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2010 Volkswagen Passat Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Volkswagen Passat was new.


Performance: 8.0

The 2010 Volkswagen Passat impresses many reviewers with its prowess on winding roads. Though the Passat comes with only one engine for 2010, its 200 horsepower make it unusually powerful for a four-cylinder. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Triptronic shift controls, for those who want the capabilities of a manual at times. This combination earns an EPA rating of 19/29 mpg.

  • "The Passat makes for one of the most entertaining rides in the midsize segment." -- Edmunds
  • "As is characteristic of European sedans in general, the Passat behaves with stability and predictability from low to high speeds. Perhaps most significantly, the Passat is wholly successful in being exactly the car it wants to be." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Volkswagen has decided that what buyers want for 2010 is not high-performance models. It has dropped several of the more-athletic trim levels from the Passat lineup. What we have instead is a single powertrain combination - a remarkably strong four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. 

  • "The 2.0-liter turbo with the automatic is a quick combination: We clocked a Passat sedan at 7.7 seconds to 60 mph." -- Edmunds
  • "The zippy power came on in a strong, steady fashion when I wanted to get around slower cars or merge safely into traffic. The car felt fun and sprightly at times." -- MSN
  • "The turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is likely to satisfy most buyers. It is sprightly from a stop and is impressive in midrange and highway passing. It depends on a blend of turbo boost and transmission downshifts for best response, however." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While the 2.0-liter turbo is arguably the automaker's best all-around engine in terms of bang for the buck, for obvious reasons it doesn't feel as quick in the Passat as it does in smaller models." -- Forbes

Handling and Braking

Despite the loss of faster V6 models, reviewers still like the performance of the Passat because of its balanced handling. A few note, however, that though the suspension makes the car fun to drive, it transmits a lot of road noise into the cabin.

  • "The steering is firm, accurate, and nicely weighted. Straightline tracking is confident at highway speed. Good cornering grip and balance. ... The ride is firm in the European tradition, with the entire car reacting as a unit to bumps." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Providing a stable platform for the powertrain is a beautifully balanced chassis, optimized by a multi-link rear suspension that delivers a new level of handling control." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The fully-independent suspension (McPherson concept up front, multi-link in rear) provided safe, secure cornering but we noted that road rumble was very audible on poor surfaces." -- About.com
  • There was "a level of road noise, and harshness to go with it, that's not acceptable in a car with a premium price." -- Car and Driver

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