2017 VW Passat V6 SEL Premium Review and Road Test

I have reviewed a lot of Volkswagens (and Audis) and I’ve liked almost all of them. The Beetle R-Line and the Beetle Dune Coupe – fun and iconic. The Golf SE and the Golf GTI S – sporty street machines, and the e-Golf SEL Premium, perhaps the best, affordable, all electric plug-in on the market. And most recently, the CC R-Line Executive Sedan, VW’s top-end sedan – executive luxury. So I was interested to see where the 2017 Passat V6 SEL Premium would fit in at a price of $33,995.  It was one model below the CC R-Line Executive Sedan, which cost approximately $37,820, but the most loaded Passat you could buy. I was curious how much, if anything, I would be giving up to save that $4,000. As loaded as the Passat SEL Premium appeared to be, I wasn’t sure I’d be missing much, if anything

The first thing that stands out with the 2017 Passat SEL Premium is the interior – just like with all of the other VW’s I have reviewed. Volkswagen does an amazing job with their interiors. The seats are amazing. Clad in white leather with raised horizontal piping running across the seats. A light grey simulated wood grain on the dash. The Discover Media 6.3 inch infotainment touchscreen with nav is tied into the dash in a very seamless and streamlined fashion. Its a very sophisticated looking and attractive interior that doesn’t feel cheap or look like its made out of cheap materials like many other sedans at this price point do.

The Passat SEL Premium comes loaded so the base price is the price. With an $820 destination charge, it comes it at a very affordable $34,815. Inclusive in the price are the technology options, safety options, exterior trim options and interior goodies that usually add $5,000-$8,000 to the price of most other sedans. Sometimes its nice to buy a car where there’s just one price. Its easy to understand. Its easy to know what your getting. You are getting everything that that car has to offer. If you aren’t a highly optioned vehicle buyer, then this isn’t the car for you. But you can choose from the 1.8T Passat’s starting with the S for $22,440, the SE for $25,495 or the SE w/ Technology for $27,9995. You can also get the R-Line Passat for $23,975 or the larger engine V6 Passat SE with Technology for $29,295 or the SEL Premium for $33,995. There is a Passat at every price point and with  every option package that a consumer could want to buy.

So what do you get for almost $35,000 in the Passat SEL Premium? You start out with VW’s naturally aspired 3.6L FSI DOHC VR direct injection engine putting out a respectable 280 horsepower matted to a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission driving 18-inch alloy wheels with all season tires. It’s a quick engine and is appropriately powered for the weight and size of the car. On the safety tech front it has all the new technologies. You don’t see very many manufacturers putting this many safety tech options in a $35,000 sedan. Here is what you get:

  • Review camera;
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (a must for any serious commuter);
  • Front Assist (includes autonomous emergency braking);
  • Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist);
  • Park Steering Assist with Park Pilot; and
  • Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Traffic Alert.

If you haven’t looked at new cars in awhile you will see that that is a ton of safety tech for a $35,000 sedan to have. And all of it is worth every penny.

You also get the interior comforts that most people expect but that you don’t always find in a car in the mid 30’s:

  • 6.33 inch touchscreen with nav;
  • Fender premium audio system with 400 watts of power and 8 speakers plus subwoofer;
  • Leather seats;
  • Heated front and rear seats; and
  • 8-way power front seats.

Drivability of the 2017 Passat V6 SEL Premium is pure Volkswagen. Its very peppy and quick with tight steering and a tightly tuned suspension. I found the Passat to be much quicker and more fun to drive then the CC R-Line that I recently took on a road trip to Hershey, PA. The interior of the CC R-Line is technically larger then the Passat, but it felt about the same. The cargo space in the Passat however, is almost 3 cu. ft. larger then the CC coming in at 15.9 cu. ft. compared with 13.2 cu. ft. for the CC.  I definitely could feel the additional 80 horses in the Passat which gets you from 0-60 in about 5.7 seconds compared with 6.5 seconds for the CC. Although I thought the interior of the CC R-Line was a bit more luxurious, I’ll take the larger trunk, the bigger quicker engine and the $4,000 in savings and go with the 2017 Jetta V6 SEL Premium – a great sedan at the mid $30k price point.

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