VW Passat luxury car

The Passat is VW's mid-size sedan offering. The U.S. version, which differs greatly form that sold in other markets, is produced at a Volkswagen Group assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The current Passat is one of the larger entries in a class that also includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima. It's sold without the wagon variant that has accompanied German-made Passats in previous generations. It is also very different from the model still sold in Europe by the same name.

In the U.S., the Passat's lineage goes all the way back to the Dasher sedans and hatchbacks of the 1970s and the Quantum models of the 1980s—the latter of which were, notably, offered with VW's Syncro all-wheel drive.

While the Passat name had been used elsewhere on those models, it wasn't until the third generation that the U.S.-market version also adopted the same badge. That model's unique front-end styling did without a conventional grille opening, and the rest of the design was characterized by lots of glass and a low hood; the interior made good use of space for passengers, thanks to the tallish proportions. Though the interior quality didn't surpass that of the less-expensive Jetta, the Passat had a comfortable ride, in part thanks to its longer wheelbase. At the beginning of this generation, only low-power 2.0-liter four-cylinders were available, but VW added its narrow-angle VR6 and diesel options later in the cycle.

The next complete redesign the Passat got, in 1998, was revolutionary. VW switched its mid-size sedan to the same platform as the Audi A4, and everything from its ride to its driving manners felt much more upscale and sophisticated—either compared to the previous Passat or to U.S. rivals like the Camry, Accord, and Taurus. Most Passat models from this era included either a 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter (1.8T) turbo four-cylinder or a 190-hp Audi-derived V-6. Between these two engines, there's surprisingly little difference in acceleration, though the smoother V-6 makes it feel more like a luxury car. A short-lived Passat W8 model (2003–2004) featured a special 270-hp, narrow-angle eight-cylinder engine, but its $40k+ price tag, heft, and thirst just didn't add up to much appeal. Throughout this generation, 4Motion all-wheel drive was available on most of the model line.

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