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2013 Volkswagen Passat

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The 2013 Volkswagen Passat remains a top choice among those looking for a well-refined family sedan. Like most of the Volkswagen line it offers a highly efficient clean diesel option and still maintains the high-quality interior Volkswagen is building its reputation upon. There are only minor tweaks and changes in the 2013 Volkswagen Passat after a redesign for last year's model.

The economy and styling of the European segment is grabbing a large foothold in the U.S. market and Volkswagen is leading the way. Since the Passat is the only vehicle in the VW lineup that competes in the "family sedan" segment, its features are geared toward functionality and economy. Volkswagen reliability should put most shoppers over the top when it comes to purchase time.

Expert Reviews

"In a class filled with excellent choices, Passat is a strong entrant that follows a bit different path, one that helps it stand out from the crowd." (Consumer Guide) This is the general consensus among most reviewers who have managed to engage the 2013 Passat, but the price remains a deterring factor for many who claim competitors offer more for less. "Distinguishing itself with European-style refinement and an efficient diesel option, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat is a solid choice for a family sedan." (Edmunds)

"The Passat offers lots of room and has an enticingly low base price, but most versions cost at least $25,000. The spacious cabin has a very roomy rear seat, but fit and finish took a step back. The base engine is a lackluster 170-hp, 2.5-liter five-cylinder that gets 25 mpg overall. The Passat is quiet and rides comfortably. Handling is responsive, but the car falls short on cornering grip when pushed to its limits." (Consumer Reports)

"For 2013, the Passat continues to deliver great value for money. It plays in the tough heart of the market, where the iconic Toyota Camry and Honda Accord set the beat and more edgy upstarts like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima play counterpoint. But the new VW Passat is carving out its niche as a comfortable and affordable 4-door with good space, lots of features and great road manners." (Kelley Blue Book)

Owner Reviews

"[This is an] awesome car with awesome power and pretty good gas mileage. The car ride is quiet and very comfortable, audio system is great, interior quality is exceptional for the price. Materials used are way nicer and better quality than in any other vehicle within the same price range." (Owner review from Virginia-based owner, KBB)

"I like this car but do not love it. It is smooth, has well thought out controls, is spacious, looks good, and drives well but I'm not sure if it is still the pick of the class. The big letdown is the five cylinder power train. The mileage isn't great, the engine isn't as smooth as the Honda four-cylinder I've come from, the power output is poor for something with five cylinders, and the transmission is slow to shift." (Owner review from 2013 S PZEV 2.5L owner, Edmunds)

For most owners, the diesel option is once again the best way to go. "Best car I ever owned. I have not experienced ANY negatives. I regularly get better than advertised MPG, 47 Hwy, 36 City, 41 combined, all without using an annoying CV transmission. This car is simply unparalleled in the midsize, mid-price sedan market." (Owner review from Kentucky owner, KBB)


The 2013 Volkswagen Passat is available in a variety of configurations. Its available three engines are the basis of its three separate model choices - the 2.5L, TDI, and 3.6L. Those models are available in one of three trim levels - the S, SE, and SEL classes. The S level only offers the 2.5L engine but that's about as limited as the choices get here. Standard features for the S trim level include full power accessories, air conditioning, keyless entry, automatic headlights, steering wheel radio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio input.

Moving up to the SE trim will earn you the chrome exterior features, heated exterior mirrors, a six-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, rear air vents, premium vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, upgraded gauges and displays, a sliding front armrest, and an eight-speaker sound system with touchscreen interface and satellite radio. There are other available package options that include a navigation system and sunroof, but these are not standard features for the SE.

The final trim level is the SEL. Kicking up to this level will earn the purchaser dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, upgraded front seats, and wood interior trim. There is also a Premium version of the SEL that adds foglights, keyless ignition/entry, and power front seats with driver memory function. A nine-speaker Fender audio system is as good as it gets in the audio department.


The interior of the 2013 Volkswagen Passat is defined by the amount of head- and legroom available. Both are in ample supply but must be enjoyed on seats that are a little too firm for some. The rear seat can be described as cavernous for this class and offers a good deal of comfort for those longer journeys. Wide doors and a heightened roof make access to all four seats easily attainable.

Materials quality is very good but the interior does seem a bit too resolute to be relaxing. The cockpit is highlighted by an array of functionally placed gauges and radio controls. The layout is simple and doesn't get in the way of the driver. Radio controls are situated so that either driver or passenger can access them comfortably. Front storage compartments are spacious, as is the 15.9 cubic-foot trunk.

The new Fender audio system is well worth the upgrade, as it was designed to utilize the acoustics of the Passat's interior. Parents should be careful that their teens don't deafen themselves on the amplified audio. The navigation system is easy to use but some find it to be lethargic when receiving instructions. If there is a low-quality feature in the Passat's cabin it is the climate-control knobs. They are rough and made of weak material; users should be careful when using them.


The 2013 Volkswagen Passat offers three engine options. The entry-level model offers the 2.5L inline-five-cylinder engine that's good for 170 horsepower and 177 ft.-lbs. of torque. It can come coupled to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The other regular gasoline alternative is the 3.6L V6 that thumps out 280 horses and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque. VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (DSG) is the only option with the 3.6L.

The V6 offers an excellent power choice, but if you're after peak fuel efficiency you'll want to take a look at the Passat TDI. It offers the 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel that's good for 140 horsepower and 236 ft.-lbs. of torque. It also gives a tremendous 31/43 mpg (city/highway) with the six-speed manual tranny and 30/40 mpg with the DSG. The 2.5L has a reputation for being slightly underpowered but the V6 and TDI both handle the Passat's power needs nicely.

Throttle response is slow with the DSG tranny/V6 combo, but all others seem to be responsive off the line. The suspension is comfortable, soaking up bumps on rough highways, and ride comfort remains astute in both front and rear seats. Handling is rather numb but braking ability is above average. Some models have had reports of long throw in the brake pedal.

Safety & Reliability

If the 2013 Volkswagen Passat were an elementary school student, it would have a row of gold stars next to its name on the bulletin board in the categories of safety and reliability. It earned Top Safety Pick honors from the IIHS, maintaining a ranking of Good in all categories. It also did well in government crash testing, earning five out of five stars overall, as well as in front and side crash tests. Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and front and side-curtain airbags. Some models also have hill-hold control.

There are currently no recalls on the 2013 Passat and it comes with the industry-standard 3-year/36,000-mile manufacturer's warranty and the 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Reliability over the past few years has been above average for nearly all Volkswagens and the 2013 Passat is no exception. MSRP ranges from $20,845 to a top-end of $33,525.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - FWD
S 4dr Sedan 2.5L Manual S 5 Cylinder FWD 20845
S 4dr Sedan 2.5L Manual S PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 20845
S 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto S 5 Cylinder FWD 21945
S 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto S PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 21945
Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto Wolfsburg Edition 5 Cylinder FWD 23495
Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto Wolfsburg Edition PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 23495
S w/Appearance 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto S w/Appearance *Ltd Avail* 5 Cylinder FWD 22945
S w/Appearance 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto S w/Appearance PZEV *Ltd Avail* 5 Cylinder FWD 22945
SE 4dr Sedan 2.5L Manual SE 5 Cylinder FWD 23945
SE 4dr Sedan 2.5L Manual SE PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 23945
SE 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE 5 Cylinder FWD 25045
SE 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 25045
SE w/Sunroof 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE w/Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 25845
SE w/Sunroof 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE w/Sunroof PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 25845
SE w/Sunroof & Nav 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE w/Sunroof & Nav 5 Cylinder FWD 26995
SE w/Sunroof & Nav 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SE w/Sunroof & Nav PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 26995
SEL 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SEL *Ltd Avail* 5 Cylinder FWD 28925
SEL 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SEL PZEV *Ltd Avail* 5 Cylinder FWD 28925
SEL Premium 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SEL Premium 5 Cylinder FWD 30425
SEL Premium 4dr Sedan 2.5L Auto SEL Premium PZEV 5 Cylinder FWD 30425
TDI SE 4dr Sedan 2.0L Manual TDI SE 4 Cylinder FWD 26225
TDI SE w/Sunroof 4dr Sedan 2.0L DSG TDI SE w/Sunroof 4 Cylinder FWD 28225
TDI SE w/Sunroof & Nav 4dr Sedan 2.0L DSG TDI SE w/Sunroof & Nav 4 Cylinder FWD 29885
TDI SEL Premium 4dr Sedan 2.0L DSG TDI SEL Premium 4 Cylinder FWD 32915
SE w/Sunroof 4dr Sedan 3.6L V6 DSG SE w/Sunroof V6 FWD 29235
SE w/Sunroof & Nav 4dr Sedan 3.6L V6 DSG SE w/Sunroof & Nav *Ltd Avail* V6 FWD 30895
SEL Premium 4dr Sedan 3.6L V6 DSG SEL Premium V6 FWD 33525

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