2014 Volkswagen Passat: A German Driving Experience In a Very American Sedan [Review]

2014 Volkswagen Passat Profile

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat blends the presence of a traditional American sedan with a German driving experience to create a solid family sedan.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium $30,895 $30,895 170/184
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: BUY IT! 24 /34 Combined 28 27.4 Combined

It’s only been a few years since the Passat got a major overhaul designed to make it a true mid-size sedan for the American car market. Not only does its design reflect that goal, but its place of manufacture in Chattanooga, Tennessee reinforces the idea.

2014 Volkswagen Passat

Looking at the 2014 Volkswagen Passat there’s something of a German aesthetic with clean lines and no fussy trims, but it doesn’t look in the least European. It makes a play to fit in with its competitors like the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima and it does this by blending in rather than standing out. Perhaps it blends in too much.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Rear

The interior adheres to the same clean design principle without any glitz or flash and a simplicity that hearkens back to a time before infotainment ruled the dashboard. Base models come with cloth seats but the SEL Premium as tested comes with Leather-Trimmed Comfort Sport Seats that look and feel good with supportive yet not confining bolstering.

This sedan really shines when you start looking at how much space it’s got both for passengers and for cargo. There’s 15.9 cubic feet of space in the trunk with a wide opening to make it easier to load. This beats the Honda Accord and is a big plus for those trying to cart along a family’s daily baggage.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Interior

The front seat is spacious with plenty of shoulder room and will comfortably accommodate even tall adults. All controls are within easy reach of both driver and passenger with a compact dashboard that makes the space feel even larger. There’s also plenty of storage including a little bin right in front of the shift that’s ideal for holding the Passat’s large keyfob, your cellphone, and whatever random bits you’ve got stuffed in your pockets when you get into the car. Though very comfortable and spacious, there is a lot of road and wind noise which detracts from passenger comfort.

Those in the back are going to feel like they’re traveling in a full-size sedan, which is very nearly the case as it offers more space than you’ll find in any other mid-size sedan. It works out to 42.4″ of rear legroom so even the six-foot plus crowd will have plenty of room to stretch out. There’s easily room for three rear passengers, but if you’ve only got two then they can take advantage of the cupholders in the center armrest.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Front

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium is equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged, direct injection 4-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. This is where you’ll remember you’re not driving an American car, but a peppy German sedan. It’s lively and responsive with that torque coming in low to provide plenty of zip during acceleration from a dead stop or at highway speeds.

Add in handling that’s better than most mid-size sedans with electro-mechanical power steering that is responsive and well-weighted with a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel that adds solidity to the drive, easily managing bumps and dips. It’s a standout on highway driving where even a longer trip won’t leave a driver feeling fatigued, but relaxed and in control. Its ride is almost as good as the Ford Fusion’s, but other mid-size sedans easily fall behind.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Badge

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium has the looks and styling of an American car, but manages the nifty trick of hiding a spirited German sedan beneath that tame exterior.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium a Buy It!

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.