Auto Review: 2014 Volkswagen Passat

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is an American-built mid-size sedan with the space and comfort of many full-size models, offering remarkable, best-in-class, stretch-out rear-seat legroom and trunk space to match.

The Passat TDI version - the only clean diesel option in the segment - delivers an EPA estimated 43 miles per gallon on the highway with the manual transmission, giving a range of almost 800 miles.

Recently, using special, highly efficient driving techniques and tires, a similarly equipped Passat TDI set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS achievement for the "lowest fuel consumption - 48 U.S. states for a non-hybrid car" category with a stellar 77.99 mpg - more than 10 mpg better than the previous mark of 67.9 mpg. The achievement also beats the hybrid vehicle record of 64.6 mpg by more than 13 mpg.

NEW FOR 2014

Under hood, the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine will be gradually replaced by a brand new 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder engine, carrying the designation EA888 Gen 3.

The engine makes 170 horsepower (the same as the 2.5L) and 184 pound-feet of torque (7 lb-ft more, delivered lower in the rev range). The manual transmission model also has an EPA estimated fuel economy figure of 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, an improvement of 3 mpg over the outgoing 2.5-liter engine's highway figure.

VW engineers also made some other significant mechanical improvements for 2014. On the cars fitted with the 1.8T engine, the hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering has been replaced by an electric-assist system.

Finally, Volkswagen will introduce its VW Car-Net connected services this fall on the Passat lineup, beginning with the Wolfsburg trim. VW Car-Net - which has a six-month no-charge trial period - offers a wealth of security and convenience features, including Automatic Crash Notification, roadside assistance services, and stolen vehicle location assistance. In addition, VW Car-Net adds: remote vehicle access; boundary and speed alerts; a vehicle health report; and an enhanced POI service on vehicles equipped with a navigation system. Many of the features can be administered through a handy smartphone app.

INTERIOR

The Passat was designed and specifically tailored for American tastes and American lifestyles. So the cabin of the 2014 Passat delivers space, and plenty of it. There's room for five adults to really stretch out in comfort.

There's also a true elegance and simplicity about the layout. Nothing here is trendy or over-done. The lines flow in a style that's easy on the eye, complimented by high-quality materials applied with attention to detail.

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