2017 VW Passat 1.8T – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2017 VW Passat – 5 Things We Loved About It

Volkswagen gets a lot of grief from people due to the diesel-emissions scandal and narrow views of them being only a diesel-engine focused company, but lost in this hatred is the fact they do build some pretty great non-diesel cars. For example, a week behind the wheel of the 2017 VW Passat reveals it is pretty dang good with lots of smart engineering. Here is what we loved about it.

Before we get to the things we loved, we should back up and say our test model was a SE model with the technology package. This is middle of the road trim and the technology package gave us a slew of safety features like a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, etc…

What’s most interesting about the car is how it didn’t impress us at first. For example, driving it around with the 1.8L turbo-charged four-cylinder mated an automatic transmission didn’t blow us away. The powertrain produces a respectable 170 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque and returns a modest 23/34/27 city/highway/combined.

As we really started spending time with the car, we just found more to like about it. For example, the driving dynamics started standing out. Other makers tend to build a mundane driving experience not VW. Nope, they put the same driving experience found in their hot hatch VW Golf GTI into the Passat. The result is a much sportier feeling sedan than one would assume. A nice surprise really.

One day, we popped the hood to discover VW engineers had done what other OEM engineers seem to fail to do – think about the customer. FINALLY! VW engineers put both the dip stick and windshield fluid filler conveniently all in one spot and even (GASP!) made the dip stick easy to get to! Other car makers should take note.

What’s the worst thing about a car? The performance? The Radio? Nope. Getting in and out of some cars can be maddeningly irritating. Oh ho! VW Engineers made the Passat doors open wide and entry/exit is a synch. Where other cars require you can actively practice some sort of gymnastics, this car is so easy your walker-using grandmother could use it.

Next you know how SUVs sales are crazy right now because of all the great storage they provide? Yeah, well the Passat has it covered here as well. I literally fit my golf clubs in the trunk the same way I can in an SUV. This was really surprising and there aren’t many cars out there you can do that.

This extra cargo space didn’t diminish the rear seat leg room though. With the rear USB chargers and the 6’ foot and taller leg room, the rear seats are anything but compromised. Instead, it is much better than at first glance.

Ultimately, the 2017 VW Passat was nothing like we assumed it would be – boring to drive, lack luster storage and hard to enter/exit. It is the exact opposite of those things and it is wildly better than other cars on the market. Coming in at just $28,815, it might be the best sedan for the money.


VW Passat