2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Review and Report

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COMPLETING THE PACKAGE

There are a few things that ultimately would have completed the Passat TDI package for me.  My Passat wish list would include HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps, parking lights (selectable for left side or right side, usually standard on German cars), and a trunk that doesn’t require a support stick.  In addition, with lesser cars offering optional safety features such as blind-spot detection and radar cruise control, I would like to see these options on the Passat as well.

Finally, the lack of a telematics solution that includes ACN (automatic collision notification) and SOS/emergency calling is a glaring omission but one that will apparently be addressed soon enough.  On November 1, Volkswagen Group of America signed an agreement with Hughes Telematics to provide such services starting in the 2013 model year.

BOTTOM LINE

While we haven’t seen the sales figures for December yet, we suspect that the Passat TDI will end up with at least 20% of total Passat sales for the half-year it’s been out.  Indeed, in its first two months, it captured 50% and in the first three months it captured one-third of Passat sales.  There was clearly some pent up demand for this diesel.

When looking at sales figures, it’s important to note that the starting price of the entry-level Passat is $19,995.  It comes with a 2.5-liter, 170-hp five-cylinder gasoline engine and numerous standard features including Bluetooth connectivity, automatic dual-zone climate control, and an eight-way manual driver’s seat.

The entry-level Passat TDI, on the other hand, starts at $25,995 and  is very well equipped with the VW touchscreen radio, a multifunction leather steering wheel, V-Tex seating, aluminum trim, and an eight-way power driver’s seat.

At the high end, the Passat TDI SEL Premium, with a sticker of $32,195, is comparably equipped to the Passat 3.6L SEL Premium, priced at $32,950.  Both come with leather comfort sport seats, keyless entry and start, a Fender audio system, wood trim, and an eight-way power passenger seat.

In this case, the bottom line for the equivalently-equipped diesel is $755 less than the petrol variant and, in addition to these savings, the buyer gets 35% better fuel economy (43 mpg/5.47 l/100 km versus 28 mpg/8.4 l/100 km) while giving up a mere 22 pound-feet of torque. While the V-6 has more horsepower (280 v. 140), it’s still a fair match.  While the V-6 will clearly be appreciably faster off the line, the TDI can go 800 miles (1,287 km) between fill-ups.


 

2012 Passat TDI SEL
Base price/price-as-tested $32,195/$32,965
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 2.0/turbocharged diesel inline 4
HP/Torque (pound-feet) 140 / 236
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight  (lbs) 3360
Wheelbase  (inches) 110.4
Length x width x height  (inches) 191.6 x 72.2 x 58.5
0-60 mph (seconds) 9.1
City/highway fuel economy (mpg)  31/43

 

 

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