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STYLING | 7 out of 10
“simple, orderly cabin that stands apart from some of the flashier competition”
“pleasing to the eye”
“Inside, the Passat 3.6L is gorgeous”
The Volkswagen Passat is fully redesigned for the 2006 model year, and while its exterior styling and rethought proportions aren’t universally loved, its interior now finds broad acclaim from critics and reviewers.
Critics clearly differ on the 2008 Volkswagen Passat’s exterior appearance. Autobytel thinks that the Passat lacks the proper proportions, especially from the side, pointing to its “long overhangs at a time when contemporary design demands that the wheels get pushed out to the corners,” but Motor Trend positively gushes, noting the “clean, sleek exterior shape.”
Another reviewer, at the Detroit News, thinks that the Passat is simply too fancy for a Volkswagen, describing it as “laden with chrome and a too-flashy medallion-shaped grille.” However, Edmunds has positive words, noting the “shiny chrome grille and scooped headlamps,” and declaring, “From the front, the car looks aggressive, from the back it looks more like a roomy family sedan. Sounds contradictory, but it’s actually quite balanced.”
Reviewers are almost universally positive about the interior. “The analog gauges would look at home in a car costing twice as much,” declares Edmunds, “and even its 12-way leather sport seats show design influence from classic Ferraris.”
The Detroit News likes the two-tone gray-and-black interior in their test car, which “was more understated than the car's exterior, with carbon-fiber trim touches and just a bit of chrome in places like the shift lever surround.” So does Autobytel, noting the two-tone theme and real aluminum trim. “Decked out in two-tone trim separated by a generous strip of real aluminum, the Passat is definitely upscale,” the reviewer says. “The dashboard flows downward from the cowl, creating an open and airy feel to the cabin.” Motor Trend appreciates the “simple, orderly cabin that stands apart from some of the flashier competition.”
Like many other reviewers cited here, TheCarConnection.com’s editors aren’t in love with the wall-of-chrome front end, the long overhangs, or the overall proportions, but TheCarConnection.com appreciates the understated opulence of the interior, which has a mix of surfaces and materials that are softer and more welcoming than we’ve come to expect from the German brand.
The 2008 Volkswagen Passat sedan isn’t going to win friends from a distance, but get up close and go inside to see if you like it.