$13,378 - $22,317

2016 Volkswagen Passat Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 Volkswagen Passat was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.1

The 2016 Volkswagen Passat’s cabin features a mix of high- and low-grade materials but has an overall classy look, according to most automotive writers. They add that the dashboard layout is simple and pleasing to the eye. Critics praise the roomy interior and the infotainment system's smartphone integration capabilities. The Passat has good trunk space for the class.

  • While Volkswagen insists the Passat's interior has been updated, we can only find the occasional small example of this, such as slightly revised controls in the center stack and various materials that seem a touch nicer than the outgoing model. If you're familiar with the old Passat, though, we suspect you'll have no trouble getting acclimated to the new one." -- AutoTrader
  • "Some of the Passat's cabin materials are still lacking - sections of door panel, center stack, and transmission tunnel are hard, scratchy plastic - but the upper dash is covered in a soft-touch surface, and at the very least, the faux wood looks good." -- Autoblog
  • Along with the outside, the interior gets a more liberal sprinkling of chrome and a 'redesigned' dashboard that's little more than the addition of a textured chrome trim strip across its expanse, separating upper from lower. The steering wheel is updated with piano-black spokes and chrome - small steps that do make a better overall impression." -- Cars.com
  • "Inside, the relatively subtle changes include new instruments, new materials, a horizontal crease atop the dashboard, and decor that looks far more upscale than that of the previous Passat's." -- Car and Driver
  • "The quality of the VW Passat's interior materials is among the best in the class. The overall cabin design is decidedly upscale while the layout of gauges and controls is refreshingly simple." -- Edmunds (2015)

Seating

The 2016 Volkswagen Passat seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated rear seats and comfort sport seats with added side support are available. Test drivers say the interior is spacious and the seats are supportive, although some think that finding a comfortable driving position can be difficult. Reviewers report that the rear seats are roomy and offer plenty of legroom.

  • "In terms of driver interfaces, the new flat-bottomed steering wheel is a great piece to work, and comes wrapped in high-quality leather. And of course, the back seat is [a] very spacious place, with a better blend of leg and shoulder room than most other vehicles in the segment. The inclusion of a heated second row for 2016 doesn't hurt its appeal, either." -- Autoblog
  • The driver's seat needs a tilt adjustment for the bottom cushion and the steering wheel doesn't tilt down low enough. … The backseat is huge and high enough off the floor that your knees aren't raised as they are in so many other cars. Heated rear seats are now included starting with the SE with Technology." -- Cars.com
  • "There is still an abundance of legroom and cargo space, the driver is treated to an airy and open cockpit, the ride is as quiet as it is composed, and the car tracks beautifully at highway speed." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Passat's cabin is roomy and airy, and the seats are pleasantly firm. This is a great long-distance cruiser." -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

Standard features in the Passat include a dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system, a rearview camera and the MIB II infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth and a USB port. Available features include a power sunroof, push-button start, a Fender premium audio system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, emergency brake assist, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, park assist and an upgraded infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, satellite radio, navigation and VW’s Car-Net, which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

Some reviewers say that rival infotainment systems are visually superior or more user-friendly than Volkswagen’s MIB II system, but they add that the MIB II’s available phone-mirroring abilities more than make up for it. They praise the larger touch screen for its responsiveness to smartphone-style commands. Some critics think the navigation system with the larger touch screen is slow to respond.

See 2016 Volkswagen Passat specs »

  • MIB II isn't as easy to use as Mazda's infotainment system, and it lacks the visual pop of Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect or Hyundai's Blue Link, but none of that really matters because of MIB II's phone-mirroring capabilities. Most people will do what we did: Plug in their smartphone and never venture from the familiar, attractive Apple or Android screens. The systems are still a bit limited as far as available apps and messaging convenience are concerned, but it's a huge improvement over the outgoing Passat and a big step forward in VW's approach toward car connectivity." – Automobile Magazine
  • The 6.3-inch touch-screen now recognizes when your hand gets close to it and presents more onscreen buttons (similar to the Cadillac User Experience screen). What this does is allow the map to make full use of the screen when you're not poking at it. Granted, 6.3 inches isn't huge, but once you take into account the cluttered displays some cars' larger screens have, the size comparison is much closer." -- Cars.com
  • "On the technical side, there are vastly improved connectivity features plus a new electronics and infotainment architecture that allows for a full range of driver-assistance systems (most notably forward-collision, blind-spot, and lane-departure warning as well as lane assist)." -- Car and Driver
  • "Our only significant complaint involves the optional navigation systems. The SE models have a lower-cost navigation unit with a small touchscreen display. You get a usefully larger screen in the SEL but we've found this higher-end interface is slower to process commands whether you're changing a radio station or entering a destination." -- Edmunds (2015)

Cargo

The 2016 Passat has 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is above average for the class. A split-folding rear seat is standard, and a hands-free trunk, which allows users to open the lid by waiving their foot under the rear bumper, is available. Automotive writers say the fold-down rear seats provide the versatility needed to haul larger items, and they find that the cabin offers plenty of small-item storage.

  • "The ample trunk can swallow 15.9 cubic feet of cargo -- a number that bests many competitors' -- and you can haul bulkier items when the 60/40 rear seatbacks are folded down." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "In the cabin, there is generous small-item storage that includes a good-size glovebox, door pockets with bottle holders, and a pair of covered cupholders." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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