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2013 Volkswagen Passat Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: 2013 Passat TDI SE 6MT by 1998redwagon

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Introduction

thoughts and comments after 4500 miles of driving and countless hours of reading up on the vehicle.

Reviewed: 2013 Volkswagen Passat

4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel 6-speed manual FWD

Why the 2013 Volkswagen Passat?

Powertrain performance

not so much powertrain performance but powertrain choices, esp the fact that that car comes in a manual transmission. unusual for a midsize car others makes/models with a manual would be ford fusion, mazda 6, honda accord (that i know of)

Fuel economy

really exceedes my expectations. based on what i read and the fact that i do 95% hwy driving i expected to exceed the epa estimate of 43 mpg. in reality i can obtain upwards of 54mpg (computer) or ~51 mpg (corrected) on rural highways (62mph) and 47mpg on interstates (75mph) without a problem. that is in the neighborhood of a 10-20% improvement ABOVE epa estimates. simply amazing.

Color choices

there is not much for color choices out there - lots of grey, and silver colors, the requisite black and white, this car also comes with the obilgatory blue and red. to top it off most everything has a black interior. too hot in summer and quite boring, on a large car black seems very depressing. this car comes with a silver exterior and tan interior with i found attractive and livened up the cabin. hence tungsten/cornsilk.

Rear seat room & comfort

rear seat room is exceptional. can handle long-legged folks with ease and those with large shoe sizes. enter and exiting with larger folks not a problem either.

Discounts & incentives

with a young adult set to get his license in ~1 years time we were going to need another vehicle, but did not necessarily need one right away. however the opportunity to get a new car with $0 down, 0.0% financing for 60 months and still make your best deal with the dealer was too good to pass up.

Why Not the 2013 Volkswagen Passat?

Driving position & visibility

finding a comfortable driving position has taken some time. some cars it comes quickly and others it never comes. after about 3 weeks i have found a position i am comfortable with. it could still use some improvment; for example i wish the steering wheel telescoped another 2 inches, and i absolutely hate the 3 spoke steering wheel b/c i cannot rest my hand at the 6 oclock position. the steering wheel is the most annoying, a 2 spoke wheel or a 4 spoke wheel would be preferred.

Quietness

yes, it does have some wind noise from what i think are the mirrors but the radio does a good job of masking it. i do notice that on good quality roads (smooth asphalt) it is quiet but once the road surface goes bad, i.e. older asphalt, grooved pavement or concrete w/expansion joints the noise level goes up considerably.

Handling

this car is a highway cruiser not a turn carver. for me taking turns at speed results in understeer, i.e. the car has a tendency to go wide on the turns. i am still learning how to approach turns in this car and i do not know if it is the suspension and/or the steering (electronic) that requires slower speeds. i do know that in my old vehicle (1998 passat wagon) turns i can take at 50mph i cannot do easily in the 2013 passat sedan.

Feature availability

i know i am swimming against the tide here but i really wish this car came in a wagon. i would have found the combination of a diesel manual wagon too good to be true (cue the snickers and the jokes about diesel manual brown wagons) but other than improving the driving position that would have been the single best change that could have been made - for me. yes, i know the jetta sportwagen was an option but it is really a golf and it is smaller than my 1998 passat wagon for rear seat passengers and cargo area. that was not an option for my kids who are tall (~6'), young (14 and under) and still growing. so me and 5 other people in north america would have wanted a passat wagon.

Towing

combination of towing and roof racks. with the diesel you have an adblue tank. essentially a urea mixture that helps keep the particulate matter of the diesel down around zero. the problem is that the positioning of the adblue tank makes mounting a tow hitch very difficult. perhaps that is a non-issue because vw says no towing allowed for the passat. (wtf?) would love to mount a tow hitch to carry a bike rack or do some lightweight towing ~600-800 lbs total - and may do it when the warranty period is expired. vw also says no to roof racks. (again, wtf?) seriously with a laser welded frame, including the roof, and b pillars that are largest in its class i cannot imagine why roof racks are not acceptable. again once out of warranty i will consider adding a roof rack as one of my kids ski jumps and he is on 240cm skis. those do not fit easily inside a car. i will watch various passat forums to see if others have issues with lightweight towing or roof racks before i add them but i cannot forsee a difficulty.

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