It may not be a word, but there’s really no more succinct way to explain why the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat Sedan deserves to be named 2012 Motor Trend “Car of the Year” than to cite this completely new sedan’s “unbeatability.” The Passat has been tailored specifically to the tastes of North American car buyers, and Volkswagen has proven it believes in the Passat by building it here, in a brand-new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. That’s not the kind of investment automakers take lightly, and that says something about the new Passat.
What it says is that Volkswagen, long known for building cars that combine distinctive styling and a fun-to-drive demeanor with interiors that are opulent beyond their price class, wants to bring its message to the widest possible audience. Value has been cranked way up with an aggressive starting MSRP of $19,995.
Praising the Passat, Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie said, “Chassis, steering, ride and handling all are tastiest within this segment.”
“It’s in this category, the bigger Passat really demonstrates its engineering excellence,” adds MacKenzie, pointing up the class-leading rear-seat legroom, long list of standard features – including Bluetooth®, steering wheel audio controls, Climatronic® dual-zone climate control and Volkswagen complimentary Carefree Maintenance program – and exclusive diesel power availability. You won’t find any of those on the nearly $22,000 Honda Accord LX. If you want a family sedan with the efficiency and long-legged range of a diesel powertrain, there is just a single game in town, and that’s the 2012 Passat TDI®. The Passat TDI carries a 140-hp 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that puts out 236 lb/ft of torque, and it uses Volkswagen TDI® Clean Diesel technology to achieve 43 mpg highway for a kidney-endurance-testing 795-mile highway range per tank of fuel.
All three Passat engines are special. Instead of the routine four-cylinder/conventional V6 options, innovative Volkswagen engineering developed a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder to provide 170 hp and 177 lb/ft of torque while spinning more smoothly than a similarly sized four-cylinder. The available V6 isn’t your standard 60-degree affair, either, nor is it laid out like the 90-degree V6 engines you sometimes see. The 3.6-liter V6 found in the Passat is a compact, narrow-angle unit that fits into about the same space as a four-cylinder, but puts a snarly 280 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque under the driver’s foot.
The VW commitment to driving enjoyment is evident in the availability of a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the race-inspired six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic to click off lightning-quick shifts all on its own.
The excellence isn’t limited to the mechanical; a touch-screen navigation system is available, plus a Fender audio system that uses innovative packaging and technology to put a crisp, clear audio system into less space than conventional designs require without sacrificing performance. There’s a clean design with buttons and switches intuitively laid out and the stylish V-Tex upholstery will look great for many years to come. Leather seating with faux suede inserts is available and calls to mind the stunning high-style interior in the Volkswagen CC, a design tour-de-force that’s won plenty of admirers.
“Volkswagen is extremely proud to receive this honor,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen of America. “This recognition from Motor Trend is a testament to the engineering integrity of the Passat and validates our strategy of providing a U.S.-built, German engineered midsize sedan at a price in the heart of the midsize segment.”
That’s how you seal up a “Car of the Year” victory. Offer a great car in different configurations that appeal to virtually anyone who needs to use a car. The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is well studied and brilliantly executed, and it does all of that while also remaining affordable enough to become nearly ubiquitous on the road. It’s a premium product for a bargain price. Contact us today to schedule a test drive.