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Rankings & Research

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Midsize Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Passat has a score of 7.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 64 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 7.9
Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Volkswagen Passat Review

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat finishes in the bottom half of our midsize car rankings. It's spacious and comfortable, but its cabin looks dated, and some rivals are more luxurious and nimbler around turns.

Pros & Cons

  • Extremely spacious seats
  • Large trunk
  • Smooth ride
  • Interior lacking compared to competitors
  • Unimpressive tech offerings

Is the 2018 Volkswagen Passat a Good Used Car?

Yes, the 2018 Volkswagen Passat is a good used midsize car. It makes a great choice whether you're looking for a daily commuter or a family vehicle. The Passat has plenty of space and a long list of tech features, but it doesn't quite live up to the standards set by some other cars in the class.

Check out the 2018 Passat's strengths:

  • Rides smoothly, even over rough roads
  • Comfortable, supportive seats
  • More rear-seat passenger space than most rivals
  • Spacious trunk
  • Energetic engines

But pay attention to its weaknesses:

  • Interior doesn’t reach to the bar set by rivals
  • Tech features are less modern than competitors’
  • Not as sporty as some other cars in the class
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Volkswagen Passat review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 64 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Volkswagen Passat?

Based on listings for the 2018 Volkswagen Passat on our site, the average price is $19,400, which is slightly below average for its class. Prices range from $15,000 to $24,400 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Volkswagen Passat Cost to Own?

The 2018 Passat’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $22,150, or $4,430 per year. That’s about average for a midsize car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Passat?

The 2019 Volkswagen Passat starts at $25,295, and it doesn't have a lot of notable upgrades over the 2018 model. For the 2019 model year, VW simplified its trim levels and discontinued the GT. The company also discontinued the availability of the V6 engine in the Passat.

Read about the new Volkswagen Passat »

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat is part of a generation that began with the 2012 model year. There have been several notable changes over the years. A rearview camera became available for 2013, and it became standard on the SE trim and above for 2014. An available turbocharged engine also debuted in 2014.

Volkswagen refreshed the Passat for 2016, adding a standard infotainment system, more available driver assistance features, and new connectivity features. The automaker included standard forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking for 2017.

For 2018, the Passat gained a new turbo-four base engine and a longer warranty, and a new Passat GT model joined the lineup. We recommend focusing your search on Passat models from 2016 and later.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Passat »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Volkswagen Passat?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Passat a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Passat reliability »

2018 Volkswagen Passat Recalls

At the time of writing, there are two recalls for the 2018 Volkswagen Passat:

  • Brake caliper bracket bolts may be loose
  • Insufficient coating on brake caliper pistons

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Volkswagen Passat safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Passat Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat comes in five trims: S, R-Line, SE, GT, and SEL Premium. The R-Line and SE trims are both solid choices. The R-Line is a bit sportier, while the SE has a few more features. There's also an SE with Technology package, which adds even more tech. The base engine feels energetic, so don't feel like you need to spring for one of the higher trims that has a V6.

  • Volkswagen Passat S: The Passat S comes with a 174-horsepower turbo-four engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include a rearview camera, an Intelligent Crash Response System (turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and activates the hazard lights after airbags deploy), and the MIB II infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and a USB port. You might also find S trims equipped with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking.
  • Volkswagen Passat R-Line: In addition to the base trim’s features, the R-Line comes with synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.
  • Volkswagen Passat SE: The Passat SE’s standard features include a sunroof, keyless entry, and push-button start, as well as everything standard in lower trims. There’s also a Passat SE with Technology package, which adds heated rear seats, remote start, a hands-free power trunk lid, an eight-speaker audio system, and front and rear parking sensors.
  • Volkswagen Passat GT: The Passat GT comes standard with 19-inch wheels, a 280-horsepower V6 engine, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Otherwise, its features’ list closely resembles the Passat SE’s.
  • Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium: The Passat SEL Premium comes with leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, a Fender premium audio system, lane departure warning, park assist, and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation and an additional USB port. There's also a V6 SEL Premium, which features a 280-horsepower V6 engine and a dual-clutch transmission.

See 2018 Volkswagen Passat trims and specs »

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

Volkswagen CPO warranties vary depending on model. See your VW dealer for information. Volkswagen CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our research, most other automakers – including Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Chevrolet – have more robust CPO programs than Volkswagen.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Volkswagen certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Passat?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Volkswagen Passat the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger-side small overlap crash test. Properly equipped Passats received a second-best rating of Advanced for front crash prevention. The Passat’s headlights received the worst rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Passat an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Passat earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Intelligent Crash Response System (turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and activates the hazard lights after the airbags deploy)

Available advanced safety features:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • forward collision warning
  • autonomous emergency braking
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • park assist

See Passat safety scores »

2018 Volkswagen Passat Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Volkswagen Passat or 2018 Honda Accord?

The 2018 Honda Accord comes in near the top of our rankings, and it's better than the Passat in almost every way. The Accord gives you everything you can get from the Passat, like a comfortable ride, powerful engines, and plenty of space. However, the Accord also has a more upscale cabin, better gas mileage, an easier-to-use infotainment system, and a larger trunk.

Which Is Better: 2018 Volkswagen Passat or 2018 Volkswagen Jetta?

The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is a compact car. Though it's smaller than the Passat, the Jetta provides plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The Jetta gets better fuel economy than the Passat, and it costs a bit less. That said, the Passat is worth the extra money. It has a nicer interior, more standard features, and an available V6 engine that is more potent than any of the Jetta’s available engines. If you have some room in your budget, go with the Passat, which is roomier, more luxurious, and more powerful. If you don't need as much space, the Passat's smaller sibling is a great alternative.

Compare the Passat, Accord, and Jetta »

2018 Passat Performance

How Does the 2018 Volkswagen Passat Drive?

This VW sedan comes standard with a turbocharged engine that delivers quick acceleration and moves the car with ease. The available V6 is even more potent, and it's mated to a more responsive dual-clutch transmission. The Passat is best suited as a comfortable cruiser; it rides smoothly and is easy to drive. It handles well, but it doesn't have the athletic feel of some rivals.

  • Base engine: 174-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic (turbo-four); six-speed dual-clutch automatic (V6)
Does the 2018 Volkswagen Passat Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its base engine, the Passat gets fuel economy ratings that are on par with many other nonhybrid midsize sedans. As you might guess, the more powerful V6 isn't as fuel efficient as the smaller turbo-four.

  • Four-cylinder: 25/36 mpg city/highway
  • V6: 19/28 mpg

Read more about Passat performance »

2018 Passat Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Passat Seat?

The 2018 Passat seats five people in two rows. The cabin looks good and is generally well-built, but there are some hard plastics that keep this VW from feeling as upscale as its rivals. The Passat's front seats provide plenty of support to help you stay comfortable on long drives. The rear seats are spacious enough for even tall adults to ride in the back with no issues.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • power-adjustable driver’s seat

Available seating features:

  • leatherette and leather upholstery
  • heated front and rear seats
  • power-adjustable passenger seat
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Volkswagen Passat?

The 2018 Passat has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the highest rating of Good for ease of use.

2018 Volkswagen Passat Features

The MIB II infotainment system works well enough, with either the 5- or 6.3-inch touch screen, but it feels a little outdated compared to competitors' systems, which have bigger screens and can be a bit easier to use. Although the Passat offers plenty of technology, it doesn't really have anything you can't get in other midsize sedans.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: a 6.3-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, a Fender premium audio system, satellite radio, an additional USB port, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, remote start, push-button start, and a sunroof

See 2018 Volkswagen Passat specs »

Read more about Passat interior »

2018 Volkswagen Passat Dimensions

Volkswagen Passat Cargo Space

The Passat has 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is above average for a midsize car. You have the flexibility to carry bigger items because of the split-folding rear seats, but the trunk lid hinges can cut into the available space. A hands-free trunk lid is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Volkswagen Passat Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet
  • Curb weight: 3,274 to 3,571 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,497 to 4,652 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Volkswagen Passat Built?

Volkswagen built the Passat in Tennessee.

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