A 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the only engine offered across the entire Passat lineup; that's fine, as the engine provides good performance and impressive economy with the six-speed automatic transmission. The suspension and steering lend the 2010 Passat a responsive, tossable feel; it handles and maneuvers well, but not as sharply as a sport sedan.
Car and Driver has no complaints about the Passat Wagon’s pep in around-town driving, but the reviewer is critical about the lack of smoothness when the accelerator is mashed to the floor. “Nail the throttle, and a two-part dance ensues: a molasses-slow waltz up to 2800 rpm, then a turbocharged tango to redline, with the front tires chirping and clawing and evincing a dollop of torque steer.” Car and Driver notes that the four-cylinder wagon can get to 60 mph in only 7.2 seconds, making it faster than a V-6 Ford Fusion. Most, however, are satisfied with the power available from the 2.0T engine. Motor Trend compliments the engine’s smoothness and its 0-60 time of only 6.7 seconds, but mentions that it takes premium fuel only; separately, Motor Trend says the four is one of the strongest in its class and “leaves rivals gasping in its exhaust fumes.”
A six-speed automatic transmission is the only remaining companion with the four-cylinder engine. And while TheCarConnection.com finds it relatively smooth and responsive, not all reviewers agree. MyRide.com says it “feels like it chokes the engine’s smooth power with lagging in low gears.” The transmission has a sport mode, but “the accelerator is touchy and the downshifts are intrusive,” the MyRide.com reviewer notes. Edmunds also points out that they don’t use the Sport mode “partly because the gearchanges and throttle inputs become too abrupt for smooth city driving.”
The 2010 VW Passat is no performance car, but it's enjoyable to drive, with a nimble, light-footed feel on the road. The Detroit News attests that the “electro-mechanical power rack-and-pinion steering system provides good on-center feel and gives the average driver a lot of confidence, especially at highway speeds.” The same reviewer adds, “The Passat is a snap to maneuver, especially in tight parking spaces and U-turns.” “The electro-mechanical steering is sharp and has nice road feel,” says MSN Autos, also complimenting the brakes. Car and Driver asserts the steering “lends this wagon an airy and agile feel that camouflages its 3,492 pounds.” Edmunds labels the steering as “oddly numb on center and unnaturally light,” yet comments positively that “turn-in is crisp and its stability noteworthy.” Car and Driver adds, “The effort is low at all speeds, there’s no kickback, interstate tracking is exemplary, and path control is, well, German.” Cars.com seems to like the light steering feel, as well, remarking that “it feels like the wheel is connected directly to a giant ball bearing; it’s that smooth, and wouldn’t be out of place in a Lexus sedan.”
The 2010 Passat gets impressive fuel economy. MyRide.com reports, “While traveling between southern California and Las Vegas, we recorded between 25 and 31 mpg depending on how far we bent the speed limit signs.”