2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

The Volkswagen Passat is tried and true. Although it’s refreshed for 2020, it’s still much the same sedan as it was in 2012 when it was last redesigned. While the Passat is still a zippy, roomy, and comfortable midsize sedan, it faces increasing competition from many new and updated rivals.

Base Price: $28,645
As Tested: $29,960
Horsepower: 174
Mileage: 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway/27 mpg combined

The five-passenger Passat comes in four trims: S, SE, R-Line and SEL. Starting prices range from $22,995 to $31,095. Front-wheel-drive is standard. All-wheel-drive is not available.

The Passat is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that makes 174 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. This is 22 pound-feet more than the 2019 model and it gives the Passat more pep. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

There’s enough power for everyday driving situations. The turbo provides some zip off the line and when passing and merging at freeway speeds. The transmission can be a tad slow, especially when going to a lower gear. The ride is mostly smooth, and engine and wind noise are barely noticeable.

Fuel efficiency is below average for a midsize sedan. EPA ratings for my tester are 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway for a combined rating of 27. I got 27 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

The Passat has one of the most spacious cabins among midsize sedans. Even taller adults will have plenty of leg- and headroom in both rows. The backseat in particular is very roomy and easily fits three kids for those family road trips. Seats in both rows are comfy and supportive.

Unfortunately, some of the materials in the cabin aren’t as nice as what you’ll find in competitors. There’s a fair amount of hard plastics and the interior looks rather dull. The cockpit looks old school with its analog gauges, small 6.3-inch touchscreen and old-fashioned dials for climate controls.

Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth seating, 6.3-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Mirror Link.

Standard driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, and pedestrian detection.

Available features include keyless access, remote start, synthetic leather upholstery, genuine leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, eight-speaker Fender premium audio system, navigation, two additional USB ports, Wi-Fi hot spot, and sunroof.

Available driver assistance technologies include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic parallel parking.

The infotainment system could use upgrading. Its tiny 6.3-inch screen with plain graphics looks very dated As I remarked during my week-long test drive, 2010 called and wants the infotainment system back!

The Passat has 15.9 cubic feet of space in the trunk. That’s more than many rivals. A hands-free trunk lid is available.

The good:

Strong acceleration and peppy handling

Comfortable, quiet and roomy cabin

Large trunk

Lower MSRP than many midsize sedans

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Many rivals have better fuel economy

Many features are getting dated

Interior not as nice as some rivals

Some features and tech are only available on top trims

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $28,645. The Aurora Red metallic exterior is $395. Destination charge is $920 bringing the grand total to $29,960.

Bottom line:

The Volkswagen Passat gets some needed updates for 2020 but still feels long in the tooth when compared to other midsize sedans. Still it offers peppy handling and a roomy, comfortable cabin which makes it worth a look if you’re shopping for a family sedan.

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