Volkswagen has a very solid reputation among the masses. As consumers, we get very specific visuals in our minds when the motor company is mentioned. Some picture the Beetle; others, the VW Bus. Both were, and still are, very popular models that made Volkswagen famous, not only for the novelty of their appearances, but also for the fact that they were quality vehicles, and many still run on the roads today.
The Passat, however, really set the bar when it came to all-inclusive, economical cars that were suited to the family. Because of those fact, Volkswagen’s Passat model has been, and continues to be, one of the most reliable on the road, and now it has been hailed the best-mid-sized car of all-time, according to an April, 2019 article published by Motor1.com.
Currently in its eighth generation, the Passat came out under that specific model name in 1993, but it wore several other names and references from ’73 to ’93.
The base model for the Passat began production in 1972 for the ’73 model year, and was called the B1, B2, B3, B4, and so on (consider the ‘B’ to be something of an abbreviation for ‘generation’) by designers and builders, but was officially tagged as the Carat, the Corsar, the Dasher, the Magotan, the Quantum, and the Santana for public sales purposes.
These particular name choices were originally given because the car’s initial platform paralleled that of the Audi A4 and Audi 80, but the vehicle no longer shares that platform.
The 1993 model, or the Passat B4, underwent a facelift which pretty much changed its platform altogether, and at that time Volkswagen assigned it the Passat model name.
Forerunners to Today's Model
So, the fact of the matter is that there are many, many Volkswagen models which technically fall under the ‘Passat’ category and are considered forerunners to what we call the Passat today, but for all intents and purposes, we will be discussing models that have only been produced from ’93 to the present time in this article.
What are we discussing in regards to the Passat, you may be wondering. Well, in an effort to show you the changes the model has undergone in the last twenty-six years under its current moniker, and to assist you in knowing which particular model years are the best of the best, we have narrowed things down and put it all in one place for you.
Below is a list of ten of the very best Volkswagen Passat models ever made, all from the model years 1993 to 2019. They are listed from 10 to 1, with #1 being the best of the best. The list is not all-inclusive, but features the models sold strictly as the Passat.
The 10 Best Volkswagen Passat Models of All-Time
10. The 2010 Passat Komfort Sedan (B7)
This first-year generation seven was basically a 2009 that underwent a ‘facelift’, or was overhauled both aesthetically and mechanically. The process was done by former head of the Volkswagen Group, Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff .
Once the changes were made, the 2010 Passat was released to the public at the Paris Motor Show in September of 2010. The distinctive changes made included the grille, headlights, and most of the body panels.
The car featured a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, adaptive headlights, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, and a turbo 4-cylinder that got a combined 26 mpg. The MSRP started at $28k for the sedan and around $29.5k for the station wagon version. Developed with the Unites States’ tastes in mind, the Passat sold well America during this time.
9. The 2006 Passat (B6, Typ 3C)
First released at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show and presented for sale to the European public later that year, the 2006 Passat was a second-year, sixth-generation model. This year saw a redesign that was based on the Mk5 Golf PQ46 rather than the Audi models that preceded it.
It also included a 4-wheel-drive model that had a traverse engine rather than a longitudinal version. Consumers had a choice between the turbo 4-cylinder or a V6, and a manual or automatic transmission, as well as a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive option.
Six airbags came standard, as did the stability system, and it achieved a 22 to 27 mpg average for gas mileage. This mid-size family car had a starting price that ranged between $22,950 and $31,900, and Volkswagen had no problem selling them whatsoever.
8. The 2013 Passat (B7)
The 2013 Passat is another 7th generation, mid-size VW that actually became the ‘Car of the Year’ for Motor Trend with its 2012 pre-year release. It was a main competitor to Camry, and a definite winner in the competition. It had three engine options and a wide variety of trim levels (8, to be exact).
Managing to pull off 22/31 mpg in the city and highway, respectively, the 2013 Passat sold like hotcakes (even though Passat sales were beginning to slow down somewhat from their late-2000s boom) with a starting MSRP of $21,640. Fun to drive, spacious, and giving great mileage, the Passat was still pulling through like gangbusters during its fortieth birthday year, and we doubt that Volkswagen could ask for much more.
7. The 2004 Passat 4Motion Station Wagon GLS (B5)
The 2004 Passat wagon had a lot of little extras that made it a pretty cool family car. Besides being a good looking and roomy family wagon, it came with the all-wheel-drive 4Motion option, it also had a 1.8 liter I-4 engine that got an economical 21mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway.
54.6 cu. ft. of cargo space meant plenty of room for everyone’s things, and it sat five, so the whole clan could ride along. The 4Motion Wagon had a window sticker price that started out at $26,130, which was a good price for a car with so many options and space in 2004.
The sales reflected the economy it offered; even for a ‘soccer mom’-type car, this one went over well with the masses for many good reasons.
6. The 2012 Passat TDI SE Sedan (B7)
This mid-size auto ran consumers approximately $26,765 to start, which turned out to be worth it due to the fact that its fuel economy was better than what was predicted and expected at 23/city and 35/hwy.
Volkswagen offered a choice of three engines with this year’s model; diesel would get owners 43 mpg/highway! You could get a Fender stereo with it, if you chose, and one main claim to fame was that the car was built entirely in the United States.
Rated four stars by consumers, it also offered a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and that’s not to mention the sunroof option and much, much more. While sales were technically beginning to show signs of slowing when it came to the Passat, Volkswagen seemed unfazed and continued to sell them at a fairly good pace in the US.
5. The 2015 Passat Sedan (B7)
The 2015 model year began to see much more of a decline in sales due to outdated body styling and dated technology when it came to the engine and other mechanics. It seems people were beginning to tire of the model’s ‘old school ways’.
With that being said, they DID continue to sell. Volkswagen did have some modest success during this time with its Clean Diesel feature, but it was revealed that the feature only burned clean diesel when set specifically, and this caused some liability problems for the company.
Otherwise, the Passat remained popular with a sticker price starting at just over $21k; the average car actually sold for around $11k. It had a turbo engine, as mentioned, it was available in diesel; the gas engine pulled off 23/35 mpg in the city and highway. Fender stereos were still an option, and they were still put together in the states. Clean Diesel or not, the gas models still sold well enough to keep these economical babies on the road.
4. The 2007 Passat Station Wagon (B6, Typ 3C)
With an MSRP ranging between $24,370 and $33,270, depending on the chosen trim and other options, the 2007 Passat Wagon, in its standard state, was a good deal no matter how you looked at it.
At the lowest position in the price range, it pulled in a sweet 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The four-door wagon body style came with front-wheel-drive standard and had a manual transmission that accompanied its turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine.
Rather than a fifth rear door it had a pass through back seat, as did all the Passat wagons this model year. It also had the option of a power liftgate for a bit extra, as well as optional manual sunshades and adaptive headlights.
While a sedan was also available, the wagon was a pretty sweet ride for its body style, and was, once again, popular with the family unit.
3. 2005 Passat 4Motion Sedan (B6, Typ 3C)
Highlights for the 2005 Sedan model included the consumer’s choice of three different engines, including a diesel option, and 4Motion AWD was available as well. Also available as a wagon, one could choose to equip their car with stability control, and they could rest easy in the fact that it got 23/32 in the city and highway, respectively.
The MSRP on the sedan with 4Motion and a 4-cylinder engine option was $23,900, and of course, the addition of options and extras would have set one back a bit more. We chose the sedan over the wagon for the fact that the sedan was reviewed by many to have excellent handling and acceleration response, making it fun and easy to drive.
2. 2016 Passat Sedan (B7)
The 2016 sedan version Passat underwent a bit of a makeover from the previous years, with features that included added active safety features, the choice between three transmission types and two engines, and a sporty new trim option, the R-Line.
It provided 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, and a new multi-media system was available. With standard front-wheel-drive and a manual six-speed tranny, the opening MSRP was $22,440, all of which made the 2016 Passat a fairly popular choice, even after the passing of so many years.
1. 2018 Passat Sedan (B8)
Starting at $22,995 for the standard version, the 2018 Passat had a great price for the basic Passat in our modern times. It had a 2.0 liter base engine, and a V6 was available if desired. Also, a GT package was implemented for better performance, for those who chose it, as was an automatic emergency brake option.
The car had seating for five that was fairly roomy and comfortable, and it came with either Apple Car Play or Android Auto, as desired. As for mileage, one could expect to get 22/29 in the city and highway, which was just about right for this particular model, considering the performance and engine options.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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