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.

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Photo by: 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.

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Photo by: 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.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Although not a full-size sedan, the Passat is quite comfortable for five people, with plenty of leg room in back.

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There is little remarkable about the Passat's drivetrain and suspension, from a technical standpoint. It delivers a comfortable and stable ride.

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The trunk offers a lot of depth, but not much height.

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Photo by: 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.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen sticks with a hydraulic power steering system, as opposed to the electric systems that are becoming common.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
These steering wheel controls activate voice command, the phone system, and let you skip music and change the volume.

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Photo by: 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.

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Volkswagen sticks to classic watch-style gauges in the instrument cluster.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
With the center display, you can choose names from your phone's contact list.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The instrument cluster screen shows route guidance, to complement the center display.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
This six-speed automatic transmission features a manual mode, useful for setting the gear during descents.

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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.

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The traffic data comes over an FM radio signal, so it does not require a subscription.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The phone system is simple to use, and includes good voice command integration.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The iPod interface lets you choose music from categories such as album, artist, and genre.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Passat SEL includes satellite radio.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
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