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2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport Long-Term Update 6

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/10/2015 Motor Trend Staff, Emiliana Sandoval

The Passat has been gobbling up highway miles in three states recently. I drove it to Las Vegas for a girls' weekend. Associate online editor Alex Nishimoto took it to Salt Lake City, and Jason Udy, another of our associate online editors, got behind the wheel for another Las Vegas jaunt.

Let's start from a stop. To start the Passat you insert the key (there's no push-button start, alas) and then press the brake pedal emphatically to get the engine purring. Alex noted that the force required to start the car is noteworthy because when in motion, "the lightest application of pedal pressure will bring you to a seat-belt-locking halt. You get used to the brake feel eventually, but if you get into another car and come back, it takes time to find the pedal's sweet spot again. Also, the brakes squeal when cold."

Several other MT staffers have also commented on the brake pedal. I wondered if touchy brakes were a VW thing, so I borrowed our long-term GTI for a night to compare. Its brake pedal was also on the grabby side but not as zealous as the Passat's. Now and then the pedal also makes a slight sigh upon depression, what I imagine a smushed marshmallow would sound like magnified times a zillion.

Alex had this to say about the ride: "I thought the 1.8-liter turbo engine would feel sluggish in the Passat compared to the smaller Jetta and Golf, but it still pulls strong, offering the low-end punch you need to get in front of that minivan in the next lane as soon as the light turns green. The Passat's combination of good fuel economy and a large tank grants it exceptional range. I was seeing 500 miles to a tank on my drive up to Utah. When I did need to fill up, I appreciated that it accepted regular fuel."

Do you see the cruise control stalk? Nope? Neither do I.© Provided by MotorTrend Do you see the cruise control stalk? Nope? Neither do I. Udy also appreciated the 18.5-gallon gas tank. "I topped it off in Downey, California, and then drove it to Summerlin, Nevada, a suburb west of Las Vegas. I drove it around the local area and then over to the Vegas strip and back. The next morning, I drove all the way to Baker, California, before I filled it up. Even though it still had about 100 miles left on the range indicator, I didn't want to risk making it all the way to Barstow, California, for the next fill up."

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport

I was hoping to crack an average of 35-plus mpg round-trip to Las Vegas, and I did on the way there, but I drove back on a Sunday, which never is a good thing. What should've been a 4.5-hour trip took 7 hours, with stop-and-go, 15-mph traffic from Las Vegas to Primm, Nevada. I know it seems like I'm constantly complaining about not having navigation, but I really could've used it to see how far the traffic stretched because my phone kept losing reception and thus the Waze app stopped working.

Anytime I'm on the freeway I also would like to hear 25 percent less road/wind noise. Often when I'm slowing down on an exit ramp, I'm convinced I've left a back window or two cracked — the noise is that obvious.

© Provided by MotorTrend Overall I find the Passat's driver's seat very supportive and comfortable for everyday commuting (my drive to work is less than 12 miles), but by the time I got home from Las Vegas my right butt and thigh were tingling and I had a slight abrasion on my left neck from the seatbelt rubbing it. Alex has a better time, reporting that "the seats aren't bad. My backside didn't complain much during my 10-hour trip to Utah."

Alex's other thoughts: "For a midsize family sedan, the Passat handles decently. It corners better than a similarly equipped Camry I recently drove. The interior is fine for the most part, but the plastics are embarrassingly cheap-feeling. Even trim pieces that routinely make contact with human body parts are rock-hard. "Volkswagen's cruise control system needs to either move to a separate stalk or be replaced by set of steering-wheel-mounted buttons. The tiny switch on the turn signal stalk is awkward and not easy to operate with both hands on the wheel." I agree. The stalk is on the left side of the steering wheel directly behind the center spoke, and when the wheel is turned slightly to the right you can't even see it. Plus, the font of the writing on the controls is tiny and hard to read without taking your eyes off the road and craning your neck forward. I often forget to use the cruise control because I literally overlook it.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport More on our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport:

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport
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