$14,839 - $22,716

2017 Volkswagen Passat Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Volkswagen Passat was new.


Performance: 8.0

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat’s base engine provides ample power. Upgrade to the V6 engine and you’ll get eager acceleration and a more fun ride. The Passat’s handling and suspension are comfortable and controlled, even over bumpy terrain. It has a quiet ride and its steering is generally precise, though it could be more responsive. It’s definitely not a sports car, but the R-Line trim gives it a somewhat sportier ride.

  • "When it comes to the drivetrain and suspension, Volkswagen wisely left well enough alone when it refreshed the Passat last year. Why? Because it was already one of the best-driving midsize sedans you could buy. Its sophisticated highway ride is simultaneously comfortable and connected, no small trick. Yet the Passat is also playful, and when the situation calls for it this Volkswagen shows an athletic side that's uncommon for this class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Overall though the Passat earns high marks for its relaxed refined demeanor in everyday driving." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • “In ordinary driving, the Passat provides a quiet cabin and generally excellent shock absorption. If we're picking nits, the Passat's structure feels a little less robust over bumps than its German pedigree would suggest, but by the standards of this class, it's more than adequate." -- Autotrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Passat comes standard with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 170 horsepower. A 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower is available in upper trims. A six-speed automatic transmission is mated to the four-cylinder, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is paired with the V6. The base engine gets 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The V6 gets 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. These numbers are slightly below average for the class.

The standard engine is quick, however, there can be some turbo lag when accelerating from a standstill. Utilizing the Sport mode provides exciting acceleration on the highway, but can lead to a choppy drive in the city. For smoother city driving, the V6 is a better option. The Passat’s base automatic transmission is smooth, but for a more fun and engaging drive, the dual-clutch is the way to go.

  • “Though both available engines in the 2017 Volkswagen Passat are worth considering, most people will be satisfied with the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder. It's quick compared to rivals and offers decent fuel economy. Unfortunately, the gas pedal's responsiveness is sluggish in the default setting. You can switch to Sport mode, but then it feels too jumpy. The 3.6-liter V6 makes for better acceleration, but fuel economy falls behind class leaders. Its transmission has delayed shift responses, too, and it's a bit clunky with gear choice at slow speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "The standard 1.8-liter 4-cylinder offers excellent power, providing lively acceleration from a dead stop or when you're at speed. The downside is that in stop-and-go city driving, power delivery from the 1.8T isn't particularly smooth. The available V6 is definitely better in that regard, but the added expense and weight -- not to mention the sometimes-balky dual-clutch automatic transmission it's paired with -- aren't really worth the gains." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “On the road, the little 1.8-liter turbo fares surprisingly well. There's just a brief period of turbo lag if you nail the throttle from a stop, after which power (and the car) quickly picks up. This lag isn't even noticed in normal driving, and the engine provides good passing power thanks in part to the transmission's quick kick-down shifts." -- Consumer Guide (2016)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel drive 2017 Passat provides a composed ride with controlled and responsive handling and steering. It offers smooth sailing, even over bumps or dips in its path. Highway driving with the Passat feels comfortable and connected, and city driving is generally enjoyable.

  • “Regardless of engine choice, the Passat is quiet and comfortable around town and on the highway. Steering is generally precise, but this isn't the car we'd recommend if you're looking for a sporty driving experience. It's a bit more relaxed and reserved, which may or may not be your preference." -- Edmunds
  • “The suspension is made up of struts up front and a multilink setup at the rear, and the handling is responsive and composed." -- Left Lane News
  • "Regardless of engine, the Passat has a sporty feel due to its precise steering and firm suspension." -- Cars.com (2015)

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