The Passat has been, for as long as we can remember, associated with accountants, middle-management, and mundanity in general. But overlook this humble sedan at your peril: the understated exterior hides a comfortable cruiser with a good features list and a class-leading warranty. Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a somewhat mediocre 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for the Passat to do what it does best: cruise. The 2019 model comes with added safety features, including standard forward collision avoidance and blind-spot monitoring. The Passat might not be the best at any one thing, but it's good in most categories, and with a standard six-year/72,000-mile warranty, Volkswagen clearly intended the 2019 Passat to be the last car you'll ever own. Think about that for a second.
The current generation Passat has been around since 2012 and is starting to show its age, but VW has given it one last shot of botox before it gets replaced in the near future. The most significant change for 2019 would be the slimming-down of the trim range: Volkswagen now offers the Passat in only two trim levels, namely the Wolfsburg and SE R-Line. The V6 engine and GT trim fall away. Both new trims are powered by a turbocharged four-pot producing 174 hp. Inside, the 2019 Passat gets an upgraded infotainment system and new standard safety tech. Terra Brown joins the exterior color list, and the warranty now covers owners for six years or 72,000 miles.
The 2019 Volkswagen Passat starts off with an MSRP of $25,295 for the Wolfsburg Edition trim and climbs to $29,995 for the more accomplished SE R-Line. Compared to its rivals, the Passat offers good value for money. The 2019 Honda Accord starts off with an MSRP of $23,720, which is over $1,500 less than the Wolfsburg Passat and offers fewer standard features but a more powerful base engine. A top of the range Accord will set you back $35,950, which is significantly more than the SE R-Line's asking price but does include a 252 hp 2.0-liter engine and other options not found on the Passat. A range-topping VW Jetta goes for $27,195, which is dangerously close to its bigger sibling. These prices exclude a destination fee of $895.
See trim levels and configurations:
Volkswagen has the ability to make anything they build handle relatively well. One of the 2019 Passat's strong points is its robust and predictable handling characteristics: the steering feel is well-weighted and direct, especially for a midsize sedan, and the electric power steering assistance doesn't completely wipe away feedback as is the norm in so many modern cars. Taking the Passat through a series of corners is an uneventful experience at best; the intrusive stability control system prevents the driver from experiencing even the slightest of body and tire feedback, but on the open road, and in long sweeping corners, the Passat feels planted and inspires confidence. The Audi A4 is a more accomplished driver's car but doesn't do normal cruising any better or worse than the Passat. Relaxed driving brings out the best in this VW sedan, but it isn't a complete disaster when you're in a hurry.
The 2019 VW Passat is an honest midsize sedan that doesn't pretend to be a Nurburgring slayer or GT cruiser. It's humble (hum-drum) exterior hides a capable car that does everything relatively well. Standard alloy wheels and auto headlights on the base model are appreciated, but the SE R-Line is where you'll find most of the premium goodies. The engine isn't a performance bombshell and feels strained when hunting for power in the upper reaches of the rev range, but is great at cruising and will return impressive gas mileage figures if driven gently. The interior is well put together, and the front seats offer class-leading comfort. The Passat isn't a sports sedan by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels planted and smooth on the highway and shows good composure in long winding corners. It isn't the safest car in its class, but the addition of more active safety features for 2019 should be enough for most. With an affordable base price and impressive warranty cover, the understated Passat is an undervalued stealth cruiser that's perfect for those who aren't in a big hurry.
The price difference between the entry-level Wolfsburg and SE R-Line is a mere $4,700, and you get quite a lot of extra gear for that money, and for that reason alone, we would recommend getting the SE R-Line. The decision is made even easier by the fact that the SE R-Line comes fully loaded off the showroom floor; you can't even add any significant optional extras. The SE R-Line features exterior details such as LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing window wipers, a power sliding/tilting sunroof, and a set of striking 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside you get dual-zone climate control, navigation, leatherette seating with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat as well as an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The infotainment system features a 6.3-inch screen and includes navigation and a three-month subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio and traffic assistance. Advanced safety tech such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision avoidance come as standard.
The Volkswagen Jetta sits one class below the Passat but offers the same excellent build quality, driving experience, and outstanding warranty. The 2019 Jetta is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine which produces 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. A low curb weight and eco-minded gearing allow the Jetta to achieve 40/30/34 mpg highway/city/combined. The Jetta is a physically smaller car, so interior space is tighter, and cargo space is less than what you'll find in the Passat, but the interior is put together with the same care. On the road, the Jetta is more entertaining to drive, but cannot match the Passat for long-distance comfort. Both cars offer a fair amount of standard tech and safety features. With a base price of only $18,745, the Jetta will appeal to smaller and younger families who will appreciate its excellent fuel economy figures and premium-feeling interior, but if its space you're after, get the Passat.
The ever-popular Honda Accord is more capable than ever and offers a wide range of trim, engine, and transmission options to suit every need. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter four-pot engine producing 192 hp and 252 hp respectively, both offer significantly more power than the Passat, and the 1.5-liter unit will do 30/38/33 mpg. The Accord is a better driver's car all round and will provide as much long-distance comfort as the Passat. The interior of the Accord has a premium feel and feels much more modern in design. There is more interior and cargo space on offer from the Japanese sedan, and it's a safer car as well, scoring a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. Starting at only $23,720 the Accord is the better deal in every sense.
The most popular competitors of 2019 Volkswagen Passat: