2020 Volkswagen Passat

Performance


#9 out of 10 in Midsize Cars

MSRP
$22,995
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Volkswagen Passat Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.9

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat has a capable engine, and its ride is mostly gentle. It lacks the athleticism of some competitors, however, and offers no optional engines. Fuel economy estimates are subpar for the midsize car class.

  • "Like last year's model, the 2020 Passat's driving experience is defined by its comfortable ride and sprightly turbocharged engine." -- Edmunds
  • The driving experience is basically indistinguishable from the previous generation, which is to say it's fine. The power delivery is OK." -- CNET
  • Highway cruising is the Passat’s sweet spot. The cabin is isolated from road, wind and tire noise, even on coarse concrete. In this setting, the Passat floats right over little imperfections. In town and on twisty roads, the Passat gets a bit flummoxed. Going over larger or more frequent bumps results in a bobbing, boat-like feeling. It has a moderate amount of body roll, and not much grip. The steering is pretty light and suffers from the same springy resistance of other VWs. It’s at least accurate, but not as precise as some of the handling leaders of the segment such as the Accord and Mazda6." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The Passat comes with a 174-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The turbocharged engine supplies sufficient power for most driving situations, and the added torque for 2020 helps it accelerate around town and when passing slower cars. The automatic transmission can hesitate to downshift, but the available paddle shifters allow you to dial up a lower gear when you need it.

This sedan gets subpar fuel economy estimates for the class: 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

  • The Passat’s turbo engine occupies an interesting middle ground between most sedan’s entry-level and optional engines. While the 174 horsepower rating is modest, the turbocharged torque comes on strong early and carries through the mid-range, making it feel quick around town and when passing." -- Autoblog
  • "The turbocharged engine gains 22 lb-ft of torque [over last year], and it feels noticeably stronger than rivals equipped with their base engines. We also like that Volkswagen has chosen to stick with the six-speed automatic. Although a little sluggish, it doesn't suffer from the exceptionally delayed responses the eight-speed auto in other VW vehicles can exhibit." -- Edmunds
  • Thanks to the paddles on the wheel, it was easy to stay in the desired gear, but the transmission regularly ignored me when I asked for a downshift." -- Motor Trend

Ride and Handling

The Passat provides a comfortable ride on most roads. Handling is composed, but it would be a stretch to call it sporty. Steering is easy but doesn’t provide much road feedback. The brakes get the job done, but the brake pedal can be slow to return to its normal position. Front-wheel drive comes standard.

  • "The Passat was easily as comfortable as its big brother, the Arteon, but with better body control over large undulations." -- Motor Trend
  • The ride is comfortable enough and the Passat is a fairly quiet cruiser. It's not a bad driving experience. It'll get you where you're going with minimal fuss, but there's almost no character -- no joy." -- CNET
  • The Passat corners like a car that prioritizes ride quality, but that's not to say it's floaty or not well tuned. … The cushy, controlled ride does remain one of the car's highlights, a boon to the highway commuters and families VW hopes to attract with the Passat's new look and value proposition. The steering and brakes remain comfortably numb and predictable - although the latter in a not-so-welcome way, with the pedal seeming to take an extra beat to return to its default position." -- Automobile Magazine
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2020 Volkswagen Passat

MSRP: $22,995 - $31,095

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