2012 Volkswagen Passat

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat has been redesigned to reflect VW’s bolder and bigger styling direction. The Passat offers smooth rides and can accommodate a family of five comfortably. This car boasts one of the most spacious and comfortable interior in its class.

The cabin comes in a simple design, with a solid build, quality, and upscale materials. For 2012, the Passat is available in 3 engine choices, after last year’s 2.0L turbo powertrain was discontinued.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Sedan Base Price: $20,845.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons (70L) MPG: 22 city / 32 hwy
Length: 191.6 in. (486.6 cm) Wheel Base: 110.4 in. (280.4 cm)
Height: 58.5 in. (148.5 cm) Width: 72.2 in. (183.3 cm)
Curb Weight: 3166 lbs (1436 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.4 in. (13.7 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 15.9 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 2.5L Inline-5 DOHC Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1
Horsepower: 170 HP Max RPM: 5700 RPM
Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SE MSRP: $23,945; MPG: 21 city / 32 hwy
Option:SEL A/T MSRP: $28,925; MPG: 22 city / 31 hwy
Option:SE 3.6L V6 MSRP: $29,235; MPG: 20 city / 28 hwy
Option:TDI® SE 2.0L Diesel MSRP: $26,225; MPG: 31 city / 43 hwy
Option:SE 3.6L V6 Premium MSRP: $33,525; MPG: 20 city / 28 hwy

Engine & Performance

The VW Passat is offered in 3 powertrain and 4 transmission choices. The entry level engine is a 2.5L inline 5-cylinder that generates 170 hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque. This engine comes with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. With the manual transmission, it gets a fuel economy of 22/32 mpg city/highway, while with the automatic it gets 22/31 mpg city/highway.

Stepping up to the mid-level powertrain, you get a 2.0L inline 4-cylinder that produces 140 hp and 236 lbs-ft of torque. This engine can be combined with the standard 6-speed manual or the optional 6-speed DSG automated manual transmission. The manual transmission gets 31/43 mpg, while the DSG gets 30/40 mpg city/highway.

Lastly comes the 3.6L V6, which produces 280 hp and 258 lbs-ft of torque. This engine is paired to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. The combination enables the Passat to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, and get a fuel economy of 20/28 mpg city/highway.


The 2012 Passat is available in 3 main trim levels broken down by drive trains (2.5L, TDI, and 3.6L). These are further divided into 3 sub-trim levels: S, SE and the SEL. The redesigned exterior comes with sharp lines running from front to the rear end, replacing the soft lines of the outgoing Passat.

The S trim (2.5L only) is fitted with 16-inch steel wheels, while the SE model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels. SE also comes with standard chrome trim, and optional features like sunroof, fog lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The SEL premium package adds keyless entry and fog lights to its exterior features.


Customers will most likely be pleased by the Passat’s interior, which is not only spacious but also made of upscale materials. All seats are very comfortable, offering plenty of legroom that edges on full-size sedan class. The base model is fitted with fabric seats, but the higher models come with leatherette seating surfaces.

An 8-power adjustable driver-seat, as well as heated front-seats is standard on SE models. Stepping up to the SEL trim, you will get power lumbar-support driver seat, while SEL Premium and the TDI SEL Premium come with leather-trimmed seats with faux-suede inserts.

Standard interior features on all models include: Bluetooth, power locks and power windows, dual-zone climate control and auxiliary audio input. Higher trims come with upgraded features like, sunroof, satellite radio; leather wrapped steering column and shift knob, navigation system, Fender premium audio-system, push button start, touch screen display, and iPod integration.

Safety & Reliability

The 2012 VW Passat is fitted with safety features that include: emergency trunk release, 4-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS, child safety locks, and 6 airbags including the driver and front passenger airbags.

All new Passat’s are covered by a bumper-to-bumper warranty for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles as well as 60,000 miles or 5-years of engine warranty. Corrosion perforation warranty is offered for the first 12 years. Customers will also appreciate the free scheduled maintenance offered by VW for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles.


  • Fuel efficient diesel powertrain option
  • Spacious interior
  • Standard dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth
  • Refined ride
  • High quality cabin


  • Bland exterior design
  • Below average braking distance
  • Underpowered base engine

The redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Passat is a car that many shoppers will most likely put on top of their to-buy-list. This car combines interior quality and driving dynamics with comfort, roominess and affordable value that most customers are searching for.

The Passat can compete against other midsize sedans like Toyota Camry (MSRP $22,055; 25 city / 35 hwy), the Nissan Altima (MSRP $21,500; 27 city / 38 hwy), and Honda Accord (MSRP $21,680; 24 city / 34 hwy).

Overall Rating
78 out of 100

What others say:

“Roomy cabin; available fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine; many upscale features come standard; high-quality cabin; refined ride…Below-average braking distances; lackadaisical throttle response; rearview camera not offered.” Edmunds

“A massive rear seat and better-than-hybrid highway fuel economy mask the slight loss of refinement and nimble road feel in the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.”Car Connection

“The Passat never feels particularly sporty, but it is well balanced and more than competent. The steering is lighter in cars with the 2.5-liter engine compared to the TDI and V6, but all are accurate. Braking is strong, but some testers found the pedal too touchy.”Consumer Guide

“The spacious cabin has a very roomy rear seat, but fit and finish took a step back. ”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“If we were to describe the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan in as few words as possible, we’d go with “more for your money.””KBB