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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall
Top Safety Pick
Space up front is generous and the thin A-pillars make for good visibility.
Official tests are in from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the 2012 Passat earns excellent safety scores--five stars and a Top Safety Pick, respectively.
Each Passat comes with standard safety features including dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and tire pressure monitors. Manual-transmission models have a hill-holder clutch.
For the first model year, the Passat lacks the electronic assistants becoming more common on other family sedans--new features like front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and blind-spot monitors. Some of those features will be introduced on the sedan in its second model year.
Visibility is one of the Passat's strongest safety attributes. The large glass areas, fold-down rear headrests and slim roof pillars give drivers a nearly panoramic view of the world around them.
Its advanced safety features lag, but the 2012 VW Passat gets great safety scores.