Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The midsize Volkswagen undercuts the competition with attractive pricing to make the case for sedans

COURTESY VOLKSWAGE - The 2020 VW Passat is a handsome, well-balanced German road car that offers a lot of value for the money.Volkswagen has figured out how to sell a sedan when buyers are increasingly favoring crossover SUVs — offer a lot of car for little money.

The well-designed and incredibly roomy midsize 2020 VW Passat starts at $23,915, which is $2,275 less than last year's version. It features a responsive but economical 2.0-liter four cylinder engine mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission, Our even better equipped SE version was under $27,760, including an optional power sunroof.

That's about what some other manufacturers charge for their comparably equipped compact cars these days.

COURTESY VOLKSWAGEN - The interior desgin of the 2020 VW Passat is refreshingly undertated, with clean lines and easy to find and understand controls.

One reason for the bargain pricing is, even the newest version of the Passat is a relatively old car. The current generation was first introduced in 2012, which is a long time in today's automotive world. As a result, some of it is a little behind the time, like the standard 6.3-inch display screen, which is smaller than those now being offered by practically everyone else. On the other hand, not everyone is in love with the iPad-size display screens being offered in more and more cars, which can be distracting to operate. And the backup camera image is good enough.

An 8-inch display screen is available on the top models, however.

But in fact, continual upgrades have helped keep the 2020 Passat competitive. It may not have the most advanced platform or engine, but drives like a German road car should and has plenty of power, especially when the transmission is set in Sport mode. The ride is very quiet, smooth and comfortable, which is what most families are looking for in an affordable midsize car.

COURTESY VOLKSWAGEN - The front bucket seats in the 2020 VW Passat are both supportive and comfortable.

The styling is also contemporary enough, if more restrained than what some competitors are now pushing. Once again, that's not a bad thing. Not everyone wants a car with attention-seeking sharp exterior angles and Star Wars-influenced dashes.

The 2020 Passat is nothing is not tasteful, aided this year by a slightly more aggressive front grill and more pronounced integrated rear spoiler. The interior design remains tasteful, in the traditional German form follows function mode, with deceptively simple controls that are easy to understand and use.

COURTESY VOLKSWAGEN - Rear seat room in the 2020 Volkswagen Passat is enormous for a midsize car.

If all this sounds like VW is selling an update version of a traditional Buick, well, that's not entirely wrong. And it's not a bad thing, either. Affordable family cars don't need to be flashy or packed with the most advanced infotainment systems that hardly anyone can fully understand. It's more important they have ample interior room, a stable ride, enough power to climb hills and keep up with freeway traffic, and a level of refinement that makes the drivers feel good when they get behind the wheel.

The 2002 VW Passat easily exceeds all those expectiatons at a very tempting price. Give it a try before buying that more expensive crossover SUV.

COURTESY VOLKSWAGEN - Redesigned front and rear ends are among the changes to the 2020 VW Passat.

2020 VW Passat SE

Base price: $25,845

Price as tested: $27,760

Style: Midsize sedan

Engine: 2.0-liter 4 (174 hp, 206 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sport mode

EPA fuel economy: 23/34

Length: 191.9 inches

Weight: 3,600 pounds

Final assembly: Chattanooga, Tennessee

COURTESY VOLKSWAGEN - The standard turbocharged 2.0-liter engine produces a respectable 176 horsepower and 206 foot-pounds of torque, more than enough for everyday driving.

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