It's a strange feeling reviewing a vehicle in its very last year of production (at least until its nameplate is revived in some other form, as automakers are apt to do these days.) Such is the case with my test drive this week, the 2022 Volkswagen Passat. A sedan with a long history in the U.S. but one that ends with the 2022 model year as VW turns its focus to electric vehicles. (In fact the Passat is no longer listed on VW's consumer website. ) My review model is a special Limited Edition that marks the end of the Passat's nearly 50-year run in the States. VW says it will only build 1,973 of them, as 1973 marks the year the first Passat was launched in Germany.
The Limited Edition pays homage to the city of Chattanooga where the last Passat rolled off the production line earlier this year. Only 411 of the Limited models will be available in my test model's Aurora Red Metallic hue which comes with a Titan Black interior. 411 signifies the original vehicle production code.
It rides on terrific-looking, exclusive,18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Special Limited badging also denotes its status as do black mirror caps for the power-folding side mirrors. LED headlights and tail lights are standard on the lineup. The Limited model adds an Adaptive Front Lightning System with cornering lights.
The Passat lineup is powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged engine paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers 174-horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration off the line was better than expected for being under 200-hp and I found the engine to be on the quiet side.
The first thing that strikes you about the Passat's interior is how roomy and open it is. The well-designed interior is a mix of soft-touch materials, wood and plastic. The polished vibe is more executive than sporty.
The Limited features perforated Vienna leather seating. It adds a power driver’s seat and power passenger seat—both with power-adjustable lumbar support. Heated front seats are standard across the lineup. Seats are wide and fairly flat with comfortable cushions.
The Limited Edition seats features unique tags. One signifies the number of the vehicle, "1 of 1973". Another reads “VW Chattanooga Since 2011”.
The leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel is a little firmer than I'd expect for a sedan that skews towards the less-sporty side overall. The driver display area is outdated given VW's newer technology (check out the Golf) but it's functional with a small digital display in between two analog dials.
A fairly wide center stack hosts the multimedia touchscreen surrounded by glossy black. Dual climate controls buttons and dials sit beneath it. Underneath that you'll find a storage area, 12-volt and a USB Port.
The center console hosts the leather-wrapped gear shifter and hand parking brake, which seems out of place for the segment. If you look closely at the cupholders you'll notice something unusual. A mat features aerial maps of the city and an aerial line drawing of the Chattanooga factory.
There is an enormous amount of room in the second row as well. Passengers enjoy their own A/C vents and 2 USB ports back as well as a drop-down armrest with cupholders.
The Passat's roominess extends to its trunk. There's plenty of cargo space and the Limited edition is equipped with an Easy Open trunk and compact spare.
Standard equipment includes push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, automatically dimming rearview mirror and dual-zone climate.
A power tilt sunroof is also standard and rather than a button or switch, it operates via knob.
Technology and Sound
The Passat Limited is equipped with standard Volkswagen MIB2 -- and adds VW's Discover Media system with HD Radio and 2.5D navigation. It's a responsive system that's is equipped with voice command and is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth. The multimedia hosts a large rearview camera view.
The Limited Edition comes with an upgraded 400-watt Fender Premium Audio system with eight speakers, which I enjoyed.
Ride and Drive
The Passat delivers a comfortable, smooth and quiet ride and drive with a loose steering feel. To make a comparison, I prefer the Passat's engine over the Camry's -- it's not as noisy off the line and acceleration was just fine even though it's not as powerful. But to me, the Camry provides better handling, with a tighter steering feel and response.
Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist are standard across the lineup.
The Limited Edition is additionally equipped with Park Assist with front and rear Park Distance Control and Light Assist (High Beam Control for Headlights).
What You'll Pay
Pricing for the 2022 Passat Limited Edition starts at $30,295 MSRP with a destination cost of $995. The Aurora Red Metallic exterior color option is an additional $395.
The VW Passat Limited Edition is a nice send-off for a sedan that's done very well in the U.S. over nearly five decades. The thoughtful details will no doubt make it a sentimental purchase for those who buy it. Overall, and I say this as someone who once leased one, while the Passat is a nice, old-school style sedan that is well-engineered, it's not an overly exciting one.
- What I liked most: Color and unique Limited Edition design details.
- What I would change: Technology.
- MSRP: Base price: $30,295. As equipped: $31,290.
- Fuel Economy: 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,103 miles.
- Weight: 3,430 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 193.6 in” long/72.2 ” wide/58.0” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons with fuel tank on the passenger side.
- Official Color: Aurora Red Metallic.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 VW Passat Limited Edition in a few words: A well-executed Limited Edition that does the polished Passat justice in its final model year.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty/7-year/100,000-mile Corrosion Perforation; 2-years/20,000 miles carefree maintenance; 3-years roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Chattanooga, TN
- Manufacturer's website: Volkswagen