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1304 2012 Volkswagen Passat Tdi March Update
four seasons long-term tests

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI - Still Solid

Miles to Date: 25,054

2012 Volkswagen Passat reviews to date
This is a solid car with good handling.

Although it racked up another 3300 miles this last month, our Four Seasons Volkswagen Passat TDI led a relatively boring life in March. That meant fewer road trips and adventures, more commuting and daily chores.

"With a month left in its twelve-month stay with us, the Passat may be a bit of a forgotten child in the Automobile parking lot," writes associate Web editor Ben Timmins. "It might seem hard to get excited about a gray sedan when we're parking fancier, flashier cars next to it, but the truth is it's a consistent performer, and an interesting, satisfying entrant to the midsize market."

Speaking of midsize sedans, the Passat TDI appears to be one of senior Web editor Phil Floraday's favorites. "The Accord won our Midsize Madness comparison test, but the Passat TDI is still my choice. We couldn't test the TDI against a bunch of gas four-cylinder models, so it had to sit out the comparison. The Passat TDI is the best car in the bunch because you get all of the room of a big car with the fuel economy of a compact. Plus there's no CVT and the turbocharger provides good torque. There's some lag upon acceleration and the horsepower is really low, but this is a solid car with good handling."

Associate Web editor Jake Holmes echoed Floraday's sentiments. "I remain impressed by the combination of smoothness, power, and economy delivered by the turbo-diesel engine and DSG dual-clutch transmission. The one extra thing I would want on my Passat is a backup camera (a feature not offered on any Passat grade). Despite careful use of the mirrors, the remarkably long rear doors and trunk require a conscious effort to remember where the car ends."

We didn't completely top off the AdBlue tank last time, as a warning screen informed Holmes the car had but 1500 miles of range left on the urea tank, which would eventually prevent the car from starting. Dealer technicians topped off the AdBlue levels while replacing the front fender liner we mentioned last month, which was damaged by ice.

Now that winter's worst is more or less behind us, we swapped out our winter tires for the Passat's original Hankook OptimoH426 tires just in time for one last month of stewardship, and one last road trip to our Passat TDI's birthplace in Tennessee. Read about the homecoming next month.

Wheel locks $100
2012 Volkswagen Passat Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
Base price (with dest.)$30,265
Price as tested$30,365
Body Style 4-door sedan
Accommodation 5-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Engine 16-valve DOHC turbodiesel I-4
Displacement 2.0 liters (120 cu in)
Power 140 hp @ 4000 rpm
Torque 236 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive Four-wheel
Fuel Economy 30/40/34 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electrically assisted
Turns lock-to-lock3.0
Turning circle 36.4 ft
Suspension, Front Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R Vented disc/disc
Wheels 18-inch aluminum alloy
Tires Hankook OptimoH426
Tire Size 235/45HR-18
Headroom F/R 38.3/37.8 in
Legroom F/R 42.4/39.1 in
Shoulder Room F/R 56.9/57.0 in
Wheelbase 110.4 in
Track F/R 62.1/61.0 in
L x W x H 191.6 x 72.2 x 58.5 in
Passenger Capacity 102.0 cu ft
Caro Capacity 15.9 cu ft
Weight 3459 lb
Weight dist. F/RTBD
Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal
Est. Range 630 miles
Fuel Grade Diesel
Standard Equipment
  • Power sunroof
  • Touchscreen navigation
  • iPod cable
  • Fog lights
  • Leatherette seating surfaces
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control
  • SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month subscription
  • Bluetooth
  • Auxiliary audio jack
  • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
  • Cruise control
  • Hill start assist
  • Automatic headlights w/coming home function
  • Heated front seats
  • Power driver's seat
  • 60/40-split folding rear seats
  • Front and rear armrests w/storage
  • Intermittent front wipers w/heated washer nozzles
  • Stability and traction control
It would also be very interesting to see a comparo between the Passat TDI and the Mercedes E 250CDI. Any takers?
A  few questions: One, what kind of mileage does the car generate? How much oil does it use, and how often did you have to change the oil? How much does it cost for the Adblue?
hmm nice car
Too much money for a midsize sedan with low power, unless you really, really want the best gas mileage.  But it is kinda strange to buy a 30K car just to get better mileage.  It would take years to overcome the $4,000 difference between the 4 cylinder (EX) Accord and this TDI Passat. 
RE: to the article posted April 8, 2013- I would just like to point out to Jake Holmes, the 2012 Passat did not offer any model with a back-up camera, you are correct. However, you failed to mention that the 2013 Passat SEL Premium model (with 2.5L/VR6/TDI) does now have a back-up camera installed. So for any consumers currently in the market reading this article, there is an option available. Seems as though Volkswagen read your mind.
@khpage In fuelly, I am averaging, including winter, which takes its toll, 48 MPG. Today I got 57 coming home from work. In just under 23000 miles, I spent just 1902 bucks in fuel. So the extra 4 thousand will be paid very quickly for me. I plan to keep her as long as she runs. Oil consumption is non-existent. Adblue is cheap, even at the dealer. They put this system on the smaller cars, they will easily get 60+ mpg. All in a car that handles very well. My only complaint is these Hankook tires. They are very loud. Not the car, as with studded tires, the car was about half as noisy. Tire are good otherwise. But the Fender gets a work out.
@ed124c Not for a German sedan, believe me there's a difference. We plan on having it for ten years like the A6 wagon it replaces.
@miami305123 Not to mention the rear A/C, and heating ducts too!

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