More Fuel Economy, larger size, more features… And all starting at around $20K.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Jan. 25, 2011
VW’s all-new 2012 Passat TDI – Promised best-in-class rear legroom and an amazing 43 mpg US highway
While VW earned its stripes in 2010 with a 20 percent increase in total sales over the 2009 model year and the best annual sales since 2003, the results were mainly due to over 123,000 Jetta’s being sold. The languishing Passat with just over 10,000 units sold over the same period was apparently not invited to the same party.
This is about to change…
VW’s world debut of the all-new Passat is intended to power the company’s near term growth plans for the U.S. marketplace as it was developed to meet the needs of America with a larger size, more premium features and handling characteristics that make a VW a VW. It will also be built here in America in Chattanooga, TN at what VW calls the world’s newest, most advanced and environmentally responsible auto assembly plant.
The new 2012 VW Passat TDI is the only midsize sedan available in North America that is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway and come with standard features that include automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity.
The new Passat offers best-in-class legroom, VW’s Care Free Maintenance program (3 years/36,000 miles) and the safety of Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System.
Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga plant that will produce the Passat is part of a $4 billion investment by the company in the U.S. market. The environmentally friendly facility includes a revolutionary paint shop that significantly reduces emissions. A state-of-the art $40 million employee training center ensures adherence to Volkswagen’s exacting quality standards.
The Passat will set new benchmarks for safety, driving performance and environmental responsibility in the midsize segment.
The all-new Passat offers three drivetrain options but we will only focus on the fuel saving 2.0L TDI Turbo Diesel.
The 2.0L I4 TDI in the all-new 2012 Passat provides 140 HP and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. While these specs are nothing new to US and Canadian based TDI fans, the all-new Passat TDI is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway! What did they do to achieve this? From the Detroit Auto Show Press event, we were told the new Passat TDI is going to use a UREA based SCR CAT allowing NOx to be converted to harmless N2 via a onboard urea storage and chemical injection vs. consuming an inordinate amount of diesel fuel to regenerate the NOx CAT that is used in the current Jetta and Golf TDI’s.
While I am sure there are other HW changes that have not yet been released to achieve the increase, whatever they are is not as important as the final result and it is great to see it!
The Passat TDI will be equipped with a standard 6-speed stick with a 6-speed DSG transmission being available. The 6-speed DSG or dual-clutch transmission is considered the most efficient automatic in the world. This technologically advanced six-speed transmission incorporates an automatic dual-clutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal. With a special computer controlling the process, one clutch is engaged on the next gear while the clutch from the previous gear is released. The results are crisp, quick shifts, without the loss of power that is experienced with a traditional manual gearbox.
The Passat will be offered in three trim levels, S SE and SEL, with a total of 16 equipment levels. All will offer first-in-class safety and comfort.
The Passat’s safety features include Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response Systems, which initiates automatic safety protections in a collision — the fuel supply and high consumption electronic equipment shuts off; the doors unlock; the battery terminal disconnects from the alternator cable; the hazard lights switch on.
The Passat also comes with a tire pressure monitoring system, ESP electronic stabilization program, ABS with braking assistant, Hill Climb Assist (with manual transmission), six airbags and an extremely rigid body structure to protect the driver and passengers.
The Passat sets new standards for comfort, with a significantly larger rear seating area, best-in-class rear seat legroom and what VW says are well-designed controls.
Other standard features include automatic climate control, power windows, air conditioning, insulating glass, a distinctive analog clock at the center of the instrument panel, cruise control, outside temperature display with frost warning, radio-CD system (MP3-capable, plus external audio input) and Bluetooth connectivity.
Premium options include 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, power seat adjustment, leather, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, a touch screen satellite radio, a choice of Volkswagen’s RNS 510 or RNS 315 navigation systems, front fog lights with static cornering lights, wood decor, new ambiance lighting, memory driver’s seat, power passenger seat, and keyless access with push button start.
The Passat will also offer the new Fender premium audio system. In a partnership that combined quality automotive engineering and quality sound engineering, Volkswagen and Fender teamed up to bring the raw emotion of live music to the driving experience.
I removed the superfluous BS and went straight to the bottom line: the car in person really does look much more expensive than it actually is.
The new, larger Passat is 191.7 inches long and has a 110.4 inch wheelbase, which provides a noticeable increase in rear seating space.
The interior is marked by a clean and geometric structure with standard VW controls that are easy to operate. Unfortunately, the control stalk has gained too many operations making display and control selection cumbersome .
The base instrumentation however is striking with chrome trimmed gauges surrounding the center multifunction display. A chrome look is also applied to the air vents in the cockpit, and to the surrounds of the radio, navigation system and the climate control panels. The rotary light switch and parking brake handle button are also treated in chrome. Except for the base version, all other Passat trims have chrome interior accents on the window, mirror adjustment and trunk opening switches.
The seats are exceptionally adjustable and comfortable as even in the base driver’s seat is adjustable eight ways, including lumbar support.
The all-new 2012 VW Passat should help power VW’s plans to significantly increase market share. While the Passat is but one model in the VW lineup, the upgrades will make it a force to be reckoned with in the mid-size realm.