Although no longer available with a V6 engine, the 2010 Volkswagen Passat's capable handling dynamics and lively turbocharged four-cylinder still offer plenty of appeal. In addition to a well-balanced combination of ride comfort and handling performance, the new Passat boasts an upscale cabin, good gas mileage and a versatile wagon version.
And new for 2010, the Passat gets VW's highly-praised DSG dual-clutch automated manual (in place of the previous conventional automatic transmission) which provides rival-topping quick and smooth shifts. Also new is a multifunction steering wheel, standard Bluetooth connectivity, a new radio and optional 18 inch wheels.
Competing against rivals with more powerful V6 engines, the Passat still impresses with its own strong attributes. Its autobahn-heritage offers a well-tuned suspension that manages to score very high grades across three key driving traits. The handling is precise and reassuring, the ride is comfortable and composed, and long distance highway cruising is quiet and easy to take.
Another strong suit of the 2010 Passat is an attractive and high-quality interior, arguably the best in its class. And the versatile yet agile wagon offers a fairly rare alternative nowadays to larger SUVs.
The 2010 VW Passat is offered as a midsize sedan or wagon, both in Komfort trim only.
Standard features on the sedan include full power accessories, air conditioning, a sunroof, leatherette vinyl upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a power driver seat, heated windshield washer nozzles, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, heated front seats, Bluetooth and an 8-speaker audio system with a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Standard features on the Passat wagon are the same, plus chrome roof rails.
Available optional features include a touchscreen navigation system (with 20GB of digital music storage, an iPod interface and a USB port), several exterior appearance packages for the sedan, 18 inch alloy wheels and an iPod adapter replacing the auxiliary jack.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
The 2010 Passat is a front-wheel drive vehicle powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transmission (DSG).
This setup provides plenty of low end torque and the 0 to 60 mph time is expected in a very respectable mid-7-second range. While this is a tad slower than V6 rivals, most buyers will likely be very pleased with its combination of brisk acceleration while still netting solid fuel economy results.
Even with its peppy performance, the EPA-estimated gas mileage for the new Passat is still very good, coming in at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg on the highway for both the sedan and wagon.
Standard safety features include stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints. In addition, rear-seat side airbags are available as an option.
In government crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2010 Volkswagen Passat received four out of five stars for front occupant protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact testing, the Passat earned five stars for front passenger protection and four stars for rear passengers.
The VW Passat's cabin is one of its strongest selling points. It's upscale, well-designed and solidly constructed with high-grade materials. The overall ambience is one of comfort and luxury, looking and feeling more like an entry-level luxury sedan than a family sedan. Even its leatherette vinyl upholstery is better than the real thing in many cars.
Trunk storage for the sedan comes in at 14.2 cubic feet, about average for segment. The wagon, however, provides 35.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seats up, and a huge 72.6 cubes when they're folded down, pretty much equivalent to small SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.
The 2010 Passat is tuned to emphasize comfort, but still offers a high degree of athleticism and handling confidence as well. The steering is light but still responsive and precise, while the four-cylinder turbo provides more than enough power for most driving circumstances. The turbo also provides a great sound befitting its fiesty temperment.
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2010 Volkswagen Passat:
Komfort Sedan, FWD: list price: $27,195, invoice price: $25,412
Komfort Wagon, FWD: list price: $28,755, invoice price: $26,861