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New VW Passat features small engine, big sound (pictures)

VW reduces the size of the engine in the Passat to achieve better fuel economy, and gives the car a Fender audio system, one of the best in the segment.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Volkswagen updates its Passat midsize sedan for the 2014 model year, giving it a new engine.

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The Passat measures just under 16 feet long and carries five passengers.

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The Passat's large trunk holds 15.9 cubic feet of cargo.

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The star of the Passat is its new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, using a turbocharger and direct injection at each cylinder to achieve 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

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Volkswagen has reengineered this engine with lower internal friction to help it get better fuel economy.

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In SEL Premium trim, the Passat gets power adjustable front seats with leather inserts.

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The Passat features typical cabin space for the midsize sedan segment.

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An electric power-steering system uses less energy, and makes the wheel easy to turn under all conditions.

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In SEL Premium trim, the Passat comes with all features, including cabin tech, standard.

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VW sticks with analog gauges in the Passat.

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The center display shows turn-by-turn directions.

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A six-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available at this trim level.

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The navigation unit is an upgrade over less trim Passats, using a bigger touchscreen and showing live traffic.

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This 3D perspective map looks good, but does not show traffic conditions.

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Volkswagen relegates the display of traffic conditions to a separate map.

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Data from Sirius Travel Link includes fuel prices, movie times, and weather.

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A Bluetooth phone system comes standard.

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HD radio is also part of the package.

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Local audio sources include Bluetooth streaming, SD card, USB drive, iOS device, and the car's own hard drive.

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The music library display lets you select music by album, artist, or song.

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The Fender audio system produces excellent sound.

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The only driver-assistance feature is this rearview camera.

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