2013 Volkswagen Passat Review
Test drivers say the VW Passat is aimed at performance-minded shoppers who need the space of a midsize sedan but want something engaging to drive.
The driving experience is one of the 2013 Volkswagen Passat’s strengths, and although no one will mistake it for a BMW or Audi, reviewers agree that its lively handling and ample power should please performance-focused midsize car shoppers. With a five-cylinder, V6 and four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, as well as four transmissions (two manuals, an automatic and an automated manual), the Passat has one of the most diverse powertrain lineups in the class. It’s also the only car in the class to offer a diesel engine, which gets great fuel economy ratings of 30/40 mpg with the automated manual transmission. Base Passat models get 22/31 mpg with the automatic transmission. If reliability is a top concern for you, keep in mind that the Passat has one of the lowest reliability ratings among affordable midsize cars.
The size of the 2013 Passat’s cabin is its most talked-about interior feature. Auto critics say the back seat is big and comfortable. Tall passengers should find an abundance of legroom in the back seat, and reviewers say there’s plenty of room up front too. The interior also receives high marks for its upscale materials, simple design and solid build quality. The Passat’s standard tech features are typical among midsize cars and include Bluetooth and an auxiliary audio input. The Passat can be equipped with features like a sunroof, navigation, rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, remote start and push-button start. The available Fender premium audio system is well-liked by reviewers for its impressive sound quality.
- "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 (2012)
- "It's priced right, drives well and finally holds a family of five comfortably. And thankfully, it still has its German roots." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "In a class filled with excellent choices, Passat is a strong entrant that follows a bit different path, one that helps it stand out from the crowd." -- Consumer Guide
- "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 (2012)
Other Cars to Consider
If you’re considering the Passat for its engaging performance, you should also take a look at the Kia Optima. Reviewers say the Optima delivers strong acceleration from both its four-cylinder and turbo four-cylinder engines. Like the Passat, auto critics agree the Optima’s handling lies on the sporty side of the spectrum. Because many reviewers say the Passat’s styling is bland, the Optima may be a better choice because of its bold looks.
Fuel-conscious shoppers should consider the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which has slightly lower highway fuel economy of 39 mpg than the Passat TDI’s 40 mpg, but much higher fuel economy in city driving (43 versus 30 mpg). Reviewers like that the Toyota Camry Hybrid drives like a gas-only car.
Details: 2013 Volkswagen Passat
The 2013 VW Passat is available in three trim levels (S, SE and SEL) and with three engines (five-cylinder, four-cylinder turbodiesel and V6). The powertrain lineup also includes four transmissions (five- and six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and six-speed DSG automated manual). The Passat was last redesigned for the 2012 model year and sees minimal changes for 2013, therefore this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 and 2013.