The Volkswagen Passat is such a pleasant, useful and accommodating car because it combines the characteristics that stand out in German automobiles with attributes that many Americans seek in our vehicles.
The German parts include precision in engineering and design. They include tasteful levels of decoration that avoid gaudy showmanship. They include an elevated regard for the human form, with cars tailored to fit around humans, rather than humans expected to merely fit into cars. They include an approach to driving as a rewarding skill, instead of a dreary necessity.
The American aspects show in the stretched-out expansiveness of the four-door sedan. They’re wrapped into its unflustered road command that won’t cause a driver anxiety. They appear in its bottom-line value, with the Passat offered at an approachable price that starts at $21,665 and includes such up-level features as climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a split, fold-down back seat.
The current Passat was released in model-year 2012 as the first Volkswagen tailored specifically for mainstream America, with U.S. motoring tastes overruling the European influences traditionally found in autos from the German company. Passat is made at a VW plant that opened that year in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“It appeals to a wide mix of people,” said Charles Daher Jr., sales manager of Commonwealth Volkswagen in Lawrence, a part of Commonwealth Motors that also sells Chevrolet, Honda, Kia and Nissan vehicles.
“Young families like it because it’s a good size. They can put the kid seats in the back, fill the trunk, and still have a lot of room,” Daher said. “Commuters like it because you can get it with a diesel engine. It gives them good fuel economy in a larger car. Older people who may have been driving Volkswagen for a while like it because it gives them a model that’s a little larger and nicer.”