Last year we brought you our review of the refreshed 2016 Passat from Volkswagen. For 2017, the German-American midsize sedan sees the addition of the R-Line trim level that adds some sportier touches some safety technology coming standard to this and other models.
For a quick review, the 2016 Passat saw new sheet metal, a revised interior, and new technology for driver and occupants. The changes appeared subtle but gave the sedan a more modern but still fairly sedate appearance. The new R-Line package that we recently saw in the test driveway is working at eliminating some of that very matter-of-fact styling but still falls a bit short when peering over into the showrooms of the competition.
The Volkswagen Passat can be ordered with the base turbocharged 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that generates 170hp and 184 lb. ft. of torque or the optional 280hp 3.6-liter VR6 engine. Both powerplants are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions with the VR6 seeing the DSG dual-clutch gearbox. Our recent tester featured the smaller 1.8T engine that worked quite well for most driving situations. There was a lack of “oomph” noticed in the middle rpm ranges but overall it was more than adequate and operated quite smoothly and quietly for a four-banger. I will add that I do miss the TDI turbo-diesel variant that once ruled under the hood of the Passat.
The ride and drive of the new R-Line Passat was little different from the 2016 sedan we tested although there was a bit more perceptible noise and vibration from the sportier 19-inch tires on the 2017. The R-Line enhancements are mainly cosmetic so ride and handling is nearly identical aside from the tires and wheels.
For those shopping the competitive set of Accord, Altima, Camry, and Fusion, don’t overlook the Volkswagen showroom for your next midsize sedan. VW is still rebounding from some bad press and questionable practices involving its diesel powertrains so dealers should be willing to woo customers back to their lots with some great deals backed by factory incentives. Another little incentive for some of you may be that the Passats are all built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pricing for the 2017 VW Passat models starts at $22,440 with our R-Line 1.8T tester coming with a final sticker of $24,795. Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
The 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line is a comfortable, roomy midsize sedan with plenty of trunk space as well as leg- and headroom for up to five occupants. Styling is still very basic and straightforward but the Passat is a car that is easy and safe to drive offering all of the latest safety and technology features customers are looking for in a midsize sedan.