These days, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. This is especially true for the automotive industry, where the decision to go with one model over another often comes down to the most minor of details. In the entertainment industry, they call it being forgettable. When it comes to trends, well, in the words of a famous German fashionista, “Either you’re in or you’re out.”
Volkswagen recently released details on the 2021 Passat. And while it continues in the V-dub trend, there’s not much setting it apart from the previous year’s model. We believe that’s a misstep for VW in the current automotive climate, but don’t let us influence your opinion. Check out the details on the 2021 Passat below, and make the choice on your own.
Volkswagen fits the 2021 Passat with a singular power plant. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder. Making 174 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, this engine pairs solely with a six-speed automatic transmission. The newest Passat only comes in front-wheel drive.
Below are the colors we expect to see on the 2021 VW Passat. You may recognize them from the 2020 model lineup.
- Pure White
- Reflex Silver Metallic
- Platinum Gray Metallic
- Deep Black Pearl
- Aurora Red Metallic
- Tourmaline Blue Metallic
Trimlines and Pricing
With a starting price around $25,000, the base S model comes with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and cloth upholstery. Modest accoutrements include manually adjusted seats, 17-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and a 6.3-inch touchscreen. In a word: rental.
Choosing the mid-level SE model unlocks 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, a sunroof, and keyless entry. Push button start makes life easier as well. We suggest you skip the S model and at least spring for the $27,990 SE version. It’s worth the extra money.
You’ll have to spring for the (now) top-of-the-line R-Line model if you want any sort of appreciable creature comforts. These include paddle shifters, 19-inch wheels, navigation, and the Fender Premium Audio system. Exterior upgrades include a blacked-out look, complete with chrome exhaust tips. The sunroof now tilts and slides. This model should cost slightly more than $30,000.
The 2021 Passat has yet to be evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the 2020 model received good scores from the IIHS. We don’t expect VW to make the 2021 model any less safe.
Volkswagen equips the 2021 Passat with front-traffic assist with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. For an extra fee, you can also add automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, parking-steering assistant, park-distance control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Suffice it to say the 2021 Passat is well-equipped to keep you safe.
The EPA rates the 2021 Volkswagen Passat at 24 and 36 highway estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG). That’s about one tick higher than the 2020 version. Without a more powerful engine option or all-wheel drive, every version of the 2021 Passat is rated exactly the same. So at least you don’t have to worry about balancing power, price, and fuel costs.
German automakers certainly bring a personality all their own to the industry. Mercedes-Benz is known for high class at a premium price. If you buy a BMW, it’s for the horsepower (and not necessarily the practicality of it). But Volkswagen is a hard one to forget, especially after the whole “Dieselgate” scandal.
So where does the 2021 VW Passat fit? Well, it sort of blends in, rather than stands out. This four-door sedan, which adds girth to the Jetta platform to make it the largest sedan VW produces, doesn’t strike a pose the way a Honda Civic Type R can. There’s no hybrid or all-wheel drive model. And with a six-speed transmission in a world of eight- and nine-speeds, we wouldn’t call the Passat “peppy” either.
Competing in today’s sedan segment more or less means adding as many features as you’d find on a mid-size SUV to the sedan’s smaller platform. Doing so, however, puts many of the sedans equipped with higher trims in the same pricing territory as those SUVs. There’s still a market out there for family sedans, no doubt. However, winning over that small niche isn’t as easy as it used to be.
For example, many in the industry consider the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry to be mainstays. They are nameplates that have done incredibly well in the past and should continue to do so. Hyundai’s Sonata, Kia’s new K5, and the Volkswagen Passat are what you might consider part of the B-team, since they’re not as well known. That’s not to say they haven’t made strides to correct that in recent years. Nissan’s Maxima certainly has the attitude to stand out in front of audiences. And the Chevrolet Malibu makes city driving easy as is possible with a small footprint and practical interior.
The Passat’s Sweet Spot
Don’t let all of this talk of stiff competition lead you to believe the VW Passat isn’t a great value. There are many areas where it shines, though it may not be the brightest set of headlights on the lot. Kelley Blue Book, for instance, named the 2021 Passat’s strong suits “its combination of sportiness and comfort, huge back seat and trunk, reasonable starting price, and excellent safety ratings.” Customers who purchase the 2021 VW Passat will receive free maintenance for the first two years. There’s also a four-year/50,000-mile warranty to boot.
“The build quality is exactly what you would expect from a German vehicle,” notes CarIndigo, from the solid feel of the doors as they close to the overall look of the interior.
The key thing about the 2021 Passat is that it fits the bill — but doesn’t go a single penny over. Safe, reliable, and solidly-built, the Passat gets you where you need to go. It provides an enjoyable (if not necessarily memorable) experience. It certainly exudes a stereotypical German no-nonsense practicality. It feeds your appetite without leaving your taste buds watering. In a world of practicality and function, the 2021 VW Passat is king.
The Last Word
We’ve covered a great many details on the 2021 Volkswagen Passat, but there’s still plenty more to know about this jack-of-many-trades vehicle. Check with your local VW dealership today to find out more about the 2021 Passat, from financing deals, available add-ons, leasing opportunities and much more. And if you’re still not sure which family sedan to buy, click around our site. We’ve got the reviews and details you need to make an informed decision.