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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Four stars, frontal; five and four stars, side
Good," frontal; "good," side; "good," rear; Top Safety Pick
“high marks for visibility”
The 2010 Passat has a generous list of safety features, but doesn't perform quite as well as some rivals in crash tests.
It gets four-star ratings in frontal impact and four- and five-star results in side impact from the federal government, along with top "good" results in frontal and side tests, plus "good" ratings for rear impact from the IIHS.
But the Volkswagen Passat offers a range of safety features virtually unrivalled among mid-size sedans. Front side and full-length head/curtain airbags are standard, while side-thorax bags for backseat passengers are optional. The Detroit News reports that the optional rear side-torso airbags, a $350 option, “supplement the side air curtains by protecting the torso.” CNET adds, “There are seven crash sensors: three internally in the air-bag control unit, two in the front doors, and two in the lower C-pillars.” According to MSN Autos, “The Passat wagon has standard front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags, along with anti-lock brakes.” This is good, they note, because “[m]ost wagons are bought as family vehicles, so buyers pay particular attention to safety items.”
“Though the center rear seat—the best place for a child-safety seat — lacked anchors, it was easy to use an anchor from each outboard seat to tightly secure a child-safety seat,” says Cars.com of the wagon.
CNET finds the optional adaptive front lighting system "very useful at night, as not only do the headlights swivel with the steering to illuminate the road ahead even around corners, but auxiliary cornering lights cover what are too often blind spots to the side with bright light in sharp turns, such as into a driveway.”
Crash-test results aren't a high point for the 2010 Volkswagen Passat, but it offers more safety features than most other mid-size sedans or wagons in this price range.