4.1 Overall Score
Performance 4.5 Comfort 4.2 Styling 4.3 Value 3.7

Editor's Overview

After a thorough refresh last year, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat gets more minor updates. To keep things fresh and competitive, Passat R-Line and SE models with the Technology package get a significant upgrade in equipment. It all combines to make a good car even more compelling, thanks to its best-in-class rear seat, excellent driving dynamics, and unmistakably German driving character.

You'll Like The 2017 Volkswagen Passat If...

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat offers classically subdued German styling and driving manners to match, a huge back seat, and a host of safety and technology upgrades. It also offers a price that's easily competitive with the rest of the class.

You May Not Like The 2017 Volkswagen Passat If...

Sadly, long-term reliability and resale value are not among the Volkswagen Passat's strengths, at least not when compared to the class-leading Accord and Camry. If you're a long-term cost-to-own shopper, then you might want to head to a different dealer.

What's New

Compared to last year, changes for the 2017 Volkswagen Passat are minor. The Passat R-Line and SE with the Technology package get more equipment, and Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking are now standard across the board.

Interior Features

If you carpool with a large group, be prepared to pull a double shift in the 2017 Passat. The big rear seat is comfortable not just for regular-size adults, but even if your commute occasionally includes an NBA player. The interior also benefits from last year's upgrades, including a redesigned gauge cluster, enhanced details, improved materials and a much-needed tech upgrade. Volkswagen finally offers a standard USB port for the Passat, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. If your Passat includes the Car-Net system, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a variety of advanced services.

Exterior Features

Nothing about the 2017 VW Passat could be considered "bold," but changes made last year certainly move the needle a bit in that direction. The slimmer headlights, sculpted hood, and more aggressive grille all stand out. Opt for the Passat R-Line and you get unique front- and rear-end treatments, dark-colored 19-inch alloy wheels and more. We particularly like the available smart trunk; if you have the key on you and wave your foot under the bumper, the trunk pops open. Okay, it's not a feature unique to Volkswagen, but it's still nice to have.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to the drivetrain and suspension, Volkswagen wisely left well enough alone when it refreshed the Passat last year. Why? Because it was already one of the best-driving midsize sedans you could buy. Its sophisticated highway ride is simultaneously comfortable and connected, no small trick. Yet the Passat is also playful, and when the situation calls for it this Volkswagen shows an athletic side that's uncommon for this class. The standard 1.8-liter 4-cylinder offers excellent power, providing lively acceleration from a dead stop or when you're at speed. The downside is that in stop-and-go city driving, power delivery from the 1.8T isn't particularly smooth. The available V6 is definitely better in that regard, but the added expense and weight -- not to mention the sometimes-balky dual-clutch automatic transmission it's paired with -- aren't really worth the gains.

Pricing Notes

The bare-bones 2017 Volkswagen Passat has a reasonable Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $23,300 including the $820 destination charge. However, we suggest starting at least at the mid-level R-Line model, which gets you more standard equipment for a bit less than $25,000. SE models start around $26,300, and a leather-clad SEL starts at $31,800. The V6-powered Passat SE and SEL are about $30,100 and just under $35,000, respectively; add options to the top-line model and you're well past the $37,000 mark by the time you're done. On a features-per-dollar scale, the Passat costs more than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Passat's weak reliability record contributes to lower resale values and higher long-term ownership costs, an unfortunate trade-off to one of the most affordable new European sedans money can buy. Make sure to check the Passat's current Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com before heading off to make your deal.

Notable Equipment

New on the standard-equipment list for the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S -- the least expensive model -- is Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, both important safety features that are still optional even on many luxury cars. It joins a long list of standard equipment that also includes a 170-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights, infotainment system with 5-inch display, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, rearview camera, 60/40-split-folding rear seat, cloth seats and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.

Notable Options

Buy a higher trim, get more stuff: that's the way the 2017 VW Passat options list generally works. Available when you move to the SE is V-Tex faux-leather, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and an available V6 engine. The R-Line adds a sporty appearance package. The SEL is the full-boat model, with a moonroof, leather seats, premium audio and other traditional upgrades. There are also luxuries such as the radar-based smart cruise control and semi-automatic parallel parking, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on any Passat equipped with the VW Car-Net system.

Favorite Features

APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO

Volkswagen for years has lagged behind its competitors when it comes to infotainment options. Thankfully, those days appear to be over with the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in 2017 Passat models with VW Car-Net App-Connect, making it easy to integrate your smartphone into your car's infotainment system.

ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise control is great, until someone slow pulls in front of you and you have to hit the brakes. Radar-based "smart" cruise control systems like the one available in the 2017 Passat take the hassle out, automatically slowing down in slower traffic, and speeding up again when it's clear.

Under the Hood

Diesels are gone for now (maybe forever), but the two remaining powerplants are solid. There's the popular 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, mated here to a 6-speed automatic transmission. With underbody aerodynamic improvements and a couple mechanical tweaks, this combination delivers 34 mpg on the highway, a solid showing in this class. If you need more power, there are 280 horses under the hood with the 3.6-liter V6 engine. It's mated to a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, both of which combine to deliver even more European feel. All Passats are front-wheel drive. Some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy numbers this year, due to changes in EPA testing.

1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4

170 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm

EPA city/highway 23/34 mpg

3.6-liter V6 engine

280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm

EPA city/highway 20/28 mpg Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

Editors' Notes

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat is the only European alternative to the plethora of American, Japanese and Korean cars in the ever-popular midsize-sedan market. It's also one of the most enjoyable to drive, with confidence-inspiring driving dynamics at any speed that makes for a satisfying and relaxing driving experience. But despite its Germanic heritage, this particular Passat is built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was designed for North American tastes and preferences. So it's roomy, practical and priced competitively against its more mainstream competitors like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Last year, the Passat got a thorough refresh; this year, the 2017 Passat gets more minor updates designed to keep it competitive with the best in class, without losing its unique character.

Road Test Video Reviews

2017 Volkswagen Passat Owner Reviews

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VW Passat - luxury car without the luxury price tag.

2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL Premium

I am so happy with my Passat! I've had another car from the VW group before (a Skoda, which is a European brand), and I was happy with that, but this is MUCH better to drive. It feels secure on the road, even in the heavy thunderstorms we get in NC, and is great on the Highway at 70 mph; but is also comfortable around town. For me, the extra features that come with the vehicle add to the ease and pleasure of driving - collision detection, parking sensors, blind spot sensors and mirrors that adjust inwards when parked; satellite radio, fender speakers, air con for the rear seats, electric seats which memorize different seat positions. Generous trunk space and folding rear seats mean there's plenty of space for luggage (handy when collecting parents from the airport). On top of that, the customer service from our VW dealer was first class, with a 2 year warranty that we extended to 5 years for a very reasonable price. So, would I recommend this vehicle to others? Yes - without hesitation.

- Paul D

Great full size sedan that looks high end.

2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE w/Technology

I love how much space the trunk has, I can get all my kids sports stuff in there without an issue. I love the sleekness of the car, it is visually appealing and reminds me of the audit. I love the reliability and the way it drives. I do not like the fact that I have to get new brakes and rotors on it when it only has 24k miles on it and we're not driving the car hard or rough. I dislike the auto braking system a lot, I feel like it does it unnecessarily and I really dislike that feature and it leads me to believe that could be why the brakes and rotors are having problems so soon. The back seat has tons of legroom which I love cause nobody like to be cramped when they ride in the backseat. The navigation is a little unreliable as well and sometimes that really bothers me. For the most part I really love the passat but I loved my tdi passat I had years ago more than I like this one to be honest.

- Stacey D

This is a perfect vehicle for a family.

2017 Volkswagen Passat

Since we have had this car I have only had one problem. The a/c plug wasn't hooked up from the factory so every time I ran the a/c the water wouldn't drain which caused the carpet to flood and mold. Once I found out what the problem was Volkswagen immediately fixed the drain and replaced the carpet no questions asked. I love driving this car. It is super comfortable and spacious. This car is my daily driver because it does so well on gas. I am having a baby and this car will be the baby mobile. There is enough room for me to put him and all his toys, books, pack and play, stroller, and much more. I plan on having this car for a long time. I keep it really clean and well maintained. I was used to driving trucks and Jeeps before I had this, now I love driving the Passat. We got a really good deal from the dealership and I have no regrets.

- Alexandria N

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