2022 Volkswagen Passat R-Line new car reviews

Photography Courtesy VW

Can the Passat survive in the same space the Arteton exists? (Spoiler: No it can't, as the Passat was axed this past January.)

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J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

The Passat was further proof that VW’s MQB chassis is one of the most versatile and competent platforms in the automotive world. Bigger than a Jetta or Golf, the Passat stretched the MQB architecture into a form factor reminiscent of the Kia K5 or Hyundai Sonata, and the result—particularly in the R-Line trim we sampled–was every bit as engaging to drive as the sportiest versions of those cars.

If you noticed that we referred to the Passat in the past tense in that first sentence, well, that’s because VW pulled the plug on the car back in January citing slow sales. So yeah, thanks for keeping that one in the press fleet.

Thinking that maybe this discontinuation of a solid automobile meant that good deals were out there to be had, I looked at nearly every VW dealer in Florida and couldn’t find a single Passat in stock anywhere.

Maybe there are deals out there to be had, but certainly not anywhere near me.

However, if you’re one of the lucky ones to find a good bargain on a leftover Passat, you’ll find one of the more satisfying expressions of the already highly satisfying MQB chassis. Power levels ae a bit lower than some of its competitors, but as a long-distance cruiser that makes you feel engaged in the act of driving without being exhausting, the Passat nails it.

The steering is among the best of any sedan its size, and the ergonomics and basic controls are spot on for a variety of driver sizes. It’s not fancy, but everything feels like it’s built of high-quality materials and put together by people and robots who give a crap. In other words, all the best parts of German cars.

It’s a bummer that the Passat is disappearing because the Arteon that will likely be pushed by dealers in its place is a bit bigger still–despite being built on the ubiquitous MQB platform. The Arteon is also a great driving car, but the Passat was such a nice ‘tweener, filling that gap between compact and full-size.

And ultimately that’s probably why it was canned. It was a car without a clear slot in the hierarchy, despite its inherent goodness.

So pour one out for the Passat, and know it went out a winner.

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