2009 Volkswagen Passat Expert Review

You'll Like The 2009 Volkswagen Passat If...

Combine the cargo versatility of a mid-size SUV with the driving dynamics and fuel economy of a mid-size sedan, build it with premium-like features and materials, and you've got a vehicle with an undeniable rational appeal.

You May Not Like The 2009 Volkswagen Passat If...

For those who think the premium-like Passat is a little pricey, there are more affordable choices such as the Subaru Legacy, Toyota Venza or even the Honda CR-V.

What's New

The Passat Wagon is reduced to a single trim, engine and transmission. Gone from the lineup are the manual transmission, V6 engine and 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. Heated washer nozzles, 17-inch alloy wheels, power-operated rear hatch and a power sunroof are now standard.

Interior Features

Inside the Passat Wagon's refined passenger cabin you'll find a combination of quality materials and dynamic design that's at once both relaxing and invigorating. Interior trim includes metal accents on the dash and doors, and standard leatherette seating provides an upscale feel. Neat features include an electronic key and electronic push-button parking brake, plus a cleverly placed umbrella holder and two cooled storage compartments. A 60/40-split seatback functionally extends the Passat Wagon's deep but narrow cargo area.

Exterior Features

As is the case with so many Volkswagen models nowadays, the Passat Wagon has grown in size, making it the largest wagon in Volkswagen's fleet. The Wagon shares its distinctive face and some sheetmetal with the Sedan, but the design is cohesive enough that it in no way comes across as an afterthought. Standard roof rails are a wagon exclusive, while mirror-integrated turn signals are a nice touch. Wheel options range from standard 17-inch alloys to available 18-inch wheels. The big VW badge placed prominently on the back doubles as the rear hatch release, and the opening height of the power operated tailgate can set via the remote key fob.

Driving Impressions

If you appreciate the nuances that define the driving characteristics of a European sedan, you'll enjoy working the controls of the Passat Wagon. We were especially impressed by the 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's more responsive than traditional turbocharged engines. The six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is very good and features an unexpectedly aggressive sport mode. As is characteristic of European vehicles in general, the Passat Wagon remains stable, predictable and confident at high speeds. While the Passat Wagon very accurately mimics a premium vehicle on many levels, it often isn't quite as quiet or smooth.

Pricing Notes

The Passat Wagon's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $30,000 and with all the options tops out around $35,000. Overall, the Passat Wagon comes in at a few thousand dollars more than the new Toyota Venza and Subaru Outback, but a few thousand below the Audi A4 Avant and Volvo V70. To see the typical transaction price paid for the Passat in your area, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price. In terms of resale value, we expect the 2009 Passat Wagon to perform on par with each of the alternatives listed here.

Notable Equipment

The Passat Wagon's impressive list of standard equipment includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, AM/FM/CD-MP3 sound system, V-Tex (imitation leather) seating, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, cooled storage bins, trip computer, electronic key, electronic push-button parking brake, a power glass sunroof, heated front seats, power-operated tailgate, heated washer nozzles, 12-way power driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic stability and traction controls and six standard airbags, including two-row side-curtain airbags.

Notable Options

The Passat Wagon's optional equipment list is a short one. Heading the list is the new 30-gigabyte hard drive navigation audio unit, which can store up to 20-gigabytes of music or photos and also play DVD's when the vehicle is in park. Also available are 18-inch wheels, and iPod adapter and rear side-impact airbags.

Favorite Features

Hard Drive Navigation
With 20 of its 30 gigabytes dedicated to music storage, the excellent navigation radio lets you transfer all your music directly into the system, negating the need to carry around CDs. The system also features DVD playback when the vehicle is in park.

Power-Operated Tailgate Hatch
The Passat's rear tailgate hatch can be opened with a press of the key fob. To make closing the tailgate easier, the height to which it opens can be preset by the operator.

Under the Hood

We love that the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo provides plenty of power along with highway fuel economy close to 30 miles per gallon. The engine feels like a V6, with no noticeable turbo lag or shortage of power, even at highway speeds. Zero-to-60 miles per hour times clock in around 7.4 seconds, according to Volkswagen.

2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

The 2009 Volkswagen Passat Wagon is the more versatile version of the Passat Sedan. Unlike the Sedan, which competes against such benchmarks as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Passat Wagon has few (if any) direct competitors. At roughly $30,000, the Passat Wagon undercuts the price of similarly sized wagons from BMW, Volvo and Audi, which is exactly the marketing angle Volkswagen is hoping penny-wise consumers will pick up. The interior is a cut or two above that of any comparably equipped wagon in its price range and its handling characteristics are completely European sedan-like. Whether you're looking for a versatile sedan substitute or a more efficient, more enthusiastic SUV replacement, the Passat Wagon won't disappoint.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • 2009 Volkswagen Passat Startup and brief tour
  • 2009 Volkswagen Passat CC Review by Ron Doron
  • Tour our 2009 VW Passat 2.0 Turbo with Navigation
  • 2009 VW Passat Komfort CPO (stk# P2518 ) for sale at Trend Motors Volkswagen in Rockaway, NJ
  • Volkswagen Passat Reliability and Problems (B6)
  • Volkswagen Passat Review

Owner Reviews


21 Reviews

38% 33% 14% 10% 5%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

Volkswagen Passat review. This vehicle appears on the outside to look high end.

It is broken down several times in the five years I have had it. I bought it used. The engine failed and without having a warranty it would've cost $9000 dollars to replace and the vehicle used only cost $11, 000. It does not get good gas mileage and the air-conditioner does not work well. I would not recommend this car.

- Ashley H

don't buy this car, it'll give you more problems than good.

Always something to fix every couple months. The maintenance is pretty expensive given its in the shop 4-6 times a year with some type of issue. I've had my engine that's needed to be repaired to my electric control panel that been shot. The windshield has leaked before leaving my car with a terrible smell.

- Andrew G

She is plain but, quite peppy.

Great car for the price. Plenty of pep. Does not have Bluetooth connectivity which would be an added benefit. Having issues with the transmission cooling line leaking. Also, has a recall on something to do with the fuel pump. Other than that, we are satisfied with the overall performance of the vehicle.

- Amy E