Avg. Price Paid:$13,092 - $21,978
Original MSRP: $20,590 - $32,950
MPG: 22 City / 32 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2012 Volkswagen Passat Review

Review Last Updated: 10/10/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Automotive journalists think the redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Passat is a good choice, as evidenced by being named the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Though the 2010 VW Passat’s high price put it out of reach for a lot of midsize car shoppers, Volkswagen completely revamped the Passat for 2012. Now that its price is in line with the rest of the class, test drivers think it should be on most midsize car shoppers’ lists.

Buyers will immediately notice that the new Passat is bigger than the model it replaces. Volkswagen added more back seat legroom and reviewers are very happy with the increased space inside the new Passat. One test driver says the legroom is so plentiful, it rivals found in full-size sedans.

The main gripe that reviewers have with the 2012 Passat is its conservative, bland styling. They say if you want a car that turns heads, you should shop rivals. However, some members of the automotive press point out that the Passat’s sedate style will give it a longer shelf life than other, more trendy, cars.

Reviewers like the VW Passat’s available powertrains and say it maintains Volkswagen’s reputation of building cars that are fun to drive. An optional diesel engine, a rarity in the class, gives buyers who value green driving the ability to get up to 43 mpg on the highway.

Other Cars to Consider

Now that the 2012 Passat has a starting price that’s more competitive with other affordable midsize cars, it can compete with cars like the Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata is liked by reviewers because its base and turbo four-cylinder engines deliver good fuel economy. Although the Sonata doesn’t offer a fuel-efficient diesel engine option like the Passat, its base four-cylinder engine gets higher fuel economy ratings than the Passat’s base five-cylinder.

If you like Volkswagen’s reputation for building cars that are fun to drive, but also want a car that has sportier styling, check out the Mazda6. The Mazda6 is a good combination of both because reviewers say its lively handling out-performs the Passat and its exterior styling doesn’t scream “family sedan.”

Volkswagen Passat: The Details

Volkswagen completely redesigned the Passat for the 2012 model year. The 2012 Passat receives a $7,000 price decrease compared with the 2010 model. Free scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles is standard on all Passats, which is rare in the affordable midsize car class.

The 2012 Passat comes in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. A notable addition for 2012 is the diesel engine option, which adds $6,000 to the base price. See the full list of 2012 Volkswagen Passat specs.

  • "The U.S.-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat would to be appear a solid player in the midsize wars and, with the diesel option, it brings something unique to the battle." -- AutoWeek
  • “It's priced right, drives well and finally holds a family of five comfortably. And thankfully, it still has its German roots." -- Edmunds
  • "Many of the competitors in this class feel like a well-equipped affordable car; the Passat feels more like an affordable version of a higher-end car." -- Motor Trend
  • "Aimed directly at the sweet spot of the U.S. mid-size segment currently occupied by cars like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat offers more style, greater interior space, better fuel economy and comes in at a far more attractive pricepoint than its predecessor." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The redesigned 2012 Passat combines the driving dynamics and interior quality that VW fans expect with the roominess, comfort and value that the wider public demands." -- Cars.com

Next Steps: Volkswagen Passat