$18,641 - $27,526

2018 Volkswagen Passat Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Volkswagen Passat was new.


Performance: 7.3

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat gives you a choice between an eager turbo-four engine and a V6 that makes for a more fun ride. The ride is comfortable over any road surface, but this car doesn't have the agility for especially athletic driving and handling.

  • "There's an undeniable sporty side to the 2018 Volkswagen Passat personality, but comfort takes precedence in this sizable sedan. The ride is smooth and its spacious interior is quiet, even on the highway, where wind and road noise are kept out of the cabin. Visibility is excellent, and the light steering and brakes are responsive. Overall, it's a sophisticated drive. The Passat is also playful, and when the situation calls for it this Volkswagen shows an athletic side." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Passat's punchy turbocharged four-cylinder engine should appeal to any midsize sedan shopper looking for their car to provide a good, solid kick in the back side. Sadly, other performance elements that come into play in everyday driving are subpar." -- Edmunds
  • "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 Passat comes standard with a new-for-2018 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 174 horsepower; it's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain feels energetic and delivers quick acceleration. If you want more power, a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower is available in select trims. The V6 packs more punch, and it comes with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which makes for a more engaging driving experience.

With the base engine, the Passat gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Those are below-average estimates for the class overall, but they’re competitive with several nonhybrid midsize sedans. The V6 gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • "For 2018, the Passat introduces an upgraded four-cylinder engine. [It provides] … just average mpg for a midsize sedan, but what the Passat lacks in fuel efficiency, it makes up for with lively performance and pickup." -- Edmunds
  • "The standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder offers excellent power, providing lively acceleration from a dead stop or when you're at speed. The 6-speed automatic transmission is bit dated compared to the transmission in some of the Passat's competition, but it's well-tuned and well-geared. Although the available V6 is expensive and much less fuel-efficient, its additional power gives the Passat a luxury-sedan feel. The dual-clutch automatic transmission which comes with paddles shifters is fun to control manually." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The top dog engine, available only on the SEL, is a smooth 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 that delivers strong, linear and effortless acceleration. Given this performance, 23 mpg overall is pretty good, but the engine requires premium fuel. Its standard DSG automated manual transmission performs quite well; shifts are quick and smooth. It lets the car roll back a little if you start off on a hill, but a hill-holder mechanism prevents that from being much of a problem." -- Consumer Reports (2017)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Passat feels a little sporty at times, but it ultimately is a family sedan that fails to match the athleticism of many class rivals. It makes a great cruising vehicle, though. The ride is comfortable, even over rough roads, and it’s easy to drive around town and on the highway. All-wheel drive is not available.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
  • "Regardless of engine, the Passat has a sporty feel due to its precise steering and firm suspension." -- Cars.com (2015)

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