German engineering shows in VW Passat’s styling, quality

German engineering shows in VW Passat's styling, quality

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To get your hands on a good quality midsize sedan, you probably are ready to spend about $35,500, the national average new car price.

Not the case here. The 2018 Passat GT V6 is proof positive you can get great German engineering, a really cool engine, and the latest driver-assistance toys in a car under $30,000.

The new GT trim is a mashup of the Passat’s R-Line and SE trims, with 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats, and two-tone simulated leather upholstery among its distinguishing features. Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine (280 hp, 258 pound-feet of torque) and paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, think of the GT as a Passat interpretation of the Jetta GLI.

GT features picked up from the R-Line and SE trims include a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with shift paddles), a 6.3-inch touchscreen, HD and satellite radio, VW’s Car-Net smartphone integration (includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink), and unique R-Line styling elements. You also get adaptive cruise control, LED headlights and taillights. Also look for a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a sliding front armrest, and rear air vents.

So was I intrigued by my GT trim, with its V6 engine and sport suspension tuning? Absolutely! It could be the best answer to the Passat’s otherwise sedate nature.

In the VW Passat GT, you can own a family sedan that will still play. Throw your kids in back and take them with you to your favorite stretch of twisty pavement. Think of it as a family-size GTI. It’s quick and sporty, but it’s still practical enough for most any family task.

Driving around long sweepers and tight corners, the Passat’s front end seems eager to bite into a corner. Yet it shines as a supremely comfy and quiet cruiser, especially when long-distance driving is considered. If you go on a lot of road trips, especially with a full load of family or friends, it is a great choice.

The GT comes adorned with several “sporty” style trim pieces. Inside the cabin, you’ll see a piano-black center console, a black headliner, carbon-fiber-look-a-like trim, aluminum doorsills and unique stitch patterns in the leatherette seats, wheel, and shift knob.

The Passat is a 192-inch family sedan, with requisite space inside and footprint outside. Outside, there is a cute black spoiler on the trunk, unique lower front-fascia styling and a smattering of GT badges throughout. All together, it looks sharp enough.

The 3.6-liter narrow-angled V6 makes as much as 280 naturally aspirated hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. Combined with one of the better dual-clutch transmissions in the business, you are never wanting for power.

Is this a backroad burner? No. After all, those 19-inch wheels have Continental ContiProContact all-season tires holding the air. But the Contis grip commendably considering their purpose and match the suspension tuning well

Dig into a corner, or more commonly, an expressway entrance ramp, and lateral grip and body motion respond in the Passat GT just as your butt and hands expect.

With a fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, this German sedan is one of the most old-school American cars on the road. Essentially, it is a full-size sedan for the price of a midsize one.

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at

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