2016 Volkswagen Passat Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
What's new for 2016?
Modest changes to the interior and exterior of the vehicle are accompanied by the addition of a standard infotainment system, smart phone-friendly USB ports, and innovative driver assistance options.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2016 Volkswagen Passat – The Pros
1. An infotainment system comes standard.
Every trim line of the 2016 Volkswagen Passat includes a standard infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen. A phone-mirroring option allows users to use Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink with the installed infotainment system.
An upgraded infotainment system with a 6.3-inch screen is available and includes:
- satellite radio
- proprietary VW Car-Net software
2. Smartphone connectivity gives owners mobile control.
Volkswagen emphasized smart phone connectivity through the inclusion of built-in USB charging ports and the added features of the proprietary VW Car-Net system.
The Car-Net system connects to the VW Car-Net Mobile App to give owners more insight and control over their cars. Among other things, the Car-Net app allows owners to:
- find a parked car
- monitor a teen driver's speed or location
- check fuel levels
- call roadside assistance
- check whether the vehicle is locked
3. Advanced driver assistance features take the stress out of driving.
A standard rear-view camera and an automatic post-collision braking system are included with all new Passats. Additional, optional driver assistance features include:
- adaptive cruise control
- blind spot monitoring
- lane departure warnings
- forward collision warning
- rear traffic alert
- parking steering assistance
- parking distance control
4. Superior safety ratings boost consumer confidence.
Selected as a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2016 Passat earned a top score across all five areas of testing. The Passat was also awarded four out of five stars in the rollover test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
5. Two engine options offer power at a great price.
The standard turbocharged four-cylinder, 1.8-liter engine produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Combined with a six-speed automatic transmission, this engine is more than enough for the lightweight 2016 Passat.
Of course, power-eager consumers can opt for the 3.6-liter V6 option, which includes a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission and produces 280 horsepower. Obviously, the V6 provides superior acceleration over the smaller standard engine.
6. The Passat provides a smooth, quiet ride.
Unlike its louder competitors, the Passat runs nearly silent. The test drivers at AutoWeek describe hearing only a faint hum when the Passat first started.
The same strut-style suspension system used in previous Passat models was also integrated into the 2016 Passat. This system, which has proven successful in prior Passat models, provides a smooth ride with negligible jostling even when maneuvering over rough roads and uneven surfaces.
7. Improved fuel economy saves drivers money.
With above-average fuel economy for its class, the Passat boasts an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. This gain over previous Passat models is due to improvements in underbody aerodynamics that reduced the drag coefficient to just 0.285. A new HVAC compressor and an ultra-efficient electrical system in the alternator also help boost the fuel economy of this new model.
8. Spacious passenger and cargo space improve comfort and functionality.
The driver's seat, back seat and trunk area are all spacious enough to accommodate passengers and cargo with ease. With 39 inches of leg room between the front and back seats, two adults can sit comfortably in the back without feeling cramped at all.
The trunk holds 15.9 cubic feet of cargo. Although this is already above average for the class, additional storage room can be made by collapsing the split-folding rear seats. A hands-free trunk option enables drivers to open the trunk lid by waiving a foot underneath the rear bumper, making it much easier to load large or heavy cargo.
9. Subtle improvements on the familiar styling focus on elegance, not reinvention.
Some stylish improvements on the established, conservative design include new angles on the fenders, bumpers, and hood. A beefier bumper and trunk lid make the 2016 Volkswagen Passat a little larger than its predecessor. Inside, new wood and chrome trim accent the slightly altered dash and center console.
10. Seven different trim options give buyers many prices and options to choose from.
The 2016 Volkswagen Passat is available in seven different trim levels:
- SE with technology
- SEL Premium
- V6 SEL Premium
These trims offer varying selections of assisted driving technologies, wheel sizes and more.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2016 Volkswagen Passat – The Cons
1. The built-in infotainment system is complicated and sluggish.
Critics complain that the built-in infotainment system is complicated, cumbersome and sluggish. It lacks aesthetic, intuitive appeal. The upgraded model is slow to respond to even simple commands like changing the radio station.
2. Steering is also slow to respond.
Critics note that turning requires aggressive steering, as the Passat is not sensitive or overly responsive to input.
3. The appearance hasn't changed much.
While some drivers may take comfort in the Passat's familiar appearance, others may be disappointed in the lack of changes and lackluster materials used in certain places. For example, the door panels are made of rough, hard plastic.
4. The 2016 Passat does not have a diesel option.
Although the beloved, fuel-economical diesel engine option is responsible for one-third of all Passat sales since 2012, this option has been removed from the 2016 model because of the 2015 Volkswagen diesel emission scandal.
How it stacks up to the competition:
Compared to the class-leading Chevrolet Malibu and the Honda Accord, the 2016 Volkswagen Passat offers more space and a more powerful engine option. It also boasts superior fuel economy.
Ultimately, the 2016 Volkswagen Passat is a smooth, spacious ride with a roomy interior perfect for families or cargo. Excellent fuel economy and integrated technological offerings make the Passat an innovative, affordable vehicle.