If you like conservative styling, the Volkswagen Passat is probably the most conservative sedan in the world. The nose is my least favorite part, but the rest of the Passat’s styling projects an air of luxury.
With four trim levels, our review car is the top V6 SEL Premium, and premium is the best word to describe the interior. The wood trim might be fake, but there’s real leather covering excellent seats. The whole layout is no-nonsense and gimmick-free.
The six-speed, dual clutch automatic is a no-extra-cost option. A six-speed manual is standard.
My only interior gripe is the navigation system that trails the competition. Upgraded are electronic driver aids like cross-traffic alert, lane departure, and automated parallel-parking assist.
Even in much bigger cars, you won’t find many with more stretch-out leg room than the Passat. In the SEL Premium, row 2 seats are heated, too.
That roominess extends to the trunk, with one of the largest cargo holds in the class. Old-style trunk lid hinges do intrude a bit.
A 280 horsepower V6 is standard in the SEL Premium. Base Passats get a turbo-four.
With excellent crash test scores, the Passat is front-wheel-drive. All-wheel drive is not available. Precise steering, good balance, and a quiet ride round out the package.
So, for the 2017 VW Passat V6 SEL Premium, I say thumbs up to the roominess, comfort and value; thumbs down to the dated navigation system.
I averaged about 22 miles per gallon. The as-tested sticker price is $34,815.