By on January 13, 2020

When your author’s 2019 Golf SportWagen (to be revealed soon) went into the shop for warranty work after just two weeks of ownership, the dealer provided a service loaner for a couple days (or four). And it was a brand new Passat, but one company PR would never release into the hands of any journalist: the most basic version.

Let’s see if the spacious S sedan is an Ace of Base.

Refreshed for the 2020 model year, the Passat’s bones date back to 2012, when the NMS or “New Midsize Sedan” version debuted in North America, Mexico, and China. For 2019, the Chinese-market Passat moved to the MQB platform as a brand new model. In North America, the old NMS version continues with a refresh to bring it in line visually with the Chinese Passat. Trims on offer range from the basic S at $22,995 to the SEL at $31,095. All versions carry the same 2.0-liter turbo four; ubiquitous power under the hood of Volkswagen vehicles. No matter the trim, 174 horsepower are sent to the front via the six-speed automatic, and the EPA says to expect 23 city and 34 highway.

Visually, Passat’s mostly a carry-over from before. The shape is largely anonymous, and those not well-versed in VW styling could easily mistake the Passat for the Jetta (the Passat’s an inch wider and seven inches longer, for the record). The block lettering across the trunk lid is new and brings an upscale touch. Other things to note are pretty good paint quality, consistent (if a bit large) panel gaps, and doors which sound nice upon closure. Just don’t expect the solid sound of a worldwide Volkswagen product like say, a Golf. Particularly offensive on the exterior is the gigantic fuel door, which is too large for no apparent reason and is made of plastic. It does not give any sense of quality when handled.

Though the large dimensions don’t get up to much on the styling front, dividends are paid in the interior. Space is plentiful front and rear, with copious leg and head room for all passengers, even if they’re over six feet tall. Seats are supportive for short trips, offering enough side bolstering to hold front passengers in place. They fall short on thigh support, though, so a long journey for the long of leg might prove painful. Adjustments are manual and plentiful in all directions. Fabrics feel just alright, but as far as long-term wear considerations go, the material is a bit thin. Trunk space is best described as cavernous, and should be more than enough for the needs of the masses.

Basic is the theme of this interior. In the driver’s seat, a sea of black rubber and plastic stretches before you — perhaps as expected in a Volkswagen. Dash materials are a rubberized plastic, and there’s a thread of faux stitching running the width. The cockpit is generally aesthetically pleasing, with simple screen and HVAC controls. Drawing the eye across the cabin are the vents integrated into a horizontal piece of trim, similar to an Audi 5000 from 1980. It’s a nice, clean look.

For the most part, materials below dash level are hard plastic. Silver trim is the same texture as the surrounding plastic, and gives a bland appearance. The steering wheel, while feeling pleasant enough in the hand, is made of rubber and has an unfinished edge here and there along the inside of the rim. It’s also slightly offset to the right, which is unforgivable in the opinion of your author. Of note is a nicely-padded center console lid that’s trimmed in V-tex and operates with a smooth, Germanic latch and motion.

Switches throughout are a mix of Golf, Jetta, and Passat-unique pieces. Most feel like they’re made decently well, but not of stellar materials. Passat’s climate control knobs hail from the Golf and jiggle loosely in their housings; on the Golf they don’t. Windows roll up very loudly, seemingly via tired motors shouting for a rest. Gauges convey information simply and are easy to read, but they match those from the base Jetta, and are not pleasing in appearance. It’s all finished in a black-and-red color scheme that looks downmarket.

Also downmarket is the randomly beige rear view mirror, which is a weird parallelogram shape and also sourced from the Jetta. The view provided out the rear window is a good size and not too obstructed by headrests, but said view is marred by shiny rear parcel shelf plastic, which unfortunately reflects sunlight. It’s a bit thoughtless.

On the technology front, pluses go to the decently sized touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, and a backup camera of fair resolution. It’s simple and intuitive enough to use, and does not rely on annoying mouse inputs like other systems. What’s not here is the most modern Volkswagen screen system, a push-button ignition, an electronic parking brake, auto stop-start, adaptive cruise, or an eco mode. There are a lot of blanks on the dash and gear selector, and the key you’ll use is the one they had for the Beetle in 2002. The base radio sounds fine, if a bit tinny.

Turning the key quickly fires up the 2.0-liter mill. It’s smooth and quiet until around 2600 rpm, at which point some turbo noise and engine groaning enters the cabin. Not an especially good noise; newer I-4 engines from the brand sound nicer. Out on the road, the six-speed transmission is a bit ill-suited to its task. Given it’s a holdout in a world of eight forward speeds, one would expect well-honed operation. At takeoff in daily driving situations, the transmission is too eager to make the 1-2 shift. This drops off the revs immediately, and the turbo has nothing on which to run, so it can’t assist. It leads to a slog forward, as second gear builds enough revs to get you moving and into third.

This issue does not occur when urgent forward motion is requested, but that’s outside of normal driving operation. In other situations, the transmission is a bit better, with cleanly executed shifts occurring at the right time. Sport mode is a notch down on the gearshift, and simply holds all the gears for a bit longer while increasing engine noise. Freeway acceleration is more than adequate for this class of car, and passing was a breeze. It feels notably quicker than a Golf with a 1.4-liter, for instance.

The brakes were very strong, and in an emergency situation where the truck in front of me ran a red light, stopped the Passat quickly. Of particular concern in my 24-mile example was a brake pedal with a seemingly faulty return. Letting off the brake, there was a lag before the pedal returned to its released position; it raised to meet my foot. I took to letting off the pedal about half a second before I wanted to move onward. A fluke, I’d hope.

On the potholed roads here in Ohio, the Passat’s ride was on the firm side of comfortable; bumps and imperfections were soaked up fine and did not transmit through to the seat. But over rough pavement there was a bit more jiggling than I’d expect from a large, front-drive sedan with tall tires. Another notable thing was the amount of road noise entering the cabin. Even at 30 miles per hour, there was a constant tire roar from the Falken Sinceras. It put me in mind of a certain Outback from 2012, suggesting a need for additional sound insulation. The Jetta is quieter at speed. There was also some wind noise coming from the b-pillar, which seemed only on the driver’s side.

By the way, one cannot operate the Passat at surface street speeds with even one window down, as “helicopter” style buffeting is intense. This is particularly true with the rear windows open. Steering is neutral in feel, electric, and does not impart any sense of feedback. It’s about what you’d expect in the CamCord class of car, and most drivers will not find it objectionable. There was a bit more on-center dead space than preferred, but that was only notable at very slow speeds.

The $23,000 Passat in S trim is a basic experience, as dictated by price, and an Ace of Base is a good thing for the customer on a tight budget who seeks value. But this sort of fundamental cost-cutting tips things toward the negative. The Passat’s most glaring faults wouldn’t be fixed by an escalation of trim and spend. Things like the dated underpinnings, off-center wheel, engine and transmission combo, wind buffeting, and the road noise will be present on all trims. Quality concerns like the wobbly climate knobs could be fixed with the dual-zone control of the SEL, but it shouldn’t be necessary to pony up to resolve such issues.

The Passat used to be a European-built alternative to Japanese and Korean mid-market sedans. Here in The Current Year, it’s a Tennessee-based leftover whose competition (and indeed its siblings in other markets) have left it behind.

Pick something else.

[Images: Corey Lewis / TTAC]

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68 Comments on “2020 Volkswagen Passat S Rental Review – Big and Basic...”

  • avatar

    Looks to be a phoned-in effort, but given what’s happened to the sedan market, can you blame VW?

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “2019 Golf SportWagen (to be revealed soon) went into the shop for warranty work after just two weeks of ownership”

    Ouch. Not good. If I wanted that kind of quality, I would have purchased GM!

    I rented a 2019 Passat recently myself. My overall impression was similar, but I have greater appreciation for the ride—I considered it to be very comfortable, in a very controlled way. My butt also found the driver seat to be all day comfortable.

    After 3 days and 500 miles with the Passat, I decided I liked the car overall, but would not spend my own money on one given longterm “German reliability” when such great alternatives exist from Asian manufacturers. Heck, I would probably spring for a Chrysler 300 with V6 power, more room, and great ride…for about the same money after incentives.

    • 0 avatar

      If it was a higher trim, you might’ve had the upmarket seats. VW likes to do that if you spend enough money.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Right. I have a ’19 Tiguan SEL Premium 4MOTION. That trim and the SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION are the nicest ones, and the only ones that come with the premium seats. VW loves to do that, you’re right.

        I didn’t care about the seats, but did want the LED headlights that come only on those trims. Prior to ’19, you could only get the Digital Cockpit on those two trims, but for ’19, they made it standard for the one-step-lower SEL and SEL R-Line.

        The seats on the current Jetta are particularly plain and ugly (with no cross-stitching whatsoever) unless you get the SEL Premium.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      81,000 miles on my 2016 Regal GS and it has only needed oil Changes.

    • 0 avatar

      The funny thing is my GM, a 2017 Impala LT with the 2.5 engine, has been flawless and zero visits to the shop for any kind of defects or issues now with 42k miles! Other friends or co-workers report similar good luck with their 2015-2018 Impala’s too. It’s nice to see that they ay least do one car right!

    • 0 avatar

      If the 300 is like the Charger, the mileage isn’t much worse than the VW, which isn’t much worse than the Fusion hybrid rental we had. The best we could get in the Imperial Valley was 36hwy. City was in the upper 20s though. I think a Dart had a larger trunk though, it was really limited in space.

    • 0 avatar

      Over 20,000 miles on our 2018 Regal TourX for middle $20’s and just finished with the free oil changes and tire rotations…that is it! I go in and say high to one of the salesman and talk about the weather. Buick life!

  • avatar
    Extra Credit

    The oversized fuel door may be a remnant from their hopes that it would be covering two separate access points – fuel and AdBlue. These things seem to get locked in early in design planning and go unchanged because reasons. Regardless, changing the fuel door size was not going to save this review, so maybe they knew what they were doing.

  • avatar

    Interesting. It still reminds me of the Ford 500/Taurus. Just put the Ford oval on the grill.

    2.0 liter make 175hp. My old 2011 Malibu had 2.4, no turbo, made 167hp. It was adequate and then some. My new 2014 Regal 2.0 with turbo cranks 259 hp. It is QUICK.

    This car is 23/34mpg. Malibu was 22/32. IIt averaged 28.5 mpg during the 6 years I had it–a lot of 160 mile round trips at 32-34 mpg helped.

    $22,995 PLUS shipping probably is pretty good in 2020. I think my Malibu MSRP was $22,500. It was under $23k.

    The Malibu, dating from 2008, had a classier interior, IMO, though no touchscreen.

    This is like a big Ford, where the excitement comes not from the driving experience, but from the post-warranty experience.

    It’s sad that VW, with it’s German roots and great Golf has decided to go all-in on “me-too”.

    They didn’t learn with the “Malibu-zation” of the Rabbit 40 years ago. They cannot do “American” better than the Asians, or even the Americans.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The type of review that I hope to see more of. No punches pulled.

    An offset steering wheel could be a deal breaker. Some Cadillacs suffered from this in the early 70’s.

    Buffeting is something I believe is more common in modern cars than in the cars of my youth. Can anyone provide a simple explanation for this?

    However some of the listed ‘minuses’ are in my opinion actually ‘pluses’. These would include:
    a) A push-button ignition. Sorry but I do not see the benefits of switching back to a system that we abandoned circa WWII.
    b) An electronic parking brake. Give me a good old fashioned hand brake anytime.
    c) Auto stop-start. I have turned this off in every vehicle I have driven with it that allows the driver to turn it off. When operating it inevitably gives me a headache. Good riddance.
    d) An eco mode. Most reviews insist that this or a ‘sport’ mode do very little in vehicles of this class/price point.

    As to the 6-speed transmission. That is something that I would also probably prefer, if engineered and assembled correctly. Particularly if the alternative is a CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “An offset steering wheel could be a deal breaker. Some Cadillacs suffered from this in the early 70’s.”

      The GM K2XX trucks (2014-2018 Silverado and Sierra) also suffer from that issue, and probably the outgoing Yukon/Escalade/Denali trio as well.

      On the Passat, I suspect it’s because the PQ46 platform used by the NMS Passat was derived from the PQ35 platform, which underpinned narrower cars (like the Mk.5 and Mk.6 Golf). The position of the steering column relative to the center of the car was probably fixed and unable to be modified for the wider PQ46 variant…so VW decided to just add some inches on the sides of the floorpan and hoped you didn’t notice that the wheel was a bit too far to the right.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know the absolute specifics of the helicoptering effect (besides it being an aerodynamics issue, obviously), but cracking a rear window pretty much always alleviates it (plus, adds a little more airflow), so seems like a relatively minor issue.

    • 0 avatar

      Smoke a cig in a car, crack drivers window and smoke flows out. Reason…same as a wing. Moving air over an airfoil creates low pressure. High pressure air in the car is sucked out by the low pressure. Works the same transferring fuel in an F-18. At the time it was called motive flow. Using a fuel pump mounted on a gearbox, a stream of fuel is flowed across a convergent and divergent duct creating a low pressure area. Fuel in the tank is high pressure. This method transfers fuel among 6 tanks without having a pump or electrical wires in each one.

      As another poster relayed, adjust the height of right rear passenger window. It should equalize base on vehicle speed

  • avatar

    I always looked at these as a junk brand Camcord. But 10 years of actual Camrcords getting worse and VWs not being (as much of) the self destructing pieces of chit that they were in the 90s and 00s, on paper at least it seems pretty attractive. No CVT, no stop start, no garish styling, no Kammback ruining the back seat, no 13 gallon gas tank, no grounded to the ground shrinking.

    That said, I don’t remember ever so much as riding in one, I don’t expect to ever buy a sedan again, and I certainly won’t buy a VW again.

  • avatar

    “By the way, one cannot operate the Passat at surface street speeds with even one window down, as “helicopter” style buffeting is intense. This is particularly true with the rear windows open.”

    I find this to be true in almost any modern car now-a-days. It might have something to do with the sloping of the rooflines with more modern sedans. I’m trying to remember if I had this issue with my former 2014 Kia Soul or 2003 Toyota Matrix, which are more boxy in shape

    • 0 avatar

      This is actually not working this way. If you open one window – you get this. If you open second window on the same side, it is gone. I like to drive with rear window open somewhat and I open a front one tiny bit just to cancel the noise

  • avatar

    Imagine if at the turn of the 20th century into the 21st you had made the prediction that Hyundai would be building a midsize sedan superior in many respects to VW.

    Yet here we are.

    (I’m thinking current Passat compared to new Sonata.)

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know how bad turn of the century Hyundais were, but I do know how bad my turn of the century B5 was.

      Trust me, the writing was on the wall.

      • 0 avatar

        I meant as “enthusiasts cars” – I can’t wait for the N-line Sonata to finally hit the streets.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a B5 Passat and apparently I got lucky as it was rear ended and written off before the major costs came. Apparently the manuals were not bad and the automatic’s awful, and I had a manual. Neighbour was on automatic transmission #3 by 60,000km.

        I did however find that VW parts were on average 3X the price of Jaguar parts, and the VW needed a lot more of the pricey parts. So after the Passat was written off I bought a V12 Jaguar and my total cost of ownership went down, even including fuel. Who would have thought?

        Besides, every enthusiast needs to own a V12 at least once in their life.

  • avatar

    Looking at specs straight up against a 2020 Hyundai Sonata SE, with a very close price, I am unsure why anybody would even buy a Passat S. A Hyundai will have a longer warranty and adaptive cruise control standard, whereas VW will make you buy the next trim up just to get it.

    • 0 avatar

      My first thought is that VW will be discounting the living hell out of these, but then again, that’s Hyundai’s act as well.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Cars are bought/sold based on endless criteria. Sometimes a simple thing like how well my posterior fits in a seat will be the final decision point…and everyone’t butt is different!

      • 0 avatar

        I had to do some line item comparisons and will say, the Passat with its 18.5g fuel tank is a nice selling point. Hyundai has a much smaller 14.8g tank.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          To me, the Passat is the new W-Body (2006-2013, specifically) Impala at this point. It won’t set your heart on fire, but it’s decent enough and an excellent highway cruiser.

          Still, I’d probably shop elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar

            “To me, the Passat is the new W-Body (2006-2013, specifically) Impala …”

            Wouldn’t it be something if VW would put their latest and greatest 300 horse powertrain in without advertising it to complete the parallel.

    • 0 avatar

      I found adaptive cruise control not to my liking. On my trips I like to set a speed and go. Anything on my way will be passed to maintain a set speed. I am more likely to increase speed temporarily than lower it. Adaptive CC slows you down and you end up driving with a speed of a car ahead of you. And if you want to pass, cars in the next lane approaching and you end up chugging behind. I prefer manually up/down when necessary for passing, and keep the good rate of speed.

      In this context so funny when you are on a long trip, you see some cars just blow by you. Then 10 minute later you passing them. Now, my speed is the same. What does it tell you?

  • avatar

    Bought one in 2012 wity the 2.5 five cylinder. Drove 100k totally trouble free miles and traded in for a GTI.

    For everyone who groans about overly complex modern cars with cvts and digital overload, here is the basic, safe and economical car you say you want.

  • avatar

    Sounds like Corey was trying really hard to say anything nice about this car. My wife’s 2017 Civic has nearly the same size and power but averages over 38 MPG in mixed driving and hits between 43 and 46 on interstate trips. So, sorry VW, no biscuit. I do love that the VW has no auto stop / start. What a stupid feature. You will never convince me those thousands of extra cycles wont do damage to electrical and engine components. All supposedly to reduce emissions. So when the car needs new parts or goes to the scrapyard prematurely more raw materials and pollution will be necessary to replace it. Glad our Civic does not have it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I guarantee you this Passat, which was among the roomiest in its class when it debuted, has more space inside than your wife’s Civic. They’re not really the same class of car. However, you can compare the Passat against the Accord—which *is* comparably sized—and Honda still wins. The Accord gets better fuel economy, it’s newer, it’s fresher. it probably drives better and it’s better-looking.

      I find the start-stop in my Tiguan to be irritating; I’ll give you that.

    • 0 avatar

      I hate stop start too. The manufacturers beef up the starter and battery, but still, I’m with you–going from 0 rpm to accelerating from a dead stop can’t be good.

      It should save some fuel. However, will the starter need to be replaced? Will the car require more batteries over its lifetime? The cost of an extra battery or three will probably negate the ‘fuel savings’. On smaller cars (which Detroit has abandoned), or even 4-cyl CUVs with smaller engines, the fuel savings are much smaller than they are on big V8 engined trucks.

      I’ve heard, IF the Stop/STart is defeatable, the EPA ‘defeats’ it in their test cycle, so manufacturers don’t get credit for it. Can anyone confirm this? Is there an auto engineer in the house?

      • 0 avatar

        As long as it defaults to “on” when the car is started it gets the credit.

        • 0 avatar

          This explains the “comfort mode” on the last few Benzes I’ve driven. Truck or car, you have to put it into sport mode to get any kind of response from the drivetrain. Comfort is the default mode and the car won’t allow you to lock into any of the other modes. Comfort is clearly designed for the EPA cycle, not the street. Once you select any other mode, though, the stop/start is disabled. So you end up with “start car, move mode to Individual , put in reverse…..back out of space….

    • 0 avatar

      If you ever own a proper hybrid, which can use one of the traction motors to start the engine immediately and seamlessly, then you see how ridiculous stop/start using a starter motor is.

      • 0 avatar

        Pretty much any non-electric car not being a hybrid strikes me as ridiculous at this point, TBH. If everyone doesn’t like how stop-start works, and everyone doesn’t like how the universal move to small-displacement turbos means a moment of low-RPM terror before the torque spools up, well, hybrids solve that with a big shove of instant torque on takeoff — no need for the engine to even have kicked on yet, let alone the turbo to have spooled up. And unlike the hamster wheel plus direct injection solution, which is mostly just a way to game the EPA mileage test while increasing real-world tailpipe emissions, hybridization actually improves real world mileage, a lot. Toyota seems to have anticipated this — instead of being a weird exotic Prius thing, now pretty much every Toyota, including the Corolla, is available as a hybrid.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This, my friends, is what we call a heavy facelift. They’ve changed most of the sheetmetal, but it’s fundamentally the same car under the skin. Ford used to love to do these. See, for example, the changeover between the 2007 and 2008 Ford Focus.

    It’s a decent, no-nonsense option, but pretty much every one of its competitors—including the almost-as-old Fusion—has more wow-factor. I myself would skip this, in favor of an Accord, Camry or Mazda6.

    I suspect this is the last Passat we’ll see. Volkswagen will keep this one around until MY2023 or so, and then will drop it, letting the Jetta (which is really quite large) stand as their only mainstream sedan presence.

    • 0 avatar

      “Ford used to love to do these. See, for example, the changeover between the 2007 and 2008 Ford Focus.”
      The Escape facelift/reskin for ’08 was also a good example. Abroad, I quite admired the Mk5 (’02-’08) Fiesta transition to the India-made Ford Figo for 2010. I’m quite familiar with the ’10 Focus, and although hideous to look at, it is solid, simple, and holds up if cared for. Far more sturdy than the ’12+ Focus.

    • 0 avatar

      National almost fooled me into taking a Jetta just the other night. I was searching the Executive Selection, and spotted a red VW. I’m in rentals weekly, so I like to pick out something that doesn’t scream “rental”. I had to walk around to the back to confirm it was a Jetta because it is so big now. I passed. Found a Maxima SL, but again had to look at the rear to confirm it wasn’t an Altima.

  • avatar

    No idle stop/start? Sold.

  • avatar

    Sad, now we’re not even China gets more modern versions that North America! Why even bother to create this, just bring in the Euro-Passat and charge more. Sedans are a niche market now anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      VW doesn’t have the brand cache to command higher prices and they sell Audis for people who want more luxury.

    • 0 avatar

      If you want a more expensive sedan from VW, they have the Arteon for you. Of course, it has a lot of the same switchgear as my GTI, a crazily sloped windshield, and only stickers for for about $15K-20K more. I’ve yet to see one on American roads, but I’m positive the’ve sold at least one in Korea.

    • 0 avatar

      They tried the “bring in the Euro-Passat and charge more” strategy, and while it brought in a lot of Audi-grade cars for VW prices, they didn’t sell particularly well, and were spectacularly unprofitable. For better or worse, the NMS Passat was, financially, a better choice vs. the Euro Passat.

  • avatar
    The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

    2 whole weeks and already warrantied out. They really saw you coming, didn’t they?

    No clue why anyone would purchase a VW product from the past 20 years.

  • avatar

    Perhaps I missed it, but what are the torque figures for this car? I’m guessing it’s pretty good considering it’s got a turbocharged engine, but 174hp seems low out of the 2.0T considering the Focus ST I had was at 253hp/270tq. Would this be considered understressed?

    Also, the styling seems to work slightly better here than on the recent redesign of the Jetta

    • 0 avatar

      VW puts the 2.0T in many different vehicles but the outputs are all over the map.

      I want GTI/GLI power in everything with the 2.0T – then VW will have my attention.

    • 0 avatar

      Corey calls it an old version of the 2.0t. It’s not. It’s the Budack cycle version of the 2.0t, which Kyree has also saddled himself with in the Tiguan. It’s the latest super wowee VW dud. Has a trick cylinder head, and is sort of a low pressure turbo with some whacked out idea of an Atkinson cycle – updated by some Euro know-it-all. Supposed to be super economical. Sure. The Honda 1.5t is both more powerful and way more economical in the CRV and Civic. VW is operating engines somewhere nobody else cares to go. Euro tests of the Tiguan with this boat anchor talk about its lousy performance on the autobahn at higher speeds.

      I’ve experienced these engines in test drives of the Audi A3 FWD and the Tiguan. The thing is a wheezer and runs out of juice after 4,000 rpm, while feeling and sounding coarse, all at the same time. What a joke. All VW had to do was keep the GTI cylinder head, but to keep the power rating low for lower end models, they came up with this terrible “solution” which costs them just as much to make, I’d estimate.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It isn’t particularly economical in the Tiguan. The fuel-economy is toward the bottom of the class, mainly because it’s such a heavy vehicle. I agree that the 1.5T in the CR-V, Civic and Accord drives better and sips more fuel.

        I regret buying the car, TBH.

  • avatar

    I owned many VW’s over the years. Mainly because of how they drove compared to competitors at the time, with the exception being a V10 TDI Touareg. That was purchased because I just “had” to have it.

    Not a single one of them could have been considered anything close to reliable. Never would leave you on the side of a road, but the quality of components (or lack thereof) in VW’s, even to this day, is pathetic when you look at the price of their vehicles.

    Door panels that look great on the outside, but beneath are formed sawdust and low quality plastic. Covered in really nice vinyl though..
    Door latch micro switches that can’t seem to last beyond 60k
    Window regulators…..VW, why the hell can’t you figure out how to make a window regulator? They’ve been failing en mass since 1998 and the introduction of the mark 4 cars…figure it out!!

    I swore off their stuff years back, until my husband one day came home with a 2014 Golf TDI, unannounced..

    That car spent more time at the dealership for major drivability issues that it did in our driveway. Total length of ownership was 8 months, an honest half of which we had courtesy cars from the dealership.

    By comparison, our 2016 Tucson has had one warranty repair in 70k, which was a purge solenoid. Diagnosed and repaired in 90 mins.

    After the last visit to the shop with the golf, I put my foot down and said it would be sold. No matter what, and no matter the financial loss..

    I will never own another Volkswagen product in my life.

    • 0 avatar

      “VW, why the hell can’t you figure out how to make a window regulator?”

      As a BMW owner, I have a theory on this, but it may only apply to brands like BMW that are heavy on leases….

      Crappy parts like regulators, valve cover/oil pan/oil filter housing gaskets and hoses along with weak cooling systems are designed to get the vehicles to about 60k miles before they grenade. That’s well past the lease period and now just outside of carmaker cpo warranties.

      Bottom line – they don’t give a rat’s buttocks about you, me or anyone else buying their stuff unless we buy or lease new.

      Addendum: Go compare parts costs that are stamped with VW or BMW logos vs the OEM of the same part but without the logo. It’s good for a laugh, unless you’re forced to buy the logo brandishing part from a garage or dealer.

      • 0 avatar

        Literally this comment:
        I learned that you are buying the parts bin, not the shine. This is why I won’t touch another GM product, ever. Likewise, I like VW, know what I’m getting, and that is why I don’t have an RS or S3 in my driveway. If I pay 20k, it’s one thing, but to pay 60k and get the same stuff makes no sense.

        Maybe it was growing up in the glory days of GM, and spotting the same parts over and over, but with a few chrome rings on the fancier models, but at the end, all the same stuff….and this year’s truck always had last gen car switchgear…..or starting out with beater cars and learning too much about the mechanicals because you had to.

        All those parts you don’t see-regulators, alternators, switches, etc are the same, and the suppliers have been beaten to submission on price. In GM land, Cadillac gives a lot of 120k warranties on parts that aren’t covered in lesser GM brands, which is how GM tries to do cheap but not annoy the high end buyer. The reality is shown by the crash of value for the cars second hand.

        Honda and Toyota have a stronger parts bin….and I”m hoping Mercedes does. We shall see.

      • 0 avatar

        A BOSCH injector for my ancient BMW M30B35 engine is 50$ CAD on Rockauto.
        On it’s listed at, wait for it … 307.86$ CAD.
        For EACH injector.

        Yeah, not a good idea to buy BMW parts directly unless you have to.
        Otherwise the OEM’s like BOSCH, Lemforder, Hella/Behr, etc sell most quality parts for much cheaper.

  • avatar

    I haven’t driven one of these in a few years, and maybe newer versions are better, but the ones I drove (back in the days of the 2.5/5-speed auto) had some of the worst steering of any sedan I’ve ever driven. It went beyond “lack of feedback” to “lack of realism,” literally feeling like a video game. It would have been disqualifying in a purchase decision.

    I’m sorry that you are apparently experiencing traditional VW build quality with your own car.

  • avatar

    “What’s not here is the most modern Volkswagen screen system, a push-button ignition, an electronic parking brake, auto stop-start, adaptive cruise, or an eco mode.”

    Oh, please. Thanks god, all these are missing

  • avatar

    Volkswagen’s packaging has always seemed completely nonsensical to me, perhaps the worst of any automaker. In 2018 I was kind of interested in getting a V6 Passat. That was the year they offered the GT, and while I wanted the V6 I wasn’t crazy about the GT’s unique front fascia. I thought to myself: why the heck didn’t they just offer the V6 with the R-line? I would have bought such a car on the spot. And then the color options: also poorly thought out.

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