Nuts & Bolts: 2015 Passat TDI SEL Premium
Bottom line: The Volkswagen Passat, diesel or gasoline, is a car to consider seriously when shopping for a midsize family sedan. It effectively hits all of the marks —safety, comfort, fit-and-finish quality, utility and fuel efficiency.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets good marks in all three. The car is highway-competent. It has guts climbing mountain roads.
Head-turning quotient: It seriously reminds me of a convent or priest’s rectory. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
Body style/layout: The Volkswagen Passat is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive, mid-size family car with four side doors and a traditional notch-back trunk. There are five gasoline models — S, Wolfsburg, Limited Edition. SE and SEL Premium. There are two diesel models — SE and SEL Premium.
Engine/transmission: The 2015 VW Passat TDI SEL Premium comes standard with a 2-liter, inline four-cylinder, 16-valve, direct-injection, common-rail diesel engine delivering a maximum 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.
Capacities: Seating is for five people. Trunk cargo capacity is 15.9 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons of required ultra-low sulfur diesel (15 parts sulfur per million) now available at many U.S. fueling stations.
Mileage: I averaged 42 miles per gallon in highway driving.
Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front/solid rear); four-wheel antilock brake protection; electronic traction and stability control; post-collision safety system; side-mounted and head air bags; and daytime running lights.
Pricing: The 2015 Passat TDI SEL Premium sedan with onboard navigation starts at $33,925 with a dealer’s invoice price of $32,534. Price as tested is $36,155 including $1,410 in options (mostly cosmetic trim such as special 18-inch diameter wheels) and an $820 factory-to-dealer shipment charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $34,509.
— Warren Brown