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2016 Volkswagen Passat Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Passat offers an accommodating interior and a potent available V6 engine. However, it falls short of rivals that offer higher reliability ratings, better handling, and glitzier tech features.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior
  • Powerful available V6 engine
  • Not as nimble as rivals
  • Navigation system slow to respond
  • Low reliability rating

New for 2016

  • Standard infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available
  • More available driver assistance features




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volkswagen Passat Overview

Is the 2016 Volkswagen Passat a Good Used Car?

While the Passat is spacious and comfortable, it lacks the engaging driving dynamics and refined infotainment systems that midsize cars from other brands deliver.

Why You Can Trust Us

To help you decide if the VW Passat is the right car for you, we've gathered and analyzed 58 professional reviews. We've also included information about the Passat's fuel economy, safety, and much more to give you an idea of the Passat's strengths and weaknesses.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking the best vehicles since 2007, and our editorial staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To keep our reviews impartial, we don't accept expensive trips or gifts from car companies, and an external partner places and sells the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Volkswagen Passat?

The average list price of a used 2016 VW Passat is $15,800, according to the nearly 800 listings on our site. Some models cost as little as $12,700 while others list for $20,000. Vehicle condition, mileage, and location can all affect price.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Volkswagen Passat Cost to Own?

You can expect to pay around $22,600 over five years on fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for a 2016 Passat. That comes out to around $4,500 per year. That's similar to what you'd pay while owning the 2016 Honda Accord or 2016 Toyota Camry. Even a couple luxury-badged rivals like the 2016 Volvo S80 and 2016 Lexus ES have similar expenses over five years.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Passat?

A new 2018 Passat starts at around $23,000 for a base model. That's about $7,000 more than the average list price of a used 2016 Passat. Because there are few significant differences between the used and new model, you should stick with a used Passat where you can get more features for less money.

Read about the new Volkswagen Passat »

There are no new midsize cars priced close to the cost of an average 2016 Passat. To stay in that price range and get a new car, you'll need to step down in class size to a compact sedan like the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze, or Nissan Sentra. Be aware that these models are smaller than the Passat, and since you'll have to buy a base model to be in the same price range, you'll probably have fewer features than you would in a comparably priced 2016 Passat.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Volkswagen Passat?

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

Read more about Passat reliability »

2016 Volkswagen Passat Recalls

At the time of writing, there are two recalls on the 2016 Passat. One involves a potential fuel leak that can result in a fire, while the other covers a possible loss of brake power due to a camshaft lobe fracture.

See more information on Volkswagen Passat safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Passat Is Best?

The 2016 Passat is part a generation that began with the 2012 model year. You could save money by purchasing an older Passat, but you’ll miss key updates made for 2016. Volkswagen refreshed the Passat’s interior, added a standard USB port and rearview camera, and debuted the R-Line trim and multiple advanced safety features. If you don't need these features, an older Passat will be fine, as all models dating to the 2013 model year have similar scores in our rankings.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Passat »

Which Used Volkswagen Passat Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Passat has two powertrains (dubbed 1.8L and V6) and five trims: S, SE, SEL, R-Line, and SEL Premium. For the best value, go for the 1.8L SE trim. You’ll get the capable four-cylinder engine – which provides better fuel economy than the V6 – and luxurious features like leatherette upholstery, a sunroof, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, satellite radio, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect. You’ll also get driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

See 2016 Volkswagen Passat trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model. Depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired or on the sale date of the CPO VW vehicle. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Passat?

Like many midsize cars, the 2016 Passat has excellent safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety designated it as a Top Safety Pick+, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it five out of five stars overall.

A rearview camera comes standard in the 2016 Passat. Available advanced safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors, and automatic park assist.

See Passat safety scores »

2016 Volkswagen Passat Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Passat or 2016 Honda Accord?

The 2016 Honda Accord is a better buy than the Passat. Like the VW, it offers two engine choices: a capable four-cylinder and a powerful V6. Each model has a high-quality interior with convenient available tech features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. However, the Accord boasts superior fuel economy, higher reliability and safety scores, and more agile handling than the Passat.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Passat or 2016 Toyota Camry?

With one of the highest reliability ratings offered, the 2016 Toyota Camry is a solid pick among midsize cars. Its interior material quality falls short of the Passat’s, but the Camry’s lag-free infotainment system is easy to use. The Camry has a comfortable ride with composed handling, and it even feels somewhat sporty in the SE and XSE trims. Its standard four-cylinder engine gets the job done, but an available V6 offers even more power. Overall, the Camry is the better car. In fact, we named it our 2016 Best Midsize Car for the Money.

Compare the Passat, Accord, and Camry »

2016 Passat Performance

How Does the 2016 Volkswagen Passat Drive?

The front-wheel-drive Passat handles competently and has a smooth ride quality, even over bumpy roads. Still, it doesn’t feel as sporty as some other midsize cars. A 170-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard in the 2016 Passat. It should be powerful enough for most folks, but you can opt for an available V6 for an additional 110 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

Does the 2016 Volkswagen Passat Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Passat’s fuel economy is typical for the class, at 20-25 mpg in the city and 28-36 mpg on the highway.

Read more about Passat performance »

2016 Passat Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Passat Seat?

Seating for five and cloth upholstery come standard, though leatherette and leather upholsteries are available in upper trims. Some used models feature power-adjustable front seats and heated seats in both rows. The Passat offers great seating comfort and plenty of room in the front and back.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volkswagen Passat?

The Passat has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and a tether-only connection on the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Passat's LATCH system a Good rating for its ease of use.

2016 Volkswagen Passat Features

Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control and a 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system that works in tandem with a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The available 6.3-inch touch-screen infotainment system with navigation isn’t as dazzling or quick to respond as rivals' systems. However, it uses Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and VW’s Car-Net App-Connect, giving you multiple ways to sync your smartphone to access music, messages, apps, and navigation.

See 2016 Volkswagen Passat specs »

Read more about Passat interior »

2016 Volkswagen Passat Dimensions

Volkswagen Passat Cargo Space

With 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space, the Passat has an average-sized trunk for a midsize car.

2016 Passat Length and Weight

The Passat is just about 16 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,263 pounds in a base model with the four-cylinder engine to 3,571 pounds in a V6-powered SEL Premium model.

Where Was the 2016 Volkswagen Passat Built?

The 2016 VW Passat was assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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