2012 VW Passat

Written by:

Photography: Mike Selander

I am not the most opinionated person around, but when it comes to cars that have a split personality its tough for me to hold back. When automotive companies try and design a car that caters to two different groups, it’s tough to combine both aspects.

Volkswagen’s determination to conquer the car industry and become the worlds leading car manufacture has helped to facilitate a new breed of Volkswagen that caters to a much wider population. The new Passat is one of Volkswagen’s upper range sedans that includes many creature comforts that other more expensive German sedans have but without the price tag.

My first impression of the new Passat was going well until I opened the door.

My first impression started off on a high note with the new styling and modern look appealing to me. The front grill along with a sportier headlight design gave the Passat some attitude that would differentiate it from the pack of boring beige commuter cars that patrol rush hour. The exterior of the new Passat is the first proof that Volkswagen has become a mature, refined German sedan that can compete with the Accord and Camrys of the world. The exterior also shows just how far the design has come and how much further ahead they are from the similarly priced midsize sedans. My first impression of the new Passat was going well until I opened the door.

Something as simple as swinging a door open might seem obsessive but the lightweight plastic materials used made the door seem cheap and low budget. When I see and feel these materials, disappointment strikes me because I know the designers did not build the car to be as good as it could have been. But this disappointment quickly vanished when I saw the center console and navigation screen. The switch between plastic materials used on the door to the higher quality finishes used on the center console bewildered me. The mixture of materials did confuse me and I did not find the doors to be finished well. Volkswagen grasped an idea at the center of every car enthusiast, the driver experience. The high quality finish on the dashboard and the beautifully lit instrument panel, along with the steering wheel that makes your fingers feel right at home, all make up the driver experience.

When I entered the Passat, the feeling of being in a beige family sedan with French fires under the seat vanishes and the thought of speeding along the Autobahn emerged in my head, this rarely happens to me, only occurring in well-made sports cars. Many creature comforts like, Bluetooth to an iPod input come standard along with the high quality finish. Moving from the front to the back, your standard family of 2.6 children will fit comfortably with more room for more family activities. The enjoyment created from the wonderful interior does not stop, as the driver will experience some with the different engines offered for the Passat.

When my foot hit the accelerator and pushed it until I felt the floor mats, I expected a perky little grunt and to smoothly pass other cars, this did not happen. The 2.5 liter five cylinder did not emit what was expected, but rather a lag and to see other cars next to me. Volkswagen’s theory for the Passat is to be a family sedan with higher quality materials but the oversight on the engine makes me frustrated. The idea of moving to more fuel efficient engines is important and the power-plant I would choose is the turbo diesel that gets 30mpg in the city and a surprising 40 on the highway.

Volkswagen offers a wide variety of engines and if a potential buyer wants more kick the V6 engine provides more fun behind the wheel. Even though my disappointment in the engine kept popping up in the back of my mind, the options offered will satisfy any potential Volkswagen owner. The satisfaction felt with the options offered does not stop there. The safe, warm feeling should continue on generated by abbreviations such as, ESC, ASR, EBD, EDL, EBA and HBA. These letters make sure you stay safe in the Passat in adverse weather conditions. Being Colorado, car buyers have to take weather into account and the systems installed in the car make you feel safe and secure, which is something important to me and families with growing children.

The high quality materials, standard creature comforts that only appear on more expensive sedans, along with the variety of efficient engines creates a family sedan that raises the bar for the Camry and Accords. The Passat provides a bright light for the young growing family that does not want to blend in during rush hour. My final opinion is the new 2012 Passat beats my expectations, from the mature styling to the upgraded interior. Even though the Passat does have areas of disappointment they will hardly be noticed because of the excitement generated by the driver experience and higher quality equipment that comes standard.