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2013 Volkswagen Passat Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Green
BASE INVOICE
$19,990
BASE MSRP
$20,845
On Green
The base and top engines aren't leaders, but the VW Passat's turbodiesel has excellent fuel economy.
8.0 out of 10
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GREEN | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: 31/43 mpg, 35 mpg combined (manual); 30/40 mpg, 34 mpg combined (DSG)
EPA

2013 Volkswagen Passat: 22/32 mpg, 26 mpg combined (five-cylinder manual); 22/31 mpg, 25 mpg combined (five-cylinder automatic); 20/28 mpg, 23 mpg combined (V-6 automatic)
EPA

Disappointingly, there's no fuel economy to be gained from giving up power. Paired with the automatic, the 2.5-liter makes the same 22/31 mpg city/highway as the turbo 2.0-liter did in the previous Passat.
Automobile

the diesel’s maddeningly upshift-happy gearbox...doggedly yanks you into a higher gear and away from grunt whenever possible. Blame the TDI’s 43-mpg highway fuel-economy rating.
Car and Driver

With an expected EPA rating on the highway of 43 mpg, the Passat TDI certainly sounds appealing.
Inside Line

The Passat underachieves on fuel economy, at least where gasoline is concerned. But it handily outstrips most of the competition, including some hybrids, when its stellar turbodiesel numbers are factored in.

The standard-issue, 170-horsepower, five-cylinder Passat doesn't quite match the benchmarks in the mid-size sedan segment. It's rated by the EPA at 22 miles per gallon city, 32 miles per gallon highway, for a combined rating of 26 mpg. That's the manual-transmission model; the automatic-equipped sedan has a highway rating of 31 mpg. Compared to the four-cylinder economy of the 2013 Nissan Altima--it's rated at 38 mpg--this Passat can't quite keep up the pace.

On the V-6 Passat, which comes only with an automatic transmission, the EPA pegs it at 20/28 mpg, or 23 mpg combined. It's a bit more competitive with the other top-line models in its class, but far off the mark of more powerful four-cylinder turbos like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

The turbodiesel Passat TDI is where the fuel-economy action is. Offered with a five-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic without shift paddles, the Passat TDI checks in with an EPA rating of 31/43 mpg for the manual, and 30/40 mpg for the dual-clutch; they're rated at 35 mpg and 34 mpg combined, respectively. Volkswagen says those figures make the Passat TDI the most fuel-efficient mid-size vehicle offered for sale in the U.S.

Diesel geeks will be interested to see the Passat TDI gets better fuel-economy numbers than the smaller, lighter Jetta TDI. In this case, VW says it's because it uses a urea-spray after-treatment on emissions, which allows it to operate the same engine more efficiently in the larger car. The smaller Jetta's nearly identical turbodiesel goes without the urea treatment, while still keeping its nitrogen-oxide emissions below newer, stricter limits.

Conclusion

The base and top engines aren't leaders, but the VW Passat's turbodiesel has excellent fuel economy.

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