- Midsize sedan with sedate styling
- Top Safety Pick+ award winner from the IIHS
- Diesel engine adds 10-hp and is more fuel efficient
The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan known for its flexible engine options, high safety ratings, and interior quality.
There aren’t many changes to speak of for the new model year, a new Technology Package is offered on a couple trims that adds a rearview camera and a premium sound system. The available diesel engine gets minor tweaks that add 10-hp and slightly improve fuel economy.
The Passat is similar in look the to the smaller Jetta sedan just slightly larger. Standard 16-inch wheels (17- and 18-inch wheels are optional) ride underneath subtly styled sheet metal that is pretty sedate by today’s standards. It has the symmetrical look that Audi is fond of, but with less panache and more edges than curves, especially those lines that run from the hood down into the front grille. The Passat blends in without being boring, a subtle distinction that makes a world of difference.
Under the hood, the Passat offers the most diverse array of drivetrains found in any midsize car, including a turbo-diesel that delivers excellent fuel economy. Last year’s base engine has been completely phased out, and the new 170-hp, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder is now standard. For those who want more power, a 280-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 is optional. Rounding out the powertrain options is a 150-hp, turbo-diesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 236 pounds-feet of torque.
Models with the base engine return 24/36 mpg city/highway with the six-speed automatic transmission, but the best fuel economy is still found with the diesel, which tops out at 30/44 mpg city/highway with the six-speed manual and 30/42 mpg with the automatic.
Inside, the Passat’s design is just as straightforward as it is on the outside. What you will also find though is good build quality and better materials than you’ll find in the Jetta, along with lots of pace for both front and rear passengers. Air conditioning, cruise control, one-touch up/down power windows, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat are standard. There are also plenty of available tech options, including dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation system, push-button start, and Car-Net, which connects the Passat to your smartphone and offers access to services like roadside assistance, crash notifications, stolen vehicle location assistance, and speed/boundary alerts for parents with teens. Leather seating and heated seats are also available for enhanced comfort.
On top of all that, the Passat is also one of the safest cars on the road, earning not only a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, but a coveted Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS for acing their latest crash test as well. Antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, and six airbags are standard as federally mandated.