The Jetta wagon is dead, so VW buyers have just one choice if they need an Ikea-invading, sports-gear-swallowing station wagon: the Passat. The redesigned model boasts improvements in all the obvious areas-more size, more power, more safety, and more style. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four provides gobs of torque that makes the car feel smaller and quicker than it really is. Despite its stronger acceleration, the front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder model is not as sporty as the all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy, which costs some $3000 less than the Passat. But, for the Passat’s $26,805 entry price, you get stability control, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and a power liftgate. As usual, VW’s European styling and refinement are present, but tight body control and precise steering feel elude the Passat. The new Passat won’t disappoint wagon buyers, but the more communicative Legacy is still the sharper shopping cart.
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19 City / 28 Hwy