The Passat earns some of the best crash-test scores in the family-sedan segment, and it's gradually improving the availability of some new safety technology we recommend.
Those crash tests prove the Passat's essential safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the sedan an overall rating of five stars, with only a four-star rating for rollover resistance keeping it from a perfect score. (Most sedans are rated four stars in that mathematical test.) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) puts the Passat on its Top Safety Pick+ list, which means it achieves 'good' scores on all current tests. On the new but not-yet-factored-in small-overlap test, the Passat gets an 'acceptable' rating.
Standard equipment on all Passats, apart from the usual airbags and stability control, includes a hill-holder function for manual-transmission models, and Bluetooth, which we consider a safety feature. A rearview camera is now standard on the Passat SE and higher trim levels, but is not available on the Passat S.
Visibility is one of the Passat's strongest safety attributes. The large glass areas, fold-down rear headrests and slim roof pillars give drivers a nearly panoramic view of the world around them.
For this, its third model year, the Passat still lacks the advanced tech features becoming more common on other family sedans--new assistants like front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors. A new service, Car-Net, offers emergency services like those on GM's OnStar system, with stolen-car tracking, speed limits, and remote unlocking, all accessible via a smartphone app.