Reviewers are almost unanimously positive about the features inside the Passat, whether talking about the basics such as storage spaces and cargo convenience or high-tech options.
CNET describes the trunk space as “cavernous,” and Edmunds says, “Storage also benefits from easy-to-operate 60/40-split-folding rear seats with pass-through.” Additionally, Edmunds points out the low and easy access to trunk space and “the cute little insider way of opening the trunk. (Press the VW logo.)”
Several reviews mention the plentiful storage spaces inside the Passat’s cabin, including “two flip-top compartments” that Edmunds says “disappear elegantly into the dash and center console.” Nearly all reviewers cite the umbrella stowed in the door, a feature that Autobytel muses “owners in Seattle will love,” and the Detroit News mentions “a deep center console that can be heated or cooled with an air outlet.”
“The rear seat has excellent amenities," says the Detroit News, “including new air vents with fan control, an ashtray, an armrest with pop-out cupholders and individual, airplane-style reading lights.”
Autobytel praises the generous list of standard equipment even in the base model, including “heated and signaling rearview mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels and 215/55 tires, keyless entry, an MP3 player, front-side and side-curtain airbags, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a host of power features.”
Motor Trend looks at the equipment list and concludes that, at about $26,000 with the automatic transmission, the Passat costs more than some of its competitors but still ranks as a strong value. “Extra money buys a nav system, a Bluetooth phone, adaptive cruise control, a heated windshield, and swiveling bi-xenon headlamps,” says Automobile.
CNET takes a closer look at the navigation system and gives its bright LCD screen “high marks for visibility,” and notes it was especially easy to enter locations or get directions to secondary destinations.
Another option that draws comments from reviewers is the optional 600-watt, 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system. It's described by an Autobytel reviewer as “better than just about anything I’ve ever heard inside an automobile.”
The only subject of criticism inside is the standard “smart key,” which Motor Trend says “is an obnoxious little rectangle that, instead of being smart enough to talk to the ignition while still in your pocket, requires insertion into a motorized slot that seems to exist only to break one day.”
TheCarConnection.com’s editors agree that the Passat trumps most of the competition, either in terms of standard equipment on the base model or some of the high-tech luxury features on the top VR6. However, some of the most desirable features, such as the stellar Dynaudio sound system—which TheCarConnection.com’s editors rank as one of the top-sounding systems in any new car—aren’t available on the cheaper models, and adaptive cruise control is only offered on the VR6.