X

2012 Volkswagen Passat (photos)

Volkswagen's midsize sedan offers mostly average features, such as its 170 horsepower and mid-20s fuel economy, but its Fender audio system stands out among the segment.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

See full bio
35023023_OVR.JPG
1 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen is in the midst of redesigning its model lineup in an attempt to grab a bigger piece of the American pie. The Passat follows the Jetta in this redesign, getting new styling language and pricing structure to put it in competition with midsize sedan stalwarts such as the Toyota Camry.

Back to review.

35023023_FT.JPG
2 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen's new grille is less showy than the previous generation's. Designers gave up the chrome goatee for a simple horizontal grille bookended by the headlights. This slightly angular look continues down the sides of the car and across the back.

Back to review.

35023023_SS01.JPG
3 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Although Volkswagen offers a diesel and V-6 Passat, most will feature this 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. It makes a modest 170 horsepower, typical for its competitive set.

Back to review.

35023023_SD.JPG
4 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Although not a full-size sedan, the Passat is quite comfortable for five people, with plenty of leg room in back.

Back to review.

35023023_SS02.JPG
5 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
There is little remarkable about the Passat's drivetrain and suspension, from a technical standpoint. It delivers a comfortable and stable ride.

Back to review.

35023023_SS04.JPG
6 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The trunk offers a lot of depth, but not much height.

Back to review.

35023023_INT.JPG
7 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
In this expensive SEL trim, the Passat has a near-premium interior, with quality leather on the seats and nice materials throughout.

Back to review.

35023023_SS05.JPG
8 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen sticks with a hydraulic power steering system, as opposed to the electric systems that are becoming common.

Back to review.

35023023_SS06.JPG
9 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
These steering wheel controls activate voice command, the phone system, and let you skip music and change the volume.

Back to review.

35023023_SS07.JPG
10 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The controls on the right steering spoke control the car's instrument cluster display, which shows turn-by-turn directions, the phone status, trip data, and the current music selection.

Back to review.

35023023_SS08.JPG
11 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen sticks to classic watch-style gauges in the instrument cluster.

Back to review.

35023023_SS10.JPG
12 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
With the center display, you can choose names from your phone's contact list.

Back to review.

35023023_SS12.JPG
13 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The instrument cluster screen shows route guidance, to complement the center display.

Back to review.

35023023_SS13.JPG
14 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
This six-speed automatic transmission features a manual mode, useful for setting the gear during descents.

Back to review.

35023023_SS14.JPG
15 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The navigation system, standard in the SEL trim car, shows good resolution and easy-to-read maps. It includes traffic data, showing it onscreen in the traffic view.

Back to review.

35023023_SS16.JPG
16 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The traffic data comes over an FM radio signal, so it does not require a subscription.

Back to review.

35023023_SS17.JPG
17 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The phone system is simple to use, and includes good voice command integration.

Back to review.

35023023_SS18.JPG
18 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The iPod interface lets you choose music from categories such as album, artist, and genre.

Back to review.

35023023_SS21.JPG
19 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
The Passat SEL includes satellite radio.

Back to review.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

81 Photos
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid Is a Seriously Efficient Truck

More Galleries

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid Is a Seriously Efficient Truck

25 Photos
The 40 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
2023 Honda HR-V Is Uglier but Improved

More Galleries

2023 Honda HR-V Is Uglier but Improved

72 Photos
2022 Buick Enclave Avenir Drives Likes a Big Bowl of Molasses

More Galleries

2022 Buick Enclave Avenir Drives Likes a Big Bowl of Molasses

27 Photos