The big news for the 2014 Volkswagen Passat lineup, was the addition of a new 1.8-liter, TSI turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder engine that will be phased in gradually replacing the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. Now, a new 2015 VW Passat 2.0-liter, 150 horsepower, turbocharged, direct injection TDI four-cylinder engine (EA288 is the only clean diesel option available in the segment that is capable of delivering an EPA estimated 44 miles per gallon on the highway with the manual gearbox, providing a range of 814 miles.
Recently a similarly equipped Volkswagen Passat TDI set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS? achievement for the ?lowest fuel consumption, using special, highly efficient driving techniques and tires?48 U.S. states for a non-hybrid car? category with a most impressive 77.99 mpg, more than 10 mpg better than the previous mark of 67.9 mpg. The achievement also beats the hybrid vehicle record of 64.6 mpg by more than 13 mpg.
The 1.8-liter TSI engine is designated EA888 Gen 3, and produces 170 horsepower (the same as the 2.5-liter engine that it is replacing), while also developing 184 pound feet of torque for a 7 lb-ft increase delivered in a lower rev range. The manual transmission model has an EPA estimated fuel economy figure of 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, an improvement of 3 mpg over the outgoing 2.5-liter engine?s highway figure. Another significant mechanical improvement is that on cars powered by the 1.8T engine, an electric-assist system replaces the hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.
In addition to the 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder and 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder engines, there?s also a 3.6-liter VR6? FSI engine. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual gearbox; a six-speed automatic or VW?s 6-speed DSG? automatic, which is optional on the Passat TDI Clean Diesel.
Visually, the 2015 Volkswagen Passat continues to display balanced proportions giving it an elegant and timeless styling, that reflects VW?s Design DNA developed by Walter de Silva, the Italian design chief for the Volkswagen Group, and Klaus Bischoff, the German design leader for the Volkswagen Brand. The design is clean, featuring predominately horizontal body elements.
Up front, the Passat displays the horizontal brand face, with the three-blade grille and headlights that form a single unit. The grille is sculpted in a three-dimensional shape making a strict geometric impression. Beneath the front bumper is a large, lower intake with a striking honeycomb surface and available foglights housed at each end.
In profile, the muscular ridge in the sill area creates an engaging interplay of light reflections, and powerfully sculpted wheel arches emphasize the Passat?s dynamicism. The roof lines flow toward the rear, with a coupe-like cut of the rear window. Three side windows create a long, extended glass surface.
The rear section also emphasizes horizontal lines with the large taillight lines rising toward the sides. Another unique feature is the design of the two-part taillights that are integrated into the rear fender and deck lid.
The Passat?s interior lines flow in an easy, pleasing style, complimented by high-quality materials applied with craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The instrument panel showcases a similarity to Volkswagen?s flagship model Touareg. Available chrome-trimmed gauges surround a digital multifunction display, with a high-end chrome look also applied to the cockpit air vents and to the radio surrounds, navigation system, and climate control panels. The rotary light switch and parking brake handle button also receive a chrome treatment.
Seats are comfortable, with an emphasis on providing extra thigh support for long-distance road trips. The driver?s seat adjusts eight ways, even in the base version, including lumbar. Cloth trim is offered with the base S model, while the Wolfsburg and higher trims feature Volkswagen?s characteristic perforated V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces. Two-tone seating is offered on SE models, while SEL models move up to leather seating surfaces.
There are four trim levels of trim for 2015 Volkswagen Passat: the base S; the Wolfsburg Edition; SE: and SEL, with a total of 12 equipment levels. For 2015, all trims, with the exception of the base S model, receive VW Car-Net connected services, and rearview cameras are now found in S and Wolfsburg trim levels , with a windshield wiper rain sensor now available on SEL Trim models. Additionally, a Technology Package is now available on S and Wolfsburg trims, and includes a rearview camera, Premium VIII audio with eight speakers, and satellite radio.
My 2015 Volkswagen Passat 2.0–liter TDI was in SEL Premium trim with the 6-speed automatic. It wore an exterior coat of Fortana Red metallic, with a Cornsilk Beige and Charcoal interior. The base price was set at $33,585 while the Destination charge brought the final total to $34,405. Standard fare in the SEL Premium package included: RNS 510 navigation; Fender Premium Audio System; remote start; partial leather seating surfaces; front foglights; rear seat pass-through; driver seat memory; and eight-way power passenger seat.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is a generously proportioned four-door sedan and continues as the largest Passat produced. From front to rear it measures 191.6 inches, featuring a stretched 110.4-inch wheelbase and a 72.2-inch width, which allows for additional rear seat space.
Essentially, the new VW Passat is a large sedan that drives like a smaller vehicle. Acceleration is brisk and certainly more than adequate. The ride comfort is exceptional, delivering what one would expect from a much larger luxury sedan, and the handling characteristics favor the sporty side of the driving experience.
In the Safety portfolio, every 2015 Volkswagen Passat comes with Electronic Stability Control; Anti-lock Braking System; Hydraulic Brake Assist; Tire Pressure Monitoring, and Volkswagen?s Intelligent Crash Response System, which In the event of a collision, automatically unlocks the doors, shuts off the fuel pump, and even turns on the hazard warning lights. Six standard airbags include front and side thorax airbags for the front-seat occupants, along with Side Curtain Protection? airbags front and rear.
The 2015 Volkswagen Passat is covered by Volkswagen?s no-charge Carefree Maintenance? Program, which covers scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
In the final analysis the VW Passat has a lot going for it. It may not be as sporty as the GTI or as sexy as the CC, but it is cleanly attractive and serves up traditional German engineering excellence even though it was designed specifically for the U.S. market and is built right here in America ? In VW?s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
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[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$34,405.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter EA288 TDI Clean Diesel16-valve turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder with Direct Injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||150 @ 3,500 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||236 @ 1,750 rpm|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Rear – Multi-link with coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
|Brakes:||Power assisted, four-wheel discs (vented front) with dual circuit, three channel ABS with electronic brake pressure, EBD and ESC.|
|Tires:||Continental ContiProContact 235/40 R18 94H M&S mounted on 5-double-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||191.6 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,497 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||24 mpg city / 36 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.