The 2014 Volkswagen Passat gains a new engine that will return considerably better fuel economy than the car's current base engine. A new 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four engine replaces the 2.5-liter inline-five as the Passat's base engine this year.
The 1.8T engine produces 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, which represents an increase of seven lb-ft compared to the outgoing 2.5-liter engine. It will also be offered in the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, and Golf. The turbo engine is more efficient that the five-cylinder it replaces, and also includes electro hydraulic steering, which consumes less energy than the full hydraulic power steering on the old 2.5-liter.
As a result, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat will return 24/35 mpg (city/highway) with a five-speed manual transmission, and 24/34 mpg with a six-speed automatic. By contrast, the 2013 Passat 2.5-liter managed 22/32 mpg with a manual and 22/31 mpg with an automatic transmission. Although the new 1.8T engine will initially be offered only on the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL, by the end of this year it will fully replace the 2.5-liter as the base engine in all Passat variants.
The most fuel-efficient engine for the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is still the 2.0-liter turbodiesel, which returns 31/43 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission or 30/40 mpg with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. The most powerful choice is a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 hp, but it musters only 20/28 mpg in EPA testing.
Other tweaks for the 2014 Volkswagen Passat include the addition of a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter, and parking brake for the Wolfsburg Edition. The SE trim level gains a backup camera, two-tone seats, push-button start, and 18-inch wheels. The new Car-Net telematics system, which is similar to General Motors' OnStar, becomes available on Wolfsburg and higher trim levels.
Volkswagen hints that it will introduce a Sport version of the Passat later this year. It could be inspired by the Passat Performance concept shown at the Detroit auto show, which featured a version of the 1.8T engine tuned for 250 hp, 19-inch wheels, LED running lights and taillights, a lowered sport suspension, and aesthetic tweaks like carbon-fiber mirrors.
As the table below shows, the new fuel economy ratings bring the 2014 Volkswagen Passat up to par with the rest of the midsize sedan segment. Although the 1.8T still isn't as efficient on the highway as some of the rivals' engines, the Passat's TDI model blows them all away with EPA ratings of up to 43 mpg on the highway.
|Car||Volume Engine||Power||Fuel Economy (Automatic)|
|2014 VW Passat||1.8L turbo-four||170 hp, 184 lb-ft||24/34 mpg|
|2013 Ford Fusion||1.6L turbo-four||178 hp, 184 lb-ft||23/36 mpg|
|2013 Honda Accord||2.4L inline-four||185 hp, 181 lb-ft||27/36 mpg|
|2013 Hyundai Sonata||2.4L inline-four||198-200 hp, 184-186 lb-ft||24/35 mpg|
|2013 Kia Optima||2.4L inline-four||200 hp, 186 lb-ft||24/35 mpg|
|2014 Mazda 6||2.5L inline-four||184 hp, 184 lb-ft||26/38 mpg|
|2013 Nissan Altima||2.5L inline-four||182 hp, 180 lb-ft||27/38 mpg|
|2013 Toyota Camry||2.5L inline-four||178 hp, 170 lb-ft||25/35 mpg|
|2013 VW Passat||2.5L inline-five||170 hp, 177 lb-ft||22/31 mpg|