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2008 Volkswagen Passat
Avg. Price Paid:$7,661 - $12,937
Original MSRP: $23,990 - $38,000
MPG: 21 City / 29 Hwy
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2008 Volkswagen Passat Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Volkswagen Passat was new.

The interior cabin is comfortable and well put together. New Car Test Drive says the ambiance is "best defined as understated luxury …There's a simplicity about the design and functionality that helps the driver fulfill his assigned task without confusion or calamity."

Reviewers like the interior of the 2008 Passat, and say that it is comfortable and well put together. Motor Trend says, "Even in its most stripped-down form, the Passat exudes upscale ambiance." Reviews are mixed concerning rear seat legroom and reviewers agree cargo space is adequate, but not as large as other vehicles in its class.

Seating

Reviewers disagree over how many adults the Passat can comfortably seat. Forbes says, "The interior is well executed in quality materials and offers ample accommodations for five adults," while MSN says, "There's comfortable space for four tall adults in the upscale interior."

The majority of reviewers find the Passat's front seats to be sufficiently comfortable. "The entry-level front seats are eight-way manually adjustable with adjustable head restraints and lumbar support," says New Car Test Drive. Cars.com says, "Front space is ample, and the seats are indisputably firm but adequately comfortable, though the wide console is close to the driver's knee. Rear headroom is sufficient and legroom is acceptable thanks to an additional 2.4 inches in this generation of the Passat." Consumer Guide adds that the front seat has "generous room."

Reviewers also disagree about the backseat's space. "A six-foot passenger can sit comfortably behind a six-foot driver," says New Car Test Drive. Edmunds adds that in the Passat, "Rear passenger room is especially generous, and the Passat's 37.7 inches of rear legroom is about an inch more than what's offered by many competitors."

Others disagree. "Tall people can find more headroom in the front and rear seats of the Hyundai Sonata sedan than the 38.4 inches and 37.8 inches, respectively, in the Passat," says MSN. "The rear seats are attractive and sculpted, but legroom is minimal, and the back seat will be a very tight fit for three adults," says the Detroit Free Press and Road and Track adds, "The middle rear seat is still best reserved for little tykes."

Interior Features

Reviewers applaud Volkswagen's use of leatherette trim instead of cloth in the interior of the Passat. "The standard upholstery is a very nice leatherette," says New Car Test Drive. Full leather seats are available in Lux and VR6 models. "Quality materials and dynamic design combine in a passenger cabin that's at once both relaxing and energetic," says Kelley Blue Book. Overall, reviewers call the gauges well laid out and easy to read. "VW throws in a spiffy feature every now and then," says USA Today. "This time it's a space-saving button on the dashboard to operate the parking brake."

Stereo and Entertainment

The base Turbo has an AM/FM radio with a single-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player with eight speakers, while the Komfort and Lux models feature an AM/FM radio with a six-disc CD and MP3 player with eight speakers, in addition to a three-month trial subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. But it's the VR6's Dynaudio Premium Sound System with ten speakers and Digital Sound Processor (DSP) technology that gets rave reviews. According to Kelley Blue Book, the sound system "is one of the best we've heard."

Those who choose to upgrade for a navigation system will see their in-dash CD player replaced with a DVD player, while the CD changer shifts to the glovebox. "The CD changer belongs in that special hell reserved for options that are more annoying than if the feature were not offered at all, particularly when you figure that many cars costing less than the Passat have in-dash CD changers," says the Detroit Free Press. "It's tucked into the roof of the glove box, within reach only after you lean across the car and tug on a little leather strap helpfully labeled with the letters 'CD' and an arrow."

Navigation

The most noteworthy of options for the Passat is the Navigation System that features a color center console display with video and audio commands and a multi-function onboard computer display. "Nav systems, like people, vary widely in their ability to recall names," says AutoMedia.com. "Some people can breeze through a room, greeting everyone they see by first name. Others must keep a steady stream of all-purpose salutations at the ready ("Hey bud!") for those times when a face appears in your face before a name arrives from your brain. Count VW's system closer to the latter. All streets are shown, but don't bet on seeing the corresponding names for that side street you're hunting for." Other testers reported no problems with the system. "The nav system is superb," says About.com, whose reviewer adds that an "extensive option list offers Danish-built Dynaudio sound; 10-way power driver's seats, parking distance warning front and rear (only with the 3.6 liter V-6 engine), rain-sensing wipers, headlights that turn with the curves, and on and on."

Cargo

Reviewers are not impressed with the Passat's cargo space, but do not fault the vehicle for it either. "The Passat lags some competitors in trunk space, though the car's trunk is very nicely finished," says MSN. "Cargo volume is 14.2 cubic feet vs. the Sonata's 16.3." Forbes reports that the rear seat features "60/40 percent folding seat backs to expand the already spacious trunk/cargo area and a folding center armrest with a pass-through feature for transporting skis or other long and narrow objects."

In the cabin, reviewers say there is an abundance of storage spaces. "Storage space includes a large and useful drawer in the dashboard near the driver's left knee and two clever little spring-loaded cubbies just above the stereo controls," says the Detroit Free Press. One particular interior feature excited the reviewer from New Car Test Drive. "And there's even an umbrella holder in the driver's door, complete with a drainage system so a wet umbrella can be stowed without harm," they say. "No need to buy a Rolls Royce to get that feature."

Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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