VW Passat Starts At $19,995, Diesel From $25,995

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
vw passat starts at 19 995 diesel from 25 995

The “B5” Passat, which signaled the beginning of Volkswagen’s brief but luminous arc of twenty-first-century success in the United States, was priced at $20,750 including destination charge. For that kind of money, the buyers, of which your humble author was one, received a 1.8T engine, full-sized interior room, German assembly, and a fabulous set of luxurious appointments which usually did not completely self-destruct until the car reached its fourth or fifth birthday. It was a gorgeous game-changer of a car and for many people the juice of the driving experience was worth the painful squeeze of frequent dealings with VW’s “service” departments.

Fourteen years later, the price is the same — $20,765 including destination — but the game has definitely changed.

The base engine is VW’s completely unloved five-cylinder, appearing in the Passat for the first time and no doubt bringing its Ke$ha-like appetite for continuous liquid refreshment. Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls and VW’s no-charge three-year/36,000-mile scheduled-maintenance program. The SE is priced at $23,725 and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, a better radio, and a multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel.

For $25,995, it’s possible to swap the 2.5L for a two-liter TDI which is projected at 43mpg highway. Base equipment on the TDI is “SE” level so this really only represents a twoish-grand hike over the gas car. Stick shift or DSG are the choices.

For the clinically insane or the hopelessly optimistic, $28,995 will purchase the VR6. Shorn of its factory mufflers, the VR6 makes an utterly glorious, completely unique noise that usually sounds like

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaap…. braaaaaaaaaap… DING! CHECK ENGINE!… dammit.

The Passat is built at Volkswagen’s new [s]Westmoreland fiasco[/s] Chattanooga facility. VW fans longing for the days of the “wide-taillight” Rabbits and their amazing propensity to eject an astounding miscellany of parts onto the roadway will find all their needs for nostalgia met with the new Passat.

Join the conversation
2 of 59 comments
  • Tinker Tinker on May 27, 2011

    They could have aligned the VW logo better on that lemon. But I like the paint color!

  • 05lgt 05lgt on May 28, 2011

    Even if only one VW in 10 were a "Maintenance Grenade" (it is worse) they wouldn't be up to current expectations of reliability. Stories about the VW's that are reliable does nothing to address the problem, many that they sell are just CRAP. Unless one of the lucky owners has perfected a method of determining which cars are lemons ahead of time (build day, country of origin, trim level, prime number VIN) then they're not bringing me any closer to pulling the pin on one of these.

  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...
  • Kwik_Shift Instead of blacked, how about chromed? Don't follow the herd.
  • Carlson Fan Nicest looking dash/gage cluster ever put in any PU truck. After all these years it still looks so good.
  • Wheatridger Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the widescreen digital dash usurped the space formerly occupied in every other car by an HVAC vent? I see one prominent vent well right of center, where there should be two. I rely on twin driver's side vents to warm my hands on cold mornings, and I wouldn't give that up for more screen area.