Some more to add as I was test driving a 2012 Passat SEL TDI around town with my mom and a VW salesman from Gurnee, IL VW this afternoon.
The sticky Continental ContiPro Contacts are not the only OEM tire. The two SEL’s and SE TDI’s I saw were shod with Hankook Optimo H426s, a less traction oriented but lower RRc tire. I verified this at TireRack as well.
In addition, the full size spare with OEM alloy has been replaced with a not quite full sized spare on a steel wheel. Another one of those wow that was cool addition to another oh well, they got rid of cool and added ordinary
With my mom behind the wheel and (2) three light changes before moving through a single stop light type traffic at rush hour locally, she averaged 37.9 mpg in the 30/40/34 city/highway/combined rated Passat which is pretty good given she knows little about what to and what not to do in heavy traffic.
Unfortunately, the GM was playing fast and loose with the figures (full MSRP > $29,000 for an SE with AT on their end and initial low ball on my parents Prius) plus a number of made up statements that it was simply not going to be the right car or dealership…
They did have the 31/43 mpg rated 6-speed stick at full MSRP which would have been my choice but you all already know that