NEW FOR 2014:

– 1.8 TSI engine replaces 2.5 midway through the year.
– Highline receives standard rear-view camera, rear centre armrest with storage, and navigation system.
– Sport package for V6 Highline discontinued.
– Trendline receives chrome window surround, alarm, Media Device Interface for iPod connectivity.

What was the weakest link in Volkswagen’s made-for-America Passat has been fixed for model year 2014. The 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, often criticized for its less-than-refined demeanour, will bow out midway through the year. It’s being replaced by an all-new 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. This powerplant, destined to end up in the Jetta and Golf packs the same amount of power and torque as the outgoing five-cylinder, but promises a smaller thirst for fuel and more responsive performance. Unlike any other VW turbo engine, this one will also run on regular unleaded.

Otherwise, the largest-ever Passat continues mostly unchanged, flying under the radar with its simple but high-quality cabin and massive rear seat. In addition to the new gasoline engine, there is also a narrow-angle V6 and the quintessential VW diesel.

The Passat is offered in Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline trims, and can be had with all of the aforementioned engines. The 1.8 TSI can be had with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed auto, while the 2.0 TDI is paired to a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch ‘box. The V6 is DSG-only. Unlike the previous two generations, the latest Passat is front-wheel drive.

In Trendline trim, features include 16-inch alloy wheels, 60/40 split folding rear seat with armrest, eight-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, alarm, chrome window surround, automatic headlights, six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary jack, Bluetooth, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control, digital compass, front and rear floor mats, front centre armrest with storage, heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever, multifunction trip computer, and power heated side mirrors, and tire pressure monitoring system.

TDI models get chrome side and rear fender accents, engine block heater, and front fog lights.

Comfortline adds 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power driver seat, six-way manually adjustable passenger seat, chrome exhaust tip, front and rear map lights, leatherette upholstery, power sunroof, rear air vents, satellite radio.

V6 adds dual exhaust with chrome tips, paddles for manual shifting, front fog lights, rear-seat pass through and sport seats.

Technology Package adds navigation, reverse camera, and 400-watt Fender stereo system.

Sport Package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, carbon interior trim, aluminum door sills, paddle shifters (automatic only), rear spoiler and sport seats. V6 models add different 18-inch wheels, carbon interior door trim, aluminum door sills, and rear spoiler.

Highline adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power front sport seats, driver’s seat and side mirror memory, auto-dimming interior mirror, chrome side and rear fender accents, Fender 400-watt premium audio, fog lights, garage door opener, KESSY proximity key with push-button start, leather and Dinamica upholstery, Nut Burl wood trim, rear seat centre armrest with storage, rear seat pass-through, reverse camera, remote start (automatic only), and navigation.

Highline V6 adds 18-inch alloy wheels, carbon interior trim, door sill plates in aluminum, rear spoiler.

Sport Package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, carbon interior trim, door sill plates in aluminum, paddle shifters (with automatic transmission), and a rear spoiler.

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