If you are, I understand. VW’s emissions-cheating scandal was a hard smack in the face to
motorists in particular, and I’m sure the automaker often wishes that it could turn back the clock and
make it right, avoiding the billions of dollars it’s paying out now to settle
all scores. California
And yet, incredibly, Volkswagen was the world’s No. 1 automaker in 2016. All other things aside, VW has topped the world by producing some very good cars, one of which I recently tested.
The 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE sedan was priced right, built right and was generally right on the mark in every way.
The tested Passat was priced at $26,315 on the sticker’s bottom line, and that included everything in the generous list of standard features. Beyond-the-norm perks for this price range included heated front seats, a power tilt/sliding sunroof and a blind-spot monitor with rear traffic alert.
Exterior styling is nothing fancy, but certainly easy on the eyes for a exceptionally functional midsize sedan. It looks as appealing as most everything else in this no-nonsense segment.
A top-tier, five-star overall federal safety rating is reassuring. Plentiful high-tech safety features also help, including an intelligent crash-response system.
Oh, the warranties are pretty generous as well.
Power comes from a 1.8-liter turbo 4 that reacts and dishes up through-the-gearbox performance in a way that makes the advertised 170 horsepower rating seem like a short-changed mistake.
Freeway cruises were a happy blast in the tested Passat, and the sedan was a surprisingly agile vehicle in tight downtown spots. The tester had a surprisingly tight turn-around radius, which I appreciated multiple times in cramped parking garages.
The mileage report is likewise something to appreciate: 23 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. With the Passat drinking regular gas, I’m thinking those numbers are a positive development for many household budgets.
VW’s Passat had some major upgrades in 2016, and there are a few more tweaks for the 2017 model year.
I like what Volkswagen has done with the interior cabin, which is not only functional but comfortably spacious for the midsize segment. At the rental counter, you’d probably peg the Passat as a full-size car, and you wouldn’t be wrong thinking that.
All in all, the latest Passat lands in the B-plus/A-minus grade range.