2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SEL review: Hitting the premium bargain spot

2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SEL, price and key specifications as tested

Body style/layout: 4-door sedan, front engine/front-wheel drive

Base price: $30,425

Standard features: hill hold control; multi-function steering wheel with audio and phone controls; keyless remote, heated power mirrors, automatic headlights, 60/40 folding seatbacks, heated front seats with driver and front passenger 8-way power adjustment, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, leather-wrapped handbrake and shift knob, HomeLink, Radio Navigation System with SiriusXM NavTraffic, Fender Premium Audio System, sport seats with leather and Dinamica inserts, proximity key with pushbutton start (plus remote start), fog lights with cornering illumination: std.

Delivery: $795

Price as tested: $31,220


  • Type: 2.5-liter 20-valve DOHC inline-5
  • Displacement, cc: 2480
  • Block/head material: cast iron/aluminum
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Horsepower: 170 @ 5700 rpm
  • Torque: 177 @ 4250 rpm
  • Recommended fuel: regular unleaded
  • Fuel economy, EPA est.: 22/31 mpg city/highway
  • Fuel economy, observed: 24.5 mpg

Transmission:6-speed automatic


  • Suspension, front/rear: strut-type / multilink
  • Wheels: 17-inch alloy
  • Tires: 215/55R17
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 12.3-inch dia. front/10.7-inch dia. rear
  • Steering: hydraulic power rack-and-pinion
  • Turning circle: 36.4 ft.


  • Wheelbase: 110.4 in.
  • Length: 191.6 in.
  • Height: 58.5 in.
  • Width: 72.2 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,221 lbs
  • Trunk volume: 15.9 cu. ft.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gal.


  • Airbags: Front, front side, side curtain
  • Anti-lock brakes: Yes  Traction control: Yes  Stability control: Yes  Electronic brake-force distribution: No  Brake assist: Yes
  • Other: VW Intelligent Crash Response System (automatically unlocks the doors, shuts off the fuel pump, and turns on the hazard warning lights)

Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 3-year/36,000 mile powertrain; 3-year/36,000-mile scheduled service