2006 Volkswagen Passat Sedan
There are 4 user reviews for the Value Edition trim shown below
- Safe, well designed, excellent fuel economy
- premium gas, sloppy steering, turbo lag, weird electric parking brake
Purchased the Passat two weeks ago after researching for a long time. The main reason is that I got an excellent discount, $6000 off the MSRP on a Value Edition. That put it in price range of a Hyundai Sonata or Mazda 6. I bought a Mazda 6 for my wife about 5 months ago.
The Passat is very comparable to the Mazda 6 in size, handling and acceleration, even though the Mazda 6 is normally aspirated and has 25 HP less. I like the looks of the Mazda 6 better and the steering is more precise. The cabin of the Passat is about 2 inches wider, and the car comes equipped with 6 airbags versus 2 standard on the Mazda 6. The Passat also gets better mileage. Over the first 1500 miles, I've average 27.9 in combined city and highway driving. One trick I've learned from watching the real-time MPG display: the air conditioner is a major drag on the small engine and really impacts the mileage adversely.
The Passat is relatively slow off the line given an engine rated at 200 HP. Essentially, the way it achieves good gas mileage is by powering the car with what amounts to a small 4 cylinder engine until you kick in the turbo by cranking up the revs. It hits 200 HP only around 5500 RPM, and you seldom reach that point in ordinary driving. Even with the "S" transmission setting and stomping on the gas, it's only moderately fast off the line. On the other hand, the 60 to 80 acceleration is excellent and the 80 to 120 acceleration is phenomenal.
The car is also deceptive in its feel. It's noisier at low speed than I expected it to be. The Mazda 6 does a better job of damping noise and vibration at lower speeds. However, vibration and noise actually settle down a little above 30, except for a fairly restrained turbo whine. The effect is that once you pass 30, you can find yourself going 50 or 60 without realizing it. 60 feels not much faster than 30.
Overall, I like the car and feel I got good value. I would have preferred the DSG transmission. If you aren't in a hurry and like VW products, the DSG may show up in the Passat in another year or two, and it'll cut a second or so off the 0 to 60 time. The Jetta GLI has the same engine with the DSG, and surprisingly is almost as heavy as the Passat, but gets 6.4 zero-to-60 versus about 7.6 for the Passat.
I almost went for the GLI, which was more fun to drive, but needed the extra legroom for my growing kids and was a little worried about the reliability record of the Jettas built in Puebla, especially at a time when they are having major labor unrest. The Passats are built in Germany and should hold up better over time.
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