership did return the $99.99 charge . The ride doesn’t compare to the ride of the Fusion with 140000 plus miles"

Anonymous, IA (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Wheel bearings

"About eight weeks ago, I took my car to the dealer where I purchased it (Piazza VW in Ardmore, PA) which is about 30 minutes closer to where I live than VW of Newtown Square. I had had another problem (wiring harnesses needed to be replaced) a few weeks prior to that, and Piazza had fixed it. This time I took it in because the car had a loud humming noise beginning around 60mph. Piazza did not fix it. In fact, during the next six weeks and multiple visits, they blamed the noise on various things not covered by the warranty, which, following their instructions, meant that I bought new tires - which I didn't really need, had two alignments done, had the wheels balanced twice - and the noise didn't change. Note that I felt that Piazza's prices were high (especially for tires), and I didn't trust what they might charge me for the other things, so I didn't use them for the tires, alignments, etc. But the noise was still unchanged, so I took it back again. At that point I told the rep I had done some online research and that from what I read it seemed like it might be a wheel bearing. He basically dismissed me and said they knew what they were doing. When I went back to pick up the car I asked about the wheel bearings and the rep told me the tech thought they were fine, and he wasn't going to replace wheel bearings that didn't need to be replaced. The noise was still there, though. This time he told me I needed new wheels because the ones I had were bent. So I took the car back to the tire place and they told me the wheels were fine. Went back to Piazza again and they said the wheels weren't fine. Went back to the tire place and they took off each wheel and spun it up - and showed me that the wheels were fine. I even had the tires re-balanced just to make sure that that wasn't the problem. The noise was unchanged, though. At that point, aside from being extremely frustrated with Piazza, I had spent about $1,000 for the tires, alignments, etc., none of which I had expected to spend because I thought that whatever the problem was most likely going to be a warranty repair. I decided to try a different dealer. There are three or four others in the area, so I looked on Yelp and the other nearby dealers didn't have great reviews, but VW of Newtown Square did, so I took my car there. I cannot say enough about how happy I am to have taken it there. They were great - they diagnosed and fixed the problem (front left and right bearings), kept me updated, and got me a rental car to use while they were working on my car. Danielle and Greg were great (and much more pleasant to work with than the people at Piazza), and needless to say, I'll be going to VW of Newtown Square for my service needs from now on!"

Anonymous, PA (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-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

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"The rear passenger side door no longer makes a good seal. Highway noise is prominent only from that door (it is the only door that rarely gets used)"

Anonymous, MO (2018 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Wind noise

"after about 12000 miles the cabin experienced much more road noise"

Anonymous, (2018 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The seal on the rear passenger door allows significant noise to enter the cabin at highway speeds"

Anonymous, MO (2018 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.0-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

Interior lights

"The rear interior ceiling light became loose and required a new replacement of the light fixture to secure it back in place."

Omar G., NJ (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"I would drive and try to use my adaptive cruise control, and dash would light up system is unavailable! Also emergency braking light stating system not available would light up. I would clean the sensor in the front to make sure it was clean, but this went on for the first couple of months of ownership. Until I took Passat to the dealer and they reset the system and it has been working great every since!"

Omar G., NJ (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-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

Refrigerant leaks

"Refrigerant line chafed a hole on a motor mount. Repaired under warranty"

Anonymous, PA (2018 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0-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

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.

Transmission Minor

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

Engine Major

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

Brakes

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

Paint/Trim

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

Engine Cooling

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

Drive System

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

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.

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