If you can find a 2010 VW Passat on a dealer’s lot, the sticker price will start at a minimum of $27,195. When the 2012 Passats begin appearing at Volkswagen dealerships, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise: the new Passat, now built in the United States, carries a base price of just $19,995, excluding the destination charge of $770. Volkswagen will build the new Passat with three powertrain options and multiple trim levels, ensuring that VW’s mid-size sedan has broader appeal than ever before.
The starting price of $19,995 buys you a Passat with VW’s 2.5-liter, inline-five-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. There are eight trim levels available with the base engine, but even the basic S model gives you automatic dual-zone climate control, steering wheel mounted audio controls and 3 year or 36,000 miles of no charge scheduled maintenance.
Next up is the Passat SE, which still uses the 2.5-liter in-line five, but upgrades the content to include heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a premium audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 2012 Passat SE starts at $23,725.
Returning to the Passat lineup for 2012 is a TDI variant, using VW’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, good for up to 43 mpg on the highway. TDI models will be available with a six-speed manual transmission or Volkswagen’s highly regarded DSG dual-clutch gearbox. All TDI models start at the SE trim level, and the base price is $25,995.
Topping the range is a 3.6-liter VR6 version, available in three trim levels. All come with the DSG gearbox, and all include 18-inch alloy wheels, sport seats, a sunroof and VW’s exclusive Fender premium sound system. Pricing for VR6 Passat models begins at $28,995.
The new models are larger than the outgoing Passat sedans, and feature more rear-seat leg room than the previous version. VW insists that the lower price is not the result of de-contenting, but instead reflects the cost savings realized by building the car in Chattanooga, Tennessee, instead of Germany.