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2016 Volkswagen Passat SE: A strong, but vanilla midsize sedan

Volkswagen's refreshed Passat covers the midsize sedan basics with a comfortable ride, spacious interior and more technology features, but it leaves standout styling to rivals.

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Jon Wong
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Volkswagen released an updated Passat for the 2016 model year. Can you tell?

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With an as-tested price of $30,325, our Passat 1.8T SE with Technology test car seems like it's fairly priced consider the amount of technology features packed into it.

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With the diesel engine not currently offered, the gas 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the fuel economy champion of the Passat lineup, with an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

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The Passat SE with Technology comes standard with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, front assist with automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitor.

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Visual updates to the 2016 Passat include a new domed hood, chrome four-bar grille, slimmer headlights, bumpers and trunk lid.

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Unlike its competitors, the Passat continues with a clean and understated design language that will be perfect for those who prefer to fly under the radar.

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While its looks say otherwise, the Passat's chassis is a competent handler, while also returning nice ride comfort with the help of its thick sidewall tires.

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Like the exterior, the Passat's interior is simple and straightforward in design, but a little dull.

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The Passat's MIB II infotainment system features a 6.3-inch captive touchscreen capable of pinch-zooming and swiping controls, navigation and Bluetooth. On the SE with Technology model, VW's Car-Net platform allows for the integration of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

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An easy-open trunk feature is new on the Passat for 2016. With the key fob within 3 feet of the trunk, waving a foot under the rear of the trunk will automatically pop it open.

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