Thursday, February 9, 2023
Reviews The Brief: 2018 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

The Brief: 2018 Volkswagen Passat R-Line

Large midsize sedan for those who want one

I’m no data freak but I enjoy looking at sales numbers and extrapolating obvious conclusions. When I picked up the 2018 Passat, I figured sales figures were dismal for this car so when I got home, I did a little research. I quickly discovered that the Passat is far from the worst seller in the segment but as a whole, midsize cars are dying a slow painful death.

The Volkswagen Passat has been slightly revised for the 2018 model year. The most important change is located under the bonnet. A turbocharged 2.0-litre TSI 4-cylinder replaces the previous 1.8-litre turbo. The other is the addition of a new GT trim level with a number of go-fast-looking-bits and a standard 280-horsepower 3.6-litre V6 engine.

My tester was the top-line Highline with R-Line and Driver Assistance packages for a total price of $39,375. Other than the fact that this is a plain old sedan, the car is surprisingly classy, and well appointed. Certain aspects of the cavernous cabin are a little dated, such as the smaller screen, but as a whole, it remains relevant.

The list of included features runs from VW’s App-Connect, power seats, leather, Fender audio, sunroof, navigation and on and on. The price is justifiable by the impressive overall level of refinement as well.

The current Passat has been with us since the 2012 model year but in spite of that, the drive is still very good. The big vdub is exactly that and it feels its girth and weight. Essentially dubbed the North American Passat (built in Chattanooga, TN), this car was built with large car lovers in mind.

The long wheelbase and amply supple dampers offer up a comfortable ride. Despite the presence of 19” wheels and paddles shifters included in the R-Line package, there’s nothing sporty about the automobile. The 2.0-litre engine and attached 6-speed automatic transmission are fun however. The mill produces all of its 184 lb.-ft. of torque as of 1,500 rpm for quick off the line acceleration.

The unique failings of this decent sedan are that it’s a sedan and does not offer AWD. A mid-trim Comfortline Passat with options retails for over $33k which is enough to get you a Trendline 4MOTION AWD 2018 Tiguan with the same engine and an 8-speed autobox. No competition here, I’m afraid.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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