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Josh Miller

2012 VW Passat review: Just north of boring

CNET reviews the 2012 VW Passat, a midsize sedan that manages to be a little less boring than other cars in the segment. This new Passat reflects Volkswagen's new design language, first seen on the 2011 Jetta.

2012 VW Passat
Josh Miller/CNET

The Toyota Camry became the best-selling car in the U.S. by giving families safe and uncomplicated transportation. Now Volkswagen wants in, positioning its 2012 Passat to grab a chunk of the midsize sedan market.

The new Passat comes out with a 2.5-liter engine, displacement that neatly fits the segment, and fuel economy in the mid-20s. Its roomy cabin fits five in comfort, and it has a long trunk. All of these factors make it compare with the Camry, Accord, Altima, and Fusion.

But it is not entirely content to run with the pack. Its engine has five cylinders instead of four. Geometric exterior styling makes it stand out from the curved body styles saturating the roads.

Where the 2012 Passat really steps out is with the optional Fender audio system. We have never heard such good sound in this class of car.

If the majority of Americans were audiophiles, the 2012 Passat could definitely make a play for the midsize sedan market.

Read our review of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.