Better World Club

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Remember When Families Drove Station Wagons Instead of SUVs?

Why Not Cart Your Brady Bunch Around in a 2008 Volkswagen Passat Wagon?

Many SUV owners will admit that their gas-guzzling behemoths aren't great for the environment, but cite the need to own a vehicle that can haul their families around. Another option might be the Volkswagen Passat Wagon. While the Passat's 21/29 city/hwy MPG is nothing to write home about (though you should write home more - your mother misses you), it's an improvement over the vast majority of non-hybrid SUVs.

Volkswagen is selling a diesel version of this car in other countries, but not, for whatever reason, in the US. Assuming it does ultimately offer this model to Americans as a diesel, fuel economy will rise dramatically, and drivers will also have the option of using biodiesel as a fuel.


Passat Wagon Quick Stats:

MSRP: $25,200
MPG: 21/29/24 (city/hwy/combined)
Cost to Drive 25 Miles: $4.39
Fuel to Drive 25 Miles: 1.04 gal
Cost of a Fill-up: $70.10
Miles on a Tank: 400 miles
Tank Size: 18.5 gal
Annual Petroleum Consumption: 14.3 barrels/year (1 barrel=42 gallons)
Annual Fuel Cost*: $2633

[*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $4.21 per gallon]

Things People Like About The Passat Wagon (might not apply to all model years):

- Lots of interior room
- Great looking, high-quality interior
- Excellent performance

Things People Don't Like About The Passat Wagon (might not apply to all model years):

- Small stereo controls that are hard to operate without taking one's eyes off the road
- The seat-recline knobs are difficult to reach
- The mileage is the best of the midsize station wagons, but very low compared to the best sedans, compacts, and sub-compacts

Recalls:

Make / Model /Build Year:

Volkswagen / Passat Wagon / 2008

Recall Date: May 22, 2008

Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING

Summary: VOLKSWAGEN IS RECALLING 4,079 MY 2008 PASSAT AND 2,500 MY 2009 TIGUAN PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 2.0T FSI ULEV II ENGINES. THESE VEHICLES HAVE AN ENGINE CONTROL MODULE (ECM) CONTAINING SOFTWARE THAT MAY NOT PROPERLY CONTROL ENGINE IDLE WITH THE AIR CONDITIONING TURNED ON. IN RARE CASES, THE ECM MAY UNEXPECTEDLY INCREASE ENGINE RPM.

Consequence: AN ENGINE SURGE CAUSED BY AN UNEXPECTED INCREASE IN ENGINE RPM MAY SURPRISE THE VEHICLE OPERATOR AND CAN RESULT IN A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.

Remedy: DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND UPDATE THE ECM SOFTWARE FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON MAY 30, 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT VOLKSWAGEN AT 1-800-893-5298.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Safety Ratings:

Frontal Driver Rating: 4 Stars
Frontal Passenger Rating: 4 Stars
Side Driver Rating: 5 Stars
Side Rear Passenger Rating: 4 Stars
Rollover Rating: 4 Stars


5 Stars = 10% or less chance of serious injury
4 Stars = 11% to 20% chance of serious injury
3 Stars = 21% to 35% chance of serious injury
2 Stars = 36% to 45% chance of serious injury
1 Star = 46% or greater chance of serious injury

[The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Frontal Star Ratings should be compared only within the same weight class, or within +/- 250 pounds of the vehicle weight.]

Features:

- Adaptive Automatic Transmission
- Tiptronic(R) Manually Interactive Automatic Transmission
- Dual Final Drive Ratio 3.94; 3.09
- 6-Speed Manual Transmission With Overdrive
- Power Rack and Pinion Steering
- Telescopic Steering Column
- Tilt Steering Column
- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Independent Multi-Link Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Rear Stabilizer Bar
- Front Power Outlet
- 1 Rear Seat and 1 Cargo Area Power Outlet
- 12-Volt, 60-Amp/Hour Battery
- Drive-By-Wire Control For Throttle
- Audio Pre-Wiring
- Brake Assistance
- Hill Start Control
- Traction Control
- Engine Stabilization Program(ESP(R)) Vehicle Stability Control System
- Locking Differential
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Front Power 312-mm Vented Disc and Rear Power 280-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- Auto Engage Parking Brake
- Front Side Airbags
- Passenger Airbag Cutoff
- Side Curtain Protection(R) Side Head Curtain Airbags
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Rear 3-Point Center Seatbelt
- Driver Airbag
- Passenger Airbag
- Front Active Head Restraints
- Front and Rear 3-Point Seatbelts
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Front and Rear Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Child Safety Door Locks Located On Rear Doors
- Power Door Locks Operated Via Key, Remote and Internal Switch With Automatic Locking
- Selective Unlocking
- Radio Anti-Theft
- Valet Lockout
- Power Tailgate Lock/Unlock
- Vehicle Anti-Theft Via Alarm and Immobilizer III Engine Immobilizer
- Wheel Locks
- Remote Controls & Remote Releases
- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob
- Multi-Function Remote Operates Door Lock/Unlock, Liftgate and Panic Alarm
- Remote Decklid Release Located Inside Vehicle and On Multi-Function Remote
- Panic Alarm
- Remote Fuel Door Release Located Inside Vehicle
- Driver Power Seat Adjusts 12 Ways Total
- Driver Power Lumbar Support
- Rear 60/40 Split Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests and Fold-Down Center Armrest
- Leatherette Seats
- Front Dual Reclining Bucket Seats, Passenger Side Manually Adjusts 8-Ways Total With Adjustable Seat Height and Adjustable Headrests
- Cargo Organizer
- Covered Lower Console Storage Located On Floor
- Retractable Cargo Area Cover
- Cargo Area Tiedown Hooks
- Coinholder
- 4 Cupholders Total (2 Front and 2 Rear)
- Front and Rear Dual Door Mounted Storage
- Lockable Glovebox
- Front Dual Seatback Storage Pockets
- Overhead Console Storage
- Exterior Rails
- Rear Armrest Storage
- Trip Computer With Stop Watch and Trip Odometer
- Compass
- Cruise Control
- Exterior Temperature Gauge
- Tachometer
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Digital Clock
- Audible Warnings Include Headlights-On and Seatbelts Unfastened
- Front Map Lights
- Interior Load Area Light
- Illuminated Entry
- Delayed Courtesy Light
- Daytime Running Lights
- Halogen Headlights
- AM/FM Radio With 8 Speakers Total; CD Player; MP3 Player
- Front Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
- Radio Antenna
- Interior Pollen Air Filter
- Rear Seat HVAC Ducts
- Manual Air Conditioning
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Cargo Area
- Rear Carpeted Floor Mats
- Front Carpeted Floor Mats
- Leather Located On Shift Knob
- Power Liftgate
- Full-Size Spare Tire
- SBRP215/55HR16, All-Season Tires
- Alloy Wheels, 16-In. X 7-In.
- Dual Body Color Power Adjustable Heated Signaling Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Power Window Lockout
- Manual Sunshade Located On Side Windows
- Rear Window Wiper/Washer
- Power Windows With Front One-Touch Up, One-Touch Down and Pinch Protection
- Front Dual Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
- Rear Window Defroster
- Tinted Glass
- Front Dual Sunvisors
- Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Metallic Paint (If Selected)
- Front and Rear Body Color Bumpers
- Front Air Dam
- Chrome Grille With Black Slats

Not-So-Quick Stats:

Standard Engine: 2.0L I4
Standard Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
Cylinders: 4
Horsepower @ RPM: 200@5100
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy: 21/29
Combined Fuel Economy: 24
EPA Class: Mid-Size Wagon
Number of Valves: 16
Torque @ RPM: 207@1800 (foot-lbs)
Fuel Type/System: Gas Engine / Electronic Fuel Injected
Turbo (yes/no): Yes
Overdrive Transmission: Yes
Battery Output: N/A
Compression: 10.3:1
Displacement: 1984 / 121
Bore X Stroke: 3.20x3.70
Cruising Range: 425.5 miles
Final Drive Gear Ratio Opt: N/A
Power To Weight Ratio: 16.9
Final Drive Ratio: 3.50
Valves Configuration: Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam
Supercharged: No
Electric HorsePower RPM: N/A
Electric Torque Feet Per Pound: N/A
Electric Torque RPM: N/A
Electric HorsePower BHP: N/A
Cargo Volume (EPA): 36 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (MFR): 35.8 cu. ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5
Passenger Volume (EPA): 96
Passenger Volume (MFR): 97.1
Brakes (Front): Disc
Brakes (Rear): Disc
Driveline: Front Wheel Drive
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Steering Left: 35.8
Suspension: Independent
Tire Type: Passenger
Tire Width: 215 mm
Tire Aspect Ratio: 55
Tire Construction: Radial
Tire Wheel Diameter: 16 in.
Seating: 5
Headroom (Front): 38.3
Headroom (Row 2): 38.6
Legroom (Front): 41.4
Legroom (Row 2): 37.7
Shoulder Room (Front): 55.7
Shoulder Room (Row 2): 54.6
Curb Weight MT: 3338
Curb Weight AT: 3378
Ground Clearance: 5.2
Height: 59.7
Length: 188.0
Top Type: Hard Fixed
Wheelbase: 106.7
Width: 71.7
Doors: 4

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5 Comments:

  • Skip the Passat! Buy a cheaper more fuel efficient VW Jetta Sprotwagen TDI diesel. You'll be able to get 40-50MPG, and run biodiesel!
    http://www.vw.com/jettasportwagen/tdi/en/us/
    Sticker price of $23,590 for a well appointed TDI clean diesel sportwagen, vs. $25,200 for the base model Passat Wagon.
    Sure the Sportwagen is 10 cubic feet smaller in interior space, but you could buy a pretty big rooftop cargo box with the $2000 you save off the sticker, and fill it with all the cash you save at the pump!

    By Anonymous colorado_al, At August 22, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

  • While they ride great (I own a 2003 4Motion wagon), reliability for VW is really terrible. Check Consumer Reports if you don't believe me. I've had three front brake jobs done in a car with less than 60K on it, along with a whole host of recall and warranty repairs. Caveat emptor!

    By Blogger Bevix, At August 23, 2008 at 7:02 PM  

  • A VW Jetta TDI (turbo diesel) is the way to go. I get 45 to 53 mpg. You do need to stay on top of the service but we've got 250,000 miles on it and never worry. If the US had cleaner diesel like Europe does (including bio-diesel), there'd be even fewer service needs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 24, 2008 at 5:48 PM  

  • Whenever we travel in Germany we rent a VW Diesel - Passat Wagon or Golf, depending on if the kids are with us. The Manual expressively says NOT to use Bio-Diesel which in Germany would be the less expensive choice. Otherwise, especially with the six speed manual transmission, these are really efficient. At home in the US we have a 1998 Passat 1.8, it's very well engineered and driving conservatively in moderate weather I can get up to 35mpg.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 15, 2009 at 12:00 PM  

  • Hey there! I have Passat Wagon just like that! And now, unfortunately, my ignition key broke inside and I can't remove it from there! Maybe you know some tricks or solutions? Or you think I need to call my locksmith http://locksmithpalocksmith.com/ anyway?

    By Blogger Andrew Rogerson, At September 30, 2016 at 3:13 AM  

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