2020 volkswagen passat reliability

2020 volkswagen passat reliability DEFAULT

Review: The Improved 2020 Volkswagen Passat Is a Missed Opportunity

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Volkswagen Passat Full Overview

When Volkswagen decided to launch the significantly updated 2020 Passat near some of Southern California's legendary driving roads, it raised a few eyebrows (both of mine). The Passat is no longer our first choice for a midsize sedan we'd hoon up a world-class road like Angeles Crest, but could this midcycle refresh change that?

The U.S.-spec 2020 Passat still rides on an old platform—unlike the Passats for the Chinese and European markets, which are now built on VW's much newer MQB architecture that underpins the Golf (a MotorTrend favorite). So even though the Passat is refreshed for 2020, the body-in-white is essentially the same as the car that took home our Car of the Year honors in 2012. VW says this is to keep costs down because sedan sales are on the decline in the U.S., but as a result the Passat is hindered from start to finish.

For 2020, the bodywork is now a bit swoopier, with a reworked front-end design, new LED headlights, a fresh grille that ties it to the current Jetta, and a sculpted rear that makes the Passat a more handsome machine than before. The 2.0-liter turbo-four makes the same 174 hp but is up to 206 lb-ft of torque, and the six-speed automatic gets a new torque converter. Inside, the changes are even more subtle. But they shouldn't have been. The gauge cluster in the U.S.-spec Passat hosts a teeny color display between an analog tach and speedometer—had VW made the move to the MQB platform, the Passat could have come with Volkswagen's state-of-the-art fully digital instrument cluster, like in the Tiguan, but the sedan's older platform won't allow for it. The climate controls remain unchanged, as does the center console. Volkswagen did make blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic LED headlights features standard across all trim levels, however.

The 2020 Passat's dashboard has been adapted to include some Arteon-esque air vents, and the infotainment display is new. At just 6.3 inches, the touchscreen is small for the segment—European Passats can be upgraded to an 8.0-inch display, something that isn't possible in the North American car thanks to its dated platform. Desirable optional gear includes a Fender audio system, adaptive cruise control (standard on three of four trims), heated front and rear seats, and dual-zone climate control (also standard on three of four trims).

Unfortunately, a slightly modernized interior and extra niceties can't hide the car's obvious age inside. The dashboard and center console, though clean and easy to use, look positively spartan when compared to others in the segment. But how does the old sedan stack up on the road?

Realizing that the Passat might need some extra sportiness for our drive ahead, I jumped into a 2020 Passat R-Line. The R-Line adds slightly different front and rear bumpers, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and stickier Falken rubber wrapped around R-Line-exclusive 19-inch wheels.

The new tires represent one of the biggest dynamic differences between this newish 2020 Passat and the old one. Whereas the last R-Line came with bigger wheels but tires that were no more grippy, the Falkens were much more up to the task of hustling the sedan up a twisty mountain road. Thanks to the paddles on the wheel, it was easy to stay in the desired gear, but the transmission regularly ignored me when I asked for a downshift. The steering is light yet accurate, but the brakes have almost no feel, and a dead spot at the top of the pedal's travel makes coming to a well-judged stop extremely difficult.

Once we dropped out of the twisty roads above Los Angeles and onto its aging freeways, the old Passat came good. The 405 freeway's pavement is notoriously noisy and craggy, but the Passat—even on its 19-inch alloys—soaked up the lumps and bumps with ease. It was quiet at speed, allowing so little wind and tire noise into the cabin that even whisper-volume conversations were audible. No squeaks or errant rattles made their way into the cabin as we thumped it over bumps and expansion joints. The Passat was easily as comfortable as its big brother, the Arteon, but with better body control over large undulations. The long and straight journey down the 405 suit the Passat. Fitting, as the U.S.-spec Passat has been built specifically for the American market since 2012, and long, straight journeys abound in the lower 48. I just can't help but wonder how much better the Passat could have been when the going gets twisty if it were built on MQB. In the midsize sedan class, you can have your cake and eat it, too: the Accord, a two-timecomparison winner, expertly handles the practical matters that matter to families while also being better to drive.

That said, the refreshed Passat is still spacious, quiet, and comfortable. It's not going to set your hair on fire or inspire you to push for that next apex. What it should do is offer the same kinds of features as the Altima and Optima, but the omission of a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a decently sized infotainment screen, and a surround-view camera system makes it less appealing. The 2020 Passat starts at $23,915, undercutting most of its competitors in base price—and it also boasts a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty with two years/20,000 miles of free maintenance. Even so, the Passat doesn't have enough optional cabin tech to satisfy those who appreciate such niceties, and it still isn't as nimble as the class-leading Accord. A more feature-laden Passat with modern underpinnings does exist, just not in the U.S., and that's what frustrates us about the U.S.-spec 2020 Passat. If you must have a roomy, comfortable, well-priced German sedan in your driveway and don't mind skipping out on features many competitors offer, the Passat could have a home on your short list. Otherwise, consider a lower-trim Arteon, another midsize sedan, or wait a few years for the hoped-for full redesign of the Passat.

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Sours: https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/2020-volkswagen-passat-midsize-sedan-review/

There's an anodyne unpretentiousness to the updated 2020 Volkswagen Passat. It looks more distinctive than before yet doesn't call attention to itself or announce much of anything about the person who owns it. It's a plainly wrapped family sedan with modest performance and generous interior and cargo space. While additional equipment that was previously available only on its higher trim levels is now standard across the range, the latest Passat's mid-cycle improvements don't bring it any closer to the leaders in its segment.

HIGHS: Pleasant ride-and-handling balance, more standard features than before, attractive pricing.

Built at VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 2020 Passat features almost entirely new body panels (only the roof carries over from the 2019 model) and a freshened interior. But this is still the familiar United States-market Passat underneath, rather than a version of the European-market Passat that rides on the VW Group's newer MQB platform. That architecture also underpins the sleeker German-built VW Arteon sedan, which is a bit more upscale and is positioned above where the 2020 Passat lineup tops out.

Just because the Passat is rather anonymous looking doesn't mean it isn't handsome. Volkswagen has added standard LED headlights, stronger character lines down its sides, and a bolder front-end design. But its reserved, chiseled lines remain at odds with the more flamboyant curves on the headlining players in the family sedan segment, including the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. Even the sedate Subaru Legacy makes this VW appear conservatively drawn. Sportier R-Line models carry a touch more visual heft with model-specific treatments for the grille and front and rear bumpers, as well as standard 19-inch wheels. Our test car, however, was a top-spec SEL model that rolled on 18-inchers (17s are standard).

LOWS: Anonymous styling, rather slow for its segment, tiny infotainment screen.

Despite the Passat's updates, its straightforward interior is minimalist to the point of being a throwback. The main instrumentation is a big analog tachometer on the left, a big analog speedometer on right, and a digital display between them. A concession to modern sensibilities comes in the form of a 6.3-inch infotainment touchscreen atop the dash, which is not huge by current standards, but it does cover the bases, functions well enough, and brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. R-Line models add a leather-wrapped steering wheel and two-tone upholstery. However, you'll have to step up to the SEL to get real leather on the seats, as lesser trims feature VW's V-Tex Leatherette, which is a nice way to say vinyl, albeit pleasant, easy-to-clean vinyl.

What's best about the Passat interior is how much of it there is, particularly in the back seat. VW gets the absolute most out of the car's 110.4-inch wheelbase, which helps afford the Passat a solid 39.1 inches of rear legroom. That's 1.1 inches more stretch-out space than in a Toyota Camry and only slightly less than in a Honda Accord, which rides on a longer 111.4-inch wheelbase.

Except for a 22-lb-ft increase in torque (now up to 206 pound-feet) for the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, the 2020 Passat's powertrain carries over. It still develops 174 horsepower and is paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission. The previously optional narrow-angle V-6 is no longer available. VW claims the 2.0-liter's increased torque should trim a half-second from its zero-to-60-mph time. Despite weighing only 68 more pounds than a similar 2018 Passat 2.0T model we tested, however, our 2020 example's 8.3-second run is 0.3 second slower than before. Through the quarter-mile, its 16.2-second pass at 88 mph is 0.2 second slower at the same trap speed. Not only is the 2020 Passat's acceleration slower than before, it's notably off the pace of most of its competitors that we gathered last year for a five-car family sedan comparison test.

On the road, the Passat benefits from VW's ability to tune a chassis. It doesn't have the initial turn-in and instant reflexes of a GTI, let alone a Honda Accord. The 0.84-g skidpad orbit we recorded in our test car is below the average of our recent comparison test, but the VW's suspension keeps it planted in place on abrupt corner entries . The transmission responds quickly and smoothly, the steering feels suitably precise, and its driver has to do something especially stupid for its stability control to intervene (such as max it out around our 300-foot skidpad).

We'd like the Passat more if it had a stronger version of the turbo 2.0-liter four, such as the one found in both the Arteon sedan, which is rated at 268 horsepower and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic. But that would surely push the Passat's price closer to the more attractive Arteon and its $37,015 entry point. Compared to most of its peers that can top $40K with options, our SEL test car carried an attractive as-tested price of $32,410. And all 2020 Passats now come with additional standard content, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and satellite radio. The SEL adds niceties such as heated rear seats, a premium Fender audio system, and a parking assistant.

The latest Passat, while competent and a better value than before, is not meant for carving up a good road nor for standing out in traffic. To a savvy shopper looking for a family car that blends in, it is a sensibly priced driving appliance. But we'd gladly pay a little more for stronger performance and a touch more character.



2020 Volkswagen Passat

front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

$32,410 (base price: $23,915)

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
121 in3, 1984 cm3
174 hp @ 5200 rpm
206 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

6-speed automatic

Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.3-in vented disc/10.7-in disc
Tires: Giti GitiComfort A1, 235/45R-18 94H M+S

Wheelbase: 110.4 in
Length: 193.6 in
Width: 72.2 in
Height: 58.0 in
Passenger volume: 102 ft3
Trunk volume: 16 ft3
Curb weight: 3430 lb

Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 8.3 sec
100 mph: 21.3 sec
110 mph: 26.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 9.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 6.3 sec
1/4 mile: 16.2 sec @ 88 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 116 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.84 g

Observed: 27 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 27/23/34 mpg


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Sours: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a32866929/2020-vw-passat-by-the-numbers/
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There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the 2020 Volkswagen Passat. It’s been updated for this model year, which means new standard features and a sleeker look. However, in a segment where you want to play your best hand, the Passat’s facelift precludes it from the brand’s latest tech, which puts the midsize sedan miles behind red-hot competition such as the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and the new Kia K5.

At least the Passat is still relatively inexpensive – it’s actually cheaper than last year’s model. Plus, the run-of-the-mill sedan still has a huge backseat, which means it would work well for small families or as even as a ride-share vehicle, for example. But the Passat is still nowhere near our podium for best sedans.



Despite our tester’s pretty Tourmaline Blue metallic paint and ornate 18-inch wheels, the Passat is the absolute poster child for dull design. Toyota slapped a huge spoiler onto the Camry while Hyundai went nuts with the new Sonata’s lighting features... and Volkswagen’s rebuttal is an anonymous design devoid of any significance. Granted, the current-generation Passat has never been a design standout, but this iteration is desperately missing personality.

It’s much of the same inside, with a clean-but-mundane layout and pedestrian materials. A large section of low-gloss wood runs the width of the dashboard and looks nice, if a bit dated. Volkswagen’s typical center stack with HVAC and heated seat controls remains visually appealing, and there’s a spacious cubby beneath to charge phones with the USB port (not wirelessly) and store things. Similarly, the main pieces of cabin tech look like they’d be new in 2015.

Inside and out, the Passat’s design forgoes flair and chooses functionality. There’s nothing egregious to complain about, but nothing to conjure excitement, either.



As drab as the Passat’s interior is, it certainly is a comfy place to rack up miles. Our tester’s SEL trim brings real leather seating surfaces, dual-zone climate control, heated seats in the front and rear, and some fun ambient lighting. The front seats feel very similar to our long-term Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport – firm, but supportive and comfortable. Both front thrones also get eight-way power adjustability and lumbar support on the SEL trim.

But the enormous backseat is the place to be. Those riding in the rear enjoy 39.1 inches of legroom, which fares quite well against the Hyundai Sonata (34.8 inches) and the Toyota Camry (38 inches). Rear seat air vents and two USB ports sweeten the deal even more, not to mention the huge door pockets for storage. We weren’t kidding when we said this would make a killer ride-share vehicle. Your passengers will thank you.

The extra space continues to the trunk area, which will easily accommodate multiple full-size suitcases. Volkswagen claims 15.9 cubic feet of space in the Passat, which loses to the Accord’s 16.7, but improves on the Camry’s 15.1. This segment is known for its big trunk space, and happily the VW fits right in.

Piloting the Passat is a mostly tame affair. The ride quality is supple, enhanced by a healthy amount of sidewall surrounding the 18-inch wheels. Only truly messed-up road surfaces startle the VW. Otherwise, it’s just as smooth as rivals from Japan and Korea. Our only major knock is the wind and road noise on the highway, which are more obtrusive than they should be.

Technology & Connectivity


This is probably the best time to remind you that the rest of the world also gets a new Passat, only theirs is much better. Built on a newer platform, the foreign Passat has a more modern cabin with a bigger infotainment screen, digital instrument cluster, and other perks. Meanwhile, the American Passat kinda phones it in.

Standard is a 6.3-inch touchscreen, though our car features the bigger 8.0-inch setup. The display size is nothing to brag about, but the interface is much slower and worse to interact with compared to other VW’s that we’ve tested. This mainly due to much longer lag time and generally slower response when scrolling between menus. Supporting the main screen is a teeny tiny display (which is also way down on size compared to other Volkswagens) between the analog gauges that shows the trip information. Competitors are pushing hard with more screen real-estate, making the Passat feel even less special.

At least VW throws in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – we prefer either of those over the in-house navigation, which comes along for the ride at the SEL trim level. Lastly, we’ll tip our hat to the upgraded Fender sound system, which has great sound quality for this price point.

Performance & Handling


A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder powers the 2020 VW Passat and is good for 174 horsepower and 206 pound-feet. The engine mates exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, which sends power to the front wheels. This tried-and-true engine is a quiet, consistent performer. Power feels adequate; there’s enough grunt to get on the highway without worry and for quick overtakes, but never enough to make the Passat feel sporty. Even though it’s dated, the six-speed slushbox participates willingly and goes mostly unnoticed.

This car trades punches with a Camry XSE from a price standpoint, but comparatively, it handles much worse. The VW is set up for cruising, with overboosted, light steering and soft suspension.

save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Volkswagen Passat




Among the Passat’s few standout qualities is a fairly robust suite of safety features. The base S trim (at $22,995) includes blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. The SEL trim adds lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and active parking assist, which is supposed to parallel park the car automatically. During our week-long test, we tried using the automated function multiple times, but it never worked. That could easily be user error or a bug with this vehicle, but nevertheless, it’s still worth noting.

Fuel Economy


The VW Passat offers 23 city, 34 highway, 27 combined, which doesn’t stack up to its closest rivals. Other four-cylinder-equipped segment leaders like the Honda Accord shoot higher with 30 city, 38 highway, 33 combined, while the Toyota Camry nets 29 city, 41 highway, 34 combined, and the Hyundai Sonata 27 city, 36 highway, 31 combined. Unlike each of those cars, Volkswagen does not offer a hybrid variant of the Passat. The 2.0-liter engine is happy running on 87-octane fuel.



Considering the overall lack of fanfare, we can’t sit here and recommend the Passat SEL. Our car’s as-tested price of $32,015 is just too steep over the $22,995 base price. The optimal solution is likely the middle-tier SE trim, which adds adaptive cruise control and dual-zone climate control over the standard car.

Comparing apples to apples, a Toyota Camry with a comparable engine starts at $30,005, while a similar Hyundai Sonata Limited is $33,500. These are both better cars than the Passat, but the VW’s undercut base price will no doubt be appealing to some buyers.


2020 Volkswagen Passat SEL

EngineTurbocharged 2.0-Liter I4

Output174 Horsepower/ 206 Pound-Feet

Transmission6-Speed Automatic

Drive TypeFront-Wheel Drive

Efficiency23 City / 34 Highway / 27 Combined

Weight3,235 Pounds

Seating Capacity5

Cargo Volume15.9 Cubic Feet

Base Price$31,095

As-Tested Price$32,015

Sours: https://www.motor1.com/reviews/437563/2020-volkswagen-passat-review/
2020 Volkswagen Passat Review // Comfort On A Budget

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