2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon's powerful engines, excellent fuel efficiency, and great handling make it a compelling performer. Nevertheless, minor quirks with the transmission and electronic steering system somewhat detract from the overall driving experience.
Acceleration and Power
The standard engine for the 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon is a turbocharged 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a similar driving experience when compared to the optional V6. But the four-cylinder's power is mitigated by turbo-lag. Buyers may opt for the non-turbo 3.6-liter V6, which produces 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.
Though both engines put out comparable horsepower, the main difference between the two motors can be seen in gas mileage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the base four-cylinder model maintains a city/highway fuel economy of 21/29 mpg, while the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 16/24 mpg.
The two power plants transfer power to the front wheels through either one of two available transmissions. The Turbo trim comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic as an option, of which the latter is standard on the V6. The majority of reviewers find the Japanese-made automatic transmission to produce clumsy downshifts that can result in a rough ride during sudden braking. However, the automatic transmission can also be manually downshifted if desired.
- "The VeeDub's 3.6-liter V6 ... makes this 3,953-pound wagon quite quick." -- Edmunds
- "What's worst about the Passat is its Japanese six-speed automatic. It's slow to kick down yet, under part throttle, is lightning fast to upshift to fifth. Or sixth. You're too often reminded that summoning the appropriate gear will take a while, and even the manumatic refuses to hold a gear if engine revs encroach on scarlet paint." -- Car and Driver
Handling and Braking
Test drivers seem generally pleased with the Volkswagen Passat Wagon's handling abilities. Most were more concerned with VW's electronically assisted steering system. The system had mixed reviews because it pairs the Passat's sporty chassis with gliding luxury car steering. Standard on every Passat Wagon is a fully-independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension. Regardless of whether you buy the front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive 4Motion (only available with the 3.6-liter V6 engine), reviewers enjoy the car's excellent all-around handling in comparison to other cars in its class. All Passat Wagons come standard with four-wheel disc brakes and an anti-lock brake system.
- "Though it can be hustled through corners, the Passat feels more at home cruising on the highway... It's the kind of car you can step out of after driving for half a day and not feel worn out -- probably one of its best attributes." -- Cars.com
- "What's best about the Passat is its electric-assisted steering. The effort is low at all speeds, there's no kickback, interstate tracking is exemplary, and path control is, well, German." -- Car and Driver
- "The Passat's brakes stop the heavy wagon from 60 mph in just 127 feet with a firm pedal." --Edmunds