2017 Volkswagen Passat Walk Around

Last year the Passat got some rough edges smoothed out, including a new grille that’s finely drawn, and domed hood. It’s not all swoopy and edgy or wedgy like other midsize cars are trying to be. It’s not boxy, although the roof is more upright. The surfaces are clean and the lines spare. It’s consistent with the new Golf family.


We like the instrument panel because it’s so simple and clean. Informative and functional, period. Intuitive. Easy to operate. Buttons, switches, and big readable gauges, right where they should be. Wood or metal trims the broad dash.

Big cupholders hide under a flip-up lid next to the handbrake, and a bin ahead of the shift lever is sized to items like hold cell phones and key fobs.

The infotainment system is the latest, called MIB II, with touch controls and proximity sensing. It features telematics, connected via VW Car-Net, and integrated apps for smartphones, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

The front seats aren’t as plush as those in other more upscale VWs, but they offer excellent adjustability, good thigh bolstering and plenty of rearward travel. There’s god legroom in the rear, and even better headroom and ease of entry, thanks to the upright roof. In fact, there’s more space than many full-size sedans.

In the SE model, the seats are faux leather; it’s supple and smooth vinyl. The SEL gets leather and grippy faux suede inserts.

The trunk is spacious, nearly the largest in the class at 15.9 cubic feet. That beats the Accord by 1 cubic foot, but is still half a cubic foot smaller than the Hyundai Sonata. When you compare it to full size cars, it’s almost 3 cubic feet smaller than the Chevy Impala. You can open it by waving your foot under the bumper.

The rear seat drops from the trunk, using levers on the back of the seat. All cars should be so smart.

Visibility is excellent. With lots of glass, folding rear headrests, and slim roof pillars, there’s a broad and open view of the world around the car. A good plus for safety.

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