2017 Volkswagen Passat: Reserved Refinement Just the Way We Like It [Review]

2017 VW Passat

New for 2017

The 2017 VW Passat is relatively unchanged after receiving an extensive mid-cycle refresh in 2016 that included an all-new front design from the A-pillar forward featuring slimmer headlights, a wider grille, and a sharper looking hood. Additionally, new safety features, more standard equipment, a revised interior, and a greatly improved infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and VW’s Mirror-Link system were added to the updated 2016 model. One USB port and Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices are standard across all Passat models.

The 2017 Passat comes in seven trim levels: S, R-Line, SE, SE w/tech, SEL, SEL Premium, and V6 SEL Premium. New for 2017 is a boost in value by moving driver assistance, connectivity, and convenience features to the lower trim lines.

The R-Line gets a Composition Media touchscreen with USB connectivity, voice control, Sirius XM satellite radio 3-month trial, and VW Car-Net App-Connect technology. It now includes the following safety features: forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor w/rear traffic alert. R-Line convenience features are the following: power driver seat, V-Tex leatherette upholstery for the seats, heated front seats. Available lighting package adds LED DRLs, and taillights.

2017 VW Passat

The SE trim adds KESSY keyless access with push-button start and blind spot monitor w/rear traffic alert, LED lighting package is the same as the R-Line plus fog lights. The SE with technology model adds remote start, Park Distance Control, 18-inch aluminum wheels, LED headlamps and taillights.

Pricing for 2017 Passat starts at $22,440 plus $820 destination charge.

Passat Performance

Driving the front wheels of the 2017 Passat is a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6. Our test model in SEL trim had the more frugal 4-pot engine paired with a 6-speed automatic, which is EPA-rated at 25 mpg in the city and up to 38 mpg when cruising on the highway. After logging almost 550 miles on a single tank of gas over the course of a long weekend road trip, our Passat achieved a stellar 38 mpg overall.

A long road trip is a good way of discovering how well a car can behave. While on the hunt for fall colors in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire, the Passat exhibited very good ride quality and we found the seats to be quite comfortable on the long haul. No doubt, the Chattanooga-built Passat is the right tool for cruising highways and exploring new locales, both rural and urban.

Interior Amenities

Overall, the interior design has a clean, functional look. The 2016 model got a new dashboard and center console, new gauges and some new steering wheels and chrome trim, but it’s a very familiar look. And that’s fine because passenger space is generous and the cabin is well refined, with comfort and quiet being the most notable interior features.

The back gets a 60/40-split folding seat with a pass-thru opening for long, thin objects such as a snowboard or pair of skis. Trunk space is generous, so you shouldn’t have any trouble fitting a couple golf bags, suitcases, or super-sized everything after a trip to Costco. Passats outfitted with the available easy-open trunk lid is the best feature when your hands are full and need to open the trunk. Simply can stand near the rear bumper and wave your foot underneath to pop open the trunk.

Other Cars to Consider

Buyers looking at the Passat will probably have the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima on their list.

The Passat may not match up to the Mazda6’s fun and engaging experience behind the wheel but it’s a significant step up over the Camry and Altima’s mind-numbing affair. Reviewers agree that the Mazda’s handling and performance lead the class, and it has an attractive, low entry price. Just don’t discount the Passat’s German autobahn pedigree and above-average handling prowess.

The Honda Accord features a stylish interior with premium materials and comfortable seats. While the Passat’s cabin is a no-frills affair and has a small infotainment screen in comparison with the Accord. The Accord comes with a standard 8-inch screen but the graphic display in the Passat has better resolution and looks generations ahead of the Accord. The 2017 Passat infotainment system features MIB II that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the latest generation of Volkswagen infotainment systems, and is available with either a 5- or 6.33-inch display across three trim head units (Composition Color, Composition Media, and Discover Media).

In this TFLcar first drive review Roman, sets out to find out how good the new 2016 Passat is on the road.

MSRP $30,995
Price as tested $31,815
Engine 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder TSI
Power (hp) 170 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 184 @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain layout transverse mounted front engine / front-wheel-drive
Curb weight 3,263 lbs
EPA-estimated fuel economy mpg 25 / 38 / 29 (city/hwy/combined)
0 to 60 mph 7.8 sec **
Standing 1/4 mile 16.0 sec @ 89 mph **
Braking 70-0 mph 181 ft **

** Source: Car and Driver