2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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Photo Gallery: 2007 Volkswagen Passat wagon 2.0T

Oshawa, Ontario – We all have our favourite body styles, and for me, it’s the station wagon: timeless styling, classic proportions, and the ability to carry cargo. They fell out of favour for a while, but they’ve been slowly making a comeback. The Volkswagen Passat Wagon took a hiatus when the model line was redesigned for 2006, but it returns for 2007.

The Passat comes in a choice of three drivelines: my tester’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a turbocharger starts at $31,425, while the 3.6-litre V6 starts at $44,115, and climbs to $47,015 when equipped with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. The turbo comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission that had been optioned on my car to the six-speed automatic that’s the only offering on the V6 models. The all-wheel drive system is not available on the 2.0-litre in North America.

Turbochargers sometimes exhibit considerable lag – the time between stepping on the throttle, and the turbo boosting the engine – but the Passat exhibits almost none when called upon for more power. Unlike many turbocharged engines, the Passat’s works equally well in regular traffic; while some huffed engines are like high-strung thoroughbreds always wanting to boost up, making them difficult to modulate, this VW creates smooth power under light throttle, which is exactly what you want in stop-and-go conditions. The automatic comes with manual shift mode, accessed by pushing the shifter sideways and then tapping it up or down. It shifts smoothly enough, but I’m surprised that the Passat – the company’s flagship among its non-SUVs – doesn’t get VW’s superb direct-shift transmission (DSG).

2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

Despite its size, the Passat is easy to spin around – perhaps too easy, as the steering is lighter than I prefer at higher speeds, although it’s very handy when trying to twist the car around in tight parking lots. The front end never actually feels floaty on the highway, but there’s vagueness to the feedback that I didn’t expect, given the Passat’s size and heft, and Volkswagen’s usual aptitude for oneness with the road. The harsher-riding optional sport suspension can’t be added to the 2.0T; instead, the ride is firm, but pleasantly so, and only the deepest potholes make their presence known in the cabin. The Passat carves out corners with confidence, but should you be overzealous on greasy roads, electronic stability control is standard equipment.

2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

The Passat’s interior is well-done, if understated: the simple black dash is broken up with a metallic centre stack and too-bright chrome around the shifter. My tester was equipped with a pricey Leather Luxury Package, which includes ambient lighting, automatic climate control, sunroof, garage door opener and 16-inch alloy wheels. The package also adds a power liftgate, which I suppose is nice enough when you’re walking toward the vehicle with your arms full of groceries, but which seemed like expensive overkill given that this is just a station wagon, and I wasn’t overreaching to close the gate on a large-by-huge SUV. And while I found the Luxury Package’s six-CD changer refreshing in its simplicity – the volume and tuning buttons are big, and the equalizer functions are immediately accessible through a row of smaller dials under it – it’s surprising that it doesn’t include steering wheel-mounted controls, if only for volume and mute.

The Passat’s manually-adjustable driver’s seat gets a power recline and lumbar with the Luxury Package; as is common with Volkswagen, the seats are firm, but that translates into long-distance comfort. The brake pedal is high and my sole tended to catch on it; it would be a perfect setup for heel-toe driving, but my car wasn’t a standard, and it was simply an annoyance. And while the fit-and-finish was of high quality, with narrow, even gaps, there was a rattle in the driver’s door.

2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

Rather than the usual switchblade key, the Passat uses a rectangular fob that you insert into a slot in the dash, and push to start the engine – a much better set-up than some manufacturers, who have you park the fob in the dash and then still require you to push a ridiculous engine-start button. The fob also includes the keyless lock, unlock, tailgate and panic functions.

The full backlighting on all functions is a welcome Volkswagen trademark, and the lock buttons have an additional little light that changes from yellow to red when the doors are unlocked.

My tester was equipped with a $1,600 bi-Xenon adaptive front headlight system, which swivels the lights when the front wheels are turned. Previously, I was most impressed with Mercedes-Benz’s version, but this VW works even better; I live in a rural area, and so I was able to appreciate how quickly and how far the lights spun around dark corners, going far enough that I was able to see the ditches well before they might become a hazard. The car also includes cornering lights that come on whenever the wheel is turned past a certain point, even if the turn signals haven’t been activated. The only oddity with the system was that while the headlights came on automatically in the dark, the dash lights didn’t, and I still had to turn the headlight switch to get everything to illuminate.

2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T
2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T. Click image to enlarge

There’s plenty of small-item storage, including a clever pair of small, flock-lined boxes that come out of the upper dash on either side of the hazard light control. Coffee cups stay out of the way behind the shifter, while the large door pockets can handle map books.

The big items go into the back, of course: with the seats up, the cargo area is 114 cm long; fold the seats, and it expands to a length of 180 cm. But Volkswagen seldom makes that an easy task and the Passat is no exception, since you must remove the rear seat head-restraints in order to have the backrests fold to form a flat cargo floor. The buttons for removing them are stiff and hard to push, and it’s very difficult to reach the one on the middle seat.

All in all, the Passat Wagon is a very nice vehicle: it works well, it looks great, it’s comfortable and overall, it’s a very pleasant car to drive.

Its major flaw is that it simply costs too much money. The big question, when looking around from the driver’s seat, is if I would pay $41,000 for it, and the answer is no. As Editor-in-Chief Greg Wilson puts it so well, the price-tag might be more palatable if the nose carried Audi’s rings instead of VW’s letters. Die-hard Volkswagen fans will probably pay it, and they’ll get a very satisfying car when they do. The shame is that, given how quickly the price rises with just a few options, Volkswagen may have some trouble finding new devotees willing to open their wallets that wide.

Pricing: Volkswagen Passat Wagon 2.0T

  • Base price: $31,425
  • Options: $9,900 (Automatic transmission, $1,400; rear side airbags, $450; Leather Luxury Package of six-CD player, lighting package, trunk cargo net, chrome window trim, leather seats, wheel and shifter knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with 6-way power, power liftgate, sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels and garage door opener, $6,450; adaptive bi-Xenon headlamp system, $1,600)
  • Freight: $715
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Price as tested: $42,140 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives


  • Click here for complete specifications

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