2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
It could remind one of its German-engineered Audi cousin with its haughty, European good looks. It cruises with authority at hyper highway speeds. It has elbow room to spare both in front and rear seating. And yet it falls into the earth-friendly, fuel-saving category thanks to its "clean diesel" technology. Score a big one for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.
My one-day driving encounter with the new, clean diesel VW Passat was briefer than I hoped for, but sufficiently long to recognize this was attention-getting technology at its best. A tour around metro Detroit's "Motown" country served as backdrop for some express road, country road and city street driving in Germanic style.
Style-wise the Passat isn't in-your-face. And unless you hear the muffled diesel purr that barely signals its underpinnings, you'd probably never realize it's an environmentally-responsible version of an iconoclastic Euro road cruiser, but designed for U.S. consumption.
The six-speed automatic on my test vehicle had manual mode when spontaneous upticks were desired. The overall feel of the drive was typical VW style, a bit weightier than one would expect from a compact, but not surprising considering the Passat's overall dimensions. Size wise, it gains a shade in passenger room for 2012. This is a true midsize auto, not the compact of electrified competitors. Full Review