From the outside, the Volkswagen Passat wagon’s design is more cohesive and attractive than the sedan, with better proportions. There are no exaggerated flares or curves, just sloping lines (the roof) and smooth undulations in the bodywork (wheel arches).
Some reviewers, though, aren't big fans of the excessive chrome used on the outside. The Detroit News describes the Passat 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.”
MyRide.com is one of the few sources to claim that the Passat lacks the right 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.”
Nearly everyone will appreciate the understated opulence of the Passat's interior, which mixes softer and more welcoming surfaces and materials than the stark look associated with products from this German brand in the past. “The dashboard flows downward from the cowl, creating an open and airy feel to the cabin,” observes MyRide.com, noting the two-tone theme and real aluminum trim and saying that "the Passat is definitely upscale.” Motor Trend appreciates the “simple, orderly cabin that stands apart from some of the flashier competition.” 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.”
“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.”