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2013 Volkswagen Passat Review

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat has pleasant handling and a spacious interior, but its low reliability rating and above-average ownership costs drop it to the bottom of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy, upscale interior
  • Large trunk
  • Poised ride and handling
  • Pokey navigation system
  • Higher-than-average ownership costs




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Volkswagen Passat Overview

Is the 2013 Volkswagen Passat a Good Used Car?

A used 2013 VW Passat isn’t a great midsize car. While it offers airy seating space and refined handling, the Passat can’t match the reliability of top-rated competitors like the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata. The Passat also has a sluggish infotainment system that may ward shoppers away from the better-equipped trims.

It’s also worth noting that Passat TDI models are affected by VW’s diesel emissions scandal and will require modifications to meet EPA standards. Shoppers looking for used TDI models should be cautious, since these updates may alter performance or fuel economy. Modifications are available for automatic-equipped models, but no fixes were available as of this writing for manual transmission models.

Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat Performance and Interior

The Passat offers three engine options. The Passat 2.5L has a five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and a six-speed automatic is available. The engine provides adequate pep around town and decent passing power. Fuel economy is average by class standards, at 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

The Passat TDI has a turbodiesel four-cylinder engine with 140 horsepower, and the Passat 3.6L has a V6 with 280 horsepower. Both feel more refined and provide zippier acceleration, but the V6 sinks fuel economy to just 20/28 mpg city/highway. On the other hand, the diesel gets an excellent 30/40 mpg. The TDI is available with a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed dual-clutch automatic. V6-powered Passats only come with the automatic. This dual-clutch transmission changes gear smoothly, but it can occasionally hesitate in stop-and-go driving.

The Passat strikes a great balance between ride comfort and handling. Its suspension glides over bumps and dips comfortably, while also keeping the sedan stable around tight turns. The steering responds briskly to inputs as well. However, the brake pedal feels a little vague.

Read more about Passat performance »

The Volkswagen Passat seats five and has generous interior space. The front seats provide lots of head- and legroom, and finding a nice driving position is easy thanks to simple steering-wheel and seat adjustments. That said, thigh and lumbar support could be better. The rear seats are quite roomy as well, and even taller passengers will find ample room to stretch out. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. The Passat has 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is good for the class. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split to accommodate larger items.

The Passat’s interior remains quiet, even at highway speeds. Its dashboard design and materials look upscale as well, though there are a number of hard plastics. All Passat models come with a CD player and Bluetooth. Available features include a touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, and an excellent Fender sound system. The audio and climate controls are nicely arranged and user friendly. The available touch-screen infotainment systems are also simple to use, but the navigation functions tend to be sluggish.

Read more about Passat interior »

Used 2013 Volkswagen Passat Prices

The price of a used 2013 VW Passat ranges from about $8,500 for a 2.5L S model to $15,000 for a TDI SEL Premium model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »
We Did the Research for You: 38 Reviews Analyzed

This overview includes fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test scores, and much more. We've also researched 38 Volkswagen Passat reviews to help you decide if the 2013 Passat is the right car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Volkswagen Passat?

The VW Passat has a below-average reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about reliability »

How Safe Is the Passat?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Passat a 2013 Top Safety Pick+. The sedan scored  the highest rating of Good in four out of five areas tested. It also received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for small overlap front crash safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Volkswagen a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side impact safety. The Passat received four stars for rollover safety.

The Passat lacks active safety features that are common among rivals, such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. A rearview camera is standard on SEL and SEL Premium trims.

See Passat safety scores »

Is the 2013 Passat the Best Model Year to Buy?

Volkswagen redesigned the Passat for 2012. The only major change for 2013 was the addition of a rearview camera. If you can do without the camera, you can save money by getting a 2012 models instead. The updates for 2014 were more significant. In mid-2014, VW replaced the 2.5L model’s engine with a more fuel-efficient and zippier four-cylinder. This model became known as 1.8T, and it’s a better option.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Passat »

Which Used Volkswagen Passat Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Passat comes in four trims: S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. Each is available with different engine options (2.5L, TDI, and V6), which are noted in parenthesis. The Volkswagen Passat S (2.5L) has Bluetooth, a CD player, auxiliary input, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, and remote keyless entry.

The SE (2.5L, TDI, and V6) adds a 6.5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and alloy wheels. The SE trim is also available with a sunroof and a 5-inch touch-screen navigation system. The Passat SEL (2.5L) brings in dual-zone climate control, Fender speakers, and a 6.5-inch touch screen with navigation and a rearview camera. The Passat SEL Premium (2.5L, TDI, and V6) adds leather seats, keyless entry with push-button start, and remote start.

Considering the Passat’s below-average reliability rating, you may want to buy a certified pre-owned model. Volkswagen provides a two-year/24,000-mile limited warranty on all of its certified pre-owned vehicles. Each CPO Volkswagen must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

2013 Volkswagen Passat and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Volkswagen Passat or 2013 Volkswagen Jetta?

Both the Volkswagen Jetta (a compact car) and midsize Passat have sleek styling and balanced handling. The Jetta’s cabin materials feel a bit lower quality than those in the Passat. Then again, used Jetta models are often less expensive. Neither are great used car options though, due in part to their low reliability ratings.

Which Is Better: 2013 Volkswagen Passat or 2013 Volkswagen CC?

The Volkswagen CC is a luxury midsize sedan that offers a few conveniences that the Passat doesn’t, like massaging seats and available all-wheel drive. Used models are typically a bit pricier as well. Still, neither of these Volkswagens are top used car picks in their respective classes.

Compare the Jetta, Passat, and CC »

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