bottom line
  • Attractive, well-appointed interior
  • Impressive safety
  • Quiet, refined cabin
  • Responsive, refined powertrain
  • No Bluetooth hands-free calling interface
  • Prefers premium fuel

Especially if you're considering the Passat Wagon, you might want to include the Jetta SportWagen on your list. Unlike the Passat, the Jetta offers VW's much-loved TDI diesel engine, yielding up to 42 mpg highway. has driven the 2010 Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon to bring you firsthand driving impressions and advice here in this Bottom Line. has also researched available road tests on the Passat to produce this conclusive review.

Last year, with the introduction of the new flagship Volkswagen CC sedan, VW simplified the Passat lineup, discontinuing the manual transmission, available V-6 engine, and all-wheel drive and reducing it to a single Komfort model. The Passat remains offered in sedan and wagon models.

From the outside, the 2010 Volkswagen Passat Wagon's design is more cohesive and attractive than the sedan, with better proportions. There are no exaggerated flares or curves, just sloping lines (the roof) and smooth undulations in the bodywork (wheel arches). Nearly everyone will appreciate the understated opulence of the interior, which mixes softer and more welcoming surfaces and materials than the stark look associated with products from this German brand in the past.

A 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the only engine offered across the entire Passat lineup; that's fine, as the engine provides good performance and impressive economy with the six-speed automatic transmission. The suspension and steering lend the 2010 Passat a responsive, tossable feel; it handles and maneuvers well, but not as sharply as a sport sedan.

Although the rear door line makes an odd straight cut downward, the door's unusual shape really helps entry/exit, with the higher roofline on wagons offering some advantages. Most will find the driving position and front seats comfortable in the 2010 Passat, and it has impressive backseat space that rivals some of the roomiest sedans in the mid-size class; it's especially leg-friendly for lanky adult passengers. In the wagon, there are plenty of storage bins and even an umbrella-storage area. A power liftgate is standard on all wagons—either a welcome convenience or unnecessary complexity, depending on your demands. Rear seatbacks fold forward neatly to expand the cargo floor, which is very convenient with its low lift-in height. Overall, the quality of the materials in the Volkswagen Passat Wagon and Sedan is quite impressive, and the interior layout feels both luxurious and practical. In either version, the ride is very well controlled, perhaps making the Passat more refined inside than many luxury-brand mid-size models, and there's almost no wind or road noise.

The 2010 Passat has a generous list of safety features, but doesn't perform as well as some rivals in crash tests. It gets four-star ratings in frontal impact and four- and five-star results in side impact from the federal government, along with top "good" results in frontal and side tests, plus "marginal" ratings for rear impact from the IIHS. Front side and full-length head/curtain airbags are standard, while side-thorax bags for backseat passengers are optional.

Overall, the lineup of the 2010 Passat is simple. There's one Komfort model, as a sedan or wagon, and just a few option packages on offer. Large 17-inch wheels, along with heated seats and heated washer nozzles, come with all Passats. Other standard equipment includes keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, an eight-speaker sound system, leather steering-wheel trim, manual side sunshades, and a power 12-way driver seat. A Navigation Infotainment Package with touchscreen display, 30GB hard drive, and video DVD playback is optional.

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