2012 Volkswagen Passat Price, Review, Specs, what car reviews, The Passat is Volkswagen’s midsize sedan that offers a step up from the Jetta to the near-luxury category with a higher level of performance and sophistication. First introduced in 1974, the Passat marked a radical departure for Volkswagen at the time with front-wheel drive and a water-cooled engine. The Passat was completely new for the 1998 model year with a more appealing design and slightly larger than its predecessor. For 2006 the Passat was redesigned with a longer wheelbase, a wider body and a number of exterior and interior features. For 2012, Volkswagen fully redesigned the Passat, tailoring it specifically to the U.S. market, even manufacturing the midsize sedan in Chattanooga, Tenn. The all-new Passat offered a roomier interior, an optional fuel-efficient 2.0-liter diesel engine and $7,000 price cut over the previous, 2010 model.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan is offered in three broad models broken down by engine (2.5L, TDI and 3.6L), which are further subdivided into a trio of different trim levels (S, SE and SEL).

The lineup starts with the “S” base model (2.5L only), which comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, an eight-way manual driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering wheel audio controls, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input. An available Appearance package adds a six-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-seat center armrest.

Move up to the SE trim level and you get 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a sliding front armrest and a touchscreen audio interface. Options on SE models include a sunroof and a navigation system, while TDI SE buyers can add 18-inch alloy wheels and foglights as well. The 3.6L SE comes standard with these options, except the navigation system, which remains optional. A nine-speaker Fender audio system is also included.

The 2.5L SEL adds upgraded front seats, the Fender sound system and an upgraded navigation system. The SEL Premium package adds keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, foglights, a power passenger seat, driver memory functions and leather/faux suede upholstery. Both the TDI and 3.6L can also be had in SEL guise, but the Premium package is mandatory.

Powertrains and Performance

If there’s one thing the front-wheel-drive 2012 Volkswagen Passat has plenty of, it’s powertrain choices. Entry-level 2.5L models get a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine rated at 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices here include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. EPA estimated fuel economy for the manual transmission stands at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The automatic drops slightly to 22/31/25.

Those looking for maximum miles per gallon and better acceleration can opt for the TDI model’s fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel, which produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual transmission (known as DSG). The EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 31/43/35 for the manual and 30/40/34 with the DSG.

If maximum thrust is what you’re after, look no farther than the 3.6L’s 3.6-liter V6, which puts out 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. VW’s six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine was able to bring the Passat from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds — very quick for this class. Fuel economy stands at 20/28/23 mpg.


The 2012 Volkswagen Passat’s list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In the event of a crash, a new feature called Intelligent Crash Response automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Passat earned a top score of “Good” for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In Edmunds brake testing, a Passat 3.6 SEL came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet, which is longer than average.

Interior Design and Special Features

The first thing you notice about the passenger cabin of this new, larger Passat is the sense of spaciousness. Space up front is good; however, the driver seat only adjusts in six ways (minus lumbar), lacking the seat bottom tilting ability of most competitors. There are no complaints in back, though, as this new Passat gets an additional 3 inches of rear seat legroom that makes it possible for even good-size adults to stretch out. Seriously, the Passat is verging on a full-size sedan now. An equally spacious trunk can swallow 15.9 cubic feet of cargo — a number that bests many of the Passat’s competitors — and is made more flexible by 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.

Once underway, you’ll notice the interior is also relatively quiet compared to some other midsize family sedans. The quality of interior materials may not be as high as they were in the outgoing Passat, but they remain tops for the class, while the design architecture adds an upscale feel. The layout of gauges and controls is also refreshingly simple. Finally, the new, premium Fender audio system has been tuned to the acoustics of the interior and will please even hard-core audiophiles.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat’s character depends a great deal on which engine is under the hood. Performance from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder is adequate and should be an acceptable choice for most buyers, but fuel economy and performance are nowhere near best-in-class. The alternative, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel in TDI models, offers significantly better fuel economy and livelier low-end power, but highway passing can be a challenge due to its modest horsepower output.

For those not satisfied with the above, the 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers much more enthusiastic acceleration. The DSG automated manual transmission that’s available with the turbodiesel engine and standard with the V6 works very well, and its regular and manual-shift modes mean the Passat is well suited both for commuting and more spirited driving.


2012 Volkswagen Passat Price :

MSRP range: $19,995 – $32,950
Invoice price range: $19,175 – $31,600

2012 Volkswagen Passat Specs :

Drivetrain : Front Wheel Drive
Curb Weight (lbs) : 3166
City (MPG) : 22
Hwy (MPG) : 32
Horsepower : 170@5700
Torque (lb-ft) : 177@4250
Wheelbase : 110.4
Length (in.) : 191.6
Width (in.) : 72.2
Height (in.) : 58.5