Volkswagen Reaches Settlement Agreements with U.S. Federal Regulators, Private Plaintiffs and 44 U.S. States on TDI Diesel Engine Vehicles

  • Proposed settlement program includes vehicle buybacks and lease terminations, emissions modifications (if approved) and cash payments to affected customers for approximately 475,000 eligible 2.0L TDI vehicles
  •  Volkswagen agrees to $2.7 billion environmental remediation fund and to invest $2.0 billion in initiatives to promote the use of zero emissions vehicles in the U.S.
  •  Separate resolution with U.S. states settles consumer protection claims

Herndon, Va. /Wolfsburg, Germany (June 28, 2016) – Volkswagen AG announced today that it has reached settlement agreements with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of California; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and private plaintiffs represented by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to resolve civil claims regarding eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI diesel engine vehicles in the United States. Of approximately 499,000 2.0L TDL vehicles that were produced for sale in the United States, approximately 460,000 Volkswagen and 15,000 Audi vehicles are currently in use and eligible for buybacks and lease terminations or emissions modifications, if approved by regulators. Volkswagen will establish a maximum funding pool for the 2.0L TDI settlement program of $10.033 billion. That amount assumes 100% participation and that 100% of eligible customers choose a buyback or lease termination.

The agreements covering the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program are subject to the approval of Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who presides over the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) proceedings related to the diesel matter.

Volkswagen also announced that it has agreed with the attorneys general of 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to resolve existing and potential state consumer protection claims related to the diesel matter for a total settlement amount of approximately $603 million.

“We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward,” said Matthias Müller, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen AG. “We appreciate the constructive engagement of all the parties, and are very grateful to our customers for their continued patience as the settlement approval process moves ahead. We know that we still have a great deal of work to do to earn back the trust of the American people. We are focused on resolving the outstanding issues and building a better company that can shape the future of integrated, sustainable mobility for our customers.”

Three agreements have been submitted to the Court for its approval with respect to the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program: (1) a Consent Decree filed with the Court by the DOJ on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the State of California by and through the California Air — 2 — Resources Board (CARB) and the California Attorney General; (2) a Consent Order submitted by the FTC; and (3) a proposed class settlement agreement with the PSC on behalf of a nationwide settlement class of current and certain former owners and lessees of eligible 2.0L TDI Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. The parties believe that the class settlement as presented to the Court will provide a fair and reasonable resolution for affected Volkswagen and Audi customers. Volkswagen continues to work expeditiously to reach an agreed resolution for affected vehicles with 3.0L TDI V-6 diesel engines.

On April 22, 2016, Volkswagen recognized total exceptional charges of €16.2 billion in its financial statements for 2015 for worldwide provisions related to technical modifications and repurchases, legal risks and other items as a result of the diesel matter. As noted at that time, due to the complexities and legal uncertainties associated with resolving the diesel matter, a future assessment of the risks may be different.

“Today’s announcement is within the scope of our provisions and other financial liabilities that we have already disclosed, and we are in a position to manage the consequences. It provides further clarity for our U.S. customers and dealers as well as for our shareholders. Settlements of this magnitude are clearly a very significant burden for our business. We will now focus on implementing our TOGETHER-Strategy 2025 and improving operational excellence across the Volkswagen Group,” said Frank Witter, Chief Financial Officer of Volkswagen AG.

The agreements announced today are not an admission of liability by Volkswagen. By their terms, they are not intended to apply to or affect Volkswagen’s obligations under the laws or regulations of any jurisdiction outside the United States. Regulations governing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits for vehicles in the United States are much stricter than those in other parts of the world and the engine variants also differ significantly. This makes the development of technical solutions in the United States more challenging than in Europe and other parts of the world, where implementation of an approved program to modify TDI vehicles to comply fully with UN/ECE and European emissions standards has already begun by agreement with the relevant authorities.

Proposed 2.0L TDI Settlements

Subject to Court approval of the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program, Volkswagen has agreed, among other terms, to:

  • Buy back or terminate the leases of eligible vehicles, or provide free emissions modifications (if approved by the EPA and CARB), and also make cash payments to affected current and certain former owners and lessees.
  •  Volkswagen will establish a single funding pool to cover the 2.0L TDI settlement program. The maximum funding amount will not exceed $10.033 billion and is dependent on how many customers participate in the program and which option they choose if proposed modifications are approved.
  •  Customers can choose to sell back their vehicle to Volkswagen or terminate their lease without penalty, or, if a modification is approved, choose to have their vehicle modified free of charge and keep it. Customers who select any of these options will also receive a cash payment from Volkswagen.
  •  An eligible vehicle’s value for a buyback will be determined based on the Clean Trade-In Value as published in the September 2015 edition of the NADA Used Car Guide, with adjustments for factory options and mileage.
  •  Support the following environmental programs in the United States by agreement with the EPA and CARB:
  •  Pay $2.7 billion over three years into an environmental trust, managed by a trustee appointed by the Court, to remediate excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from 2.0L TDI vehicles.
  •  Invest $2.0 billion over 10 years in zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, access and awareness initiatives.

Volkswagen will begin the settlement program as soon as the Court grants final approval to the settlement agreements. At the earliest, approval will occur in the fall of 2016. Potential claimants under the class settlement do not need to contact Volkswagen or Audi, or their dealers, at this time. Individual class members will receive extensive notification of their rights and options (including the option to “opt out” of the settlement agreement) if the Court grants preliminary approval of the proposed class settlement at a hearing scheduled to take place on July 26, 2016.

More information about the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program, including the settlement agreements in full, can be found at or

NOTES TO EDITORS Volkswagen in the United States Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, employs more than 6,000 people in the United States and supports more than 1,000 dealer locations in all 50 states. Volkswagen has more than 60 years of history in the United States, where VWGoA maintains more than 30 U.S. locations including a LEED Platinum-certified manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Chattanooga facility employs more than 2,500 people and supports suppliers who provide some 9,200 jobs. The facility produces the Volkswagen Passat and will launch production of a new, sevenpassenger midsize SUV in late 2016. Volkswagen is investing $900 million to expand its U.S. manufacturing footprint through production of the new SUV as part of Volkswagen AG’s plan to invest more than $7 billion in North America from 2015 through 2019.

The Multi-District Litigation (MDL) The case is known as In Re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 15-2672, in United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco before Judge Charles R. Breyer. The following 2.0-liter TDI engine vehicles are included in the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program:

VW Beetle                    VW Golf                      VW Jetta               VW Passat                   Audi A3        2013- 2015                2010-2015                 2009-2015            2012-2015               2010-2013; 2015

The proposed 2.0L TDI class settlement was executed by Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC and Audi AG, which have agreed to cover claims administration costs as well as plaintiffs’ reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses. Volkswagen has agreed to the appointment by the Court of a Claims Supervisor who will review customer claims to confirm that the claims administration process is conducted in accordance with the FTC Consent Order.

After final approval of the class settlement, claims of class members who have not opted out of the class settlement will be dismissed.

Resolution with U.S. States The separate agreements with U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico resolve existing and potential consumer protection claims under state statutes governing unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) in relation to more than 534,000 2.0L and 3.0L TDI vehicles originally sold or leased in the participating states and districts before September 18, 2015. They were executed by Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Audi of America, LLC, Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC and Audi AG, as well as Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

Volkswagen will pay approximately $583 million to the signatories and $20 million to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) for use by state attorneys general for consumer protection oversight, training and enforcement, and for the reimbursement of costs and expenses related to this matter. Participating states include California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. At this point, the signatories do not include Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont and West Virginia, which have 30 days to join in the settlement.

Other Legal Matters Volkswagen continues to work to resolve outstanding legal matters in the United States. These include civil claims by the DOJ, FTC and private plaintiffs represented by the PSC related to 3.0L TDI vehicles and various other putative class action claims, civil penalties sought by the EPA and potential state environmental claims, and any criminal investigations by the DOJ.

About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. VWGoA operates a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is the U.S. headquarters for distinguished and exciting brands, including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company’s headquarters are in Herndon, Va. The company has approximately 6,000 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through a network of approximately 1,000 dealers




When I got my first stint in the new Golf R last year, I remember looking at the specifications sheet with some skepticism before setting off on my maiden voyage. “Who is going to spend thirty eight grand on a Golf?” I thought to myself. After half a day’s driving through urban sprawl and along the twisting tarmac in the Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, I returned home wondering if this was, in fact, the best enthusiast-focused car you buy for under $40k in America.

I discovered that the Golf R simply excelled at just about everything it did – its 2.0-liter, 290 horsepower turbocharged four cylinder motor made ample power while keeping turbo lag to a minimum, its DSG gearbox that delivered the grunt to all four corners provided fast shifts without the around-town clunkiness that still beguiles some dual clutch transmissions, and its interior offered a level of refinement that was simply on another level in comparison to rivals like the Subaru WRX STI.

But there were a few important caveats. The first, and perhaps most important to many VW enthusiasts, is that the Golf R was only available with the paddle-shifted DSG automatic for 2015 in the U.S. The other issue I encountered was the first iteration of the MIB infotainment system which, although serviceable, suffered from a lackluster feature set, slow internals, and mediocre display quality.

So as much as I liked the Golf R, I knew that the 2016 model had the potential to impress me even more, as it promised not only an available six-speed manual gearbox, but VW’s latest infotainment system, MIB II. Of course, potential doesn’t always equate to the desired results, so I took it upon myself to find out if the latest Golf R could exceed the already high standards set by last year’s car.

Drivers wanted

“I just can’t believe how good this thing is,” I thought to myself as I careened down Angeles Crest Highway with sports car-like urgency. For the uninitiated, the Golf R can really take you by surprise. While most performance cars in the price range do maybe two or things really well, the Golf R does basically everything well, and does so while flying below the radar of both the fashion police and the local constable.

The phrase “confidence inspiring” has been beaten to death in the context of high performance driving, but with the Golf R it’s really an apt descriptor – I got in this car and felt acclimated to it almost immediately, in tune with the car’s behavior both around town and during spirited back road jaunts.


As good as the DSG gearbox is, if you’re a fan of manual transmissions, you’re in for a treat with the Golf R’s new three-pedal setup. Rowing through the cogs with the Golf R’s shifter is a gratifying task, and its feel in hand is something that companies like BMW could learn a thing or two from. Where the latter feels rubbery both in terms of materials and its internal construction, the VW shifter reminds me of something more like a well-sorted bolt action rifle – satisfying to engage and precise in operation, with clearly defined gates and short (but not too short) throws.

The story was much the same at my feet as well. The Golf R’s clutch is light enough to not be a burden in heavy traffic, but it also communicates its engagement point clearly and with progression. And the Golf R’s pedal placement was clearly designed with rev matching footwork in mind too, making heel-toe downshifts a fairly effortless proposition for those who opt to partake.

Unlike my previous tester, this 2016 model was also equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control, VW’s fancy term for its optional adaptive dampers. While I remember being perfectly content with the firm ride of the static dampers on the ’15 model, the DCC provides even more versatility to the driving experience. Comfort, Normal and Race driving modes each have their own clearly defined damper settings, with the softest setting exhibiting a ride so floaty that I’d only really recommend it for the harshest of road surfaces, while Race mode tightened things up to its highest degree without resorting to abuse. Despite being the firmest setting available, I found myself leaving the car in this mode almost the entire time I had it, and only occasionally switched to the softer settings for the sake of lighter steering weight and less urgent throttle response when caught in the rush hour crawl.

But wait, there’s more

As mentioned previously, the other major revision on hand for 2016 is the inclusion of VW’s latest Modularen Infotainmentbaukasten system, MIB II. VW’s infotainment game has come a long way in just a few short years, and MIB II addresses a number of issues found in the original iteration of the system used in last year’s car.

Like the first generation platform, MIB II utilizes VW’s now-familiar layout of a touchscreen surrounded by hard buttons. The Discover Media system found in the Golf R sports a 6.5-inch display and a new menu design that makes hunting for specific functions a less common annoyance, while additions like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink connectivity, as well Car-Net’s suite of On Star-like assistance options, yields a comprehensive feature set that likely won’t leave you yearning for additional functionality from day one – at least from VW’s side of the fence.

Ease of use is further bolstered by the MIB II’s updated internal hardware, which serves to make the system much quicker to respond to inputs and more pleasing to use in general. While VW’s latest infotainment system still leaves a bit to be desired from an aesthetic standpoint, the MIB II’s feature set, coupled with the clear and balanced output of Fender’s audio set up, puts this system among the stronger offerings on the market today.

Still a keeper

In the automotive realm the battle for one’s hard-earned dollar is more heated than ever. These days you’d be hard pressed to find a “bad” car, particularly in the upper end of the segment where a model like the Golf R resides. Because of this high level of competition, it would be easy to overlook the Golf R amongst a myriad of other worthy performance cars, many of which wear their intentions on their sleeve while the Golf R takes a more subtle approach.

“High performance” and “low key” don’t often go together, but the Golf R is proof that not only can they co-exist, it makes for one hell of a package when executed with the aplomb shown here. If you’ve been searching for a pragmatic performance car that consistently hits above its weight class without the need to shout it from the hilltops whenever possible, look no further.

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Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) today announced the grand opening of its new $6.8 million Pacific Northwest Parts Distribution Center (PDC) in Rocklin, Calif. The company also confirmed that it will invest an estimated $4.5 million to open a new training center in Eastvale, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles. These facilities, which represent an estimated $11.3 million investment, are part of the company’s long-term commitment to the U.S. market and a broader strategy to invest more than $7 billion in North America through 2019. “The new parts distribution center and upcoming training center in California is a testament to Volkswagen Group of America’s continued investment and commitment to the U.S market, our customers, and dealers,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “The company remains focused on these types of strategic investments that will enable long-term growth in the United States.”

Pacific Northwest Parts and Distribution Center

The newly expanded facility in Rocklin completes a U.S. network of seven Volkswagen Group parts distribution facilities across the United States. The 143,000 square-foot facility holds 40,000 automotive service part numbers and approximately $13 million in inventory, with distribution to 94 Volkswagen and Audi dealers across six states in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. “The new Rocklin facility plays a vital role in our commitment to providing quality service to our customers and dealer network in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest,” said Jan Bures, Executive Vice President Group After Sales and Services, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We are especially excited to increase our presence in California, a priority market for both Volkswagen and Audi brands.” VWGoA took possession of the building in June 2015 and began shipping parts to dealers in April 2016, the facility is now fully operational. This seventh VWGoA PDC in the United States will enable improved efficiency in Volkswagen and Audi service parts deliveries and employ 30- plus people. This is the second VWGoA PDC in California, with another 310,000 square-foot facility in Los Angeles. Volkswagen of America, Inc. 2200 Ferdinand Porsche Drive Herndon, VA 20171 June 13, 2016

Eastvale Training Center

Volkswagen Group of America also announced today that it will invest an estimated $4.5 million to create a state-of-the-art training facility at the Goodman Commerce Center in Eastvale. The new Center will house Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche training facilities for the purposes of technical, collision repair and sales training. This is the first training facility to support all three brands and is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017. Volkswagen Group has committed more than $7 billion in North America between 2015 and 2019. These new additions to Volkswagen Group’s California presence are among eight locations where the company operates in the state. Other sites include the Volkswagen Group of America Electronic Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley, a regional sales operations office in Woodland Hills, and the Test Center California in Oxnard. Best Regards, VWoA Dealer Communications

VW plans huge investment to become electric cars leader

VW car

Volkswagen plans to launch 30 all-electric models to reposition itself as a leader in “green” transport.

Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Europe’s biggest carmaker, said huge investments would be needed as the firm moves beyond the “dieselgate” scandal.

He hopes that by 2025, all-electric cars would account for about 20-25% of the German carmaker’s annual sales.

Latest figures show that sales growth of Volkswagen-branded cars continues to fall behind European rivals.

Outlining what he described as the “key building blocks in the new group strategy”, Mr Mueller said VW aimed to “transform its core automotive business or, to put it another way, make a fundamental realignment in readiness for the new age of mobility”.

VW will focus on “the most attractive and fastest-growing market segments”, he said. “Special emphasis will be place on e-mobility. The group is planning a broad-based initiative in this area: it intends to launch more than 30 purely battery-powered electric vehicles over the next ten years,” he said.

VW was plunged into crisis when it was revealed in the US last September that diesel engines had been fitted with software that could distort emissions tests. The company later revealed that some 11 million cars worldwide were affected.


Mr Mueller said VW’s transformation would involve investments in the double-digit billions of euros, funded by savings and cost-cuts, with all brands and businesses having to contribute.

He told reporters at VW headquarters, in Wolfsburg: “This will require us – following the serious setback as a result of the diesel issue – to learn from mistakes made, rectify shortcomings and establish a corporate culture that is open, value-driven and rooted in integrity.”

The company’s components business, spread across 26 plants, will be streamlined, and there will be a focus on cutting sales and administration costs.

On Thursday, car sales data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association suggested that the VW group continues to suffer from the impact of the diesel scandal.

Sales of Volkswagen-branded cars rose 4.1% in May, compared to the same month last year. But that was sluggish when compared to 28.7% growth for Renault and 18.7% growth at PSA Group, owner of Peugeot and Citroen.

Market share for the group, which includes Audi, Skoda, and Seat, for the five months to May, was 23.9%, the lowest for the period since 2011.

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2016 Volkswagen Passat V-6

Over six generations, there have been sedan and wagon body styles, but none have been particularly successful in competing with the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord for sales. Still, they were solidly Teutonic in character, and if buyers were few, they were fervent in their affection and loyalty.

The seventh generation that made its debut in 2012 represented a departure—a U.S.-market version that’s bigger than its European cousin, quieter than many of its competitors, and possessing a character that VW product planners (who are located in Wolfsburg, Germany, and often seem confused about our market) see as perfect for American drivers. Translation: Decades of autobahn development have been slightly muffled in the quest to grab a bigger share of the massive mid-size-sedan segment here. VW was being outsold by bigger, softer-riding cars, so it gave us a bigger, softer-riding Passat. And this 2016 freshening doesn’t really do anything to mitigate the departure from the model’s former Audi-on-a-budget appeal.

Dynamic Presence?

The Volkswagen brand has rarely been noted for adventurous design, and the Passat is true to that restrained tradition. Yet there is much that’s new on the 2016 model. All the surfaces from the windshield forward have been redesigned. The new four-bar grille is more assertive, the new hood is slightly domed, there’s more bright trim, and the lighting array now includes the option of LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights. The bumpers are also new, as are the trunklid and the redesigned selection of wheels in 16- to 19-inch sizes. VW design chief Klaus Bischoff says the styling updates add up to “a dynamic presence and a more sophisticated look.” Let’s call it subdued dynamism; this is still basically a conservative design, but the 2016 Passat does have a more upscale presence than the 2012–2015 car.

The interior has been refreshed, too, with some particularly tasteful simulated wood trim and nice-feeling leather on the steering wheel of our test car. Beyond that, the infotainment has been enhanced, and safety updates have strengthened the Passat’s ratings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (which gave it five stars) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (which named it a 2016 Top Safety Pick +). But the car’s real strong suits continue to be that it’s built on an exceptionally solid structure, the build quality is excellent, and it has the roominess that American buyers expect in a family sedan.

Our test car had VW’s 3.6-liter V-6 engine coupled to its appealing six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. (VW offered a six-speed manual transmission on the Passat with the 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel four-cylinder, the sale of which has been put on an indefinite—perhaps permanent—suspension due to the company’s emissions-cheating scandal.) One of the better achievements of the Ferdinand Piëch era at Volkswagen AG, the narrow-angle V-6—10.6 degrees between the banks, with a common cylinder head serving both—delivers plenty of smooth power as well as advantages in packaging. The engine, which was introduced in 1991 and is known as the VR6, would be even better if it were lighter; VW prefers iron blocks for the six and for the standard 1.8-liter turbo four. Nevertheless, the V-6 delivers brisk acceleration: zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is at the top of the charts among mid-size sedans. This Passat outruns six-cylinder versions of the Honda Accord sedan and the Toyota Camry by a tenth of a second to 60 mph. One to watch in this department, however, is Ford’s 325-hp, twin-turbo V-6 Fusion Sport, which we have yet to test.

The accelerative advantage is reflected in so-so EPA fuel-economy ratings of 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. We recorded 24 mpg in mixed city and highway driving during our test, the same as we observed with the Camry V-6 and 3 mpg better than our test of the Accord V-6. Six-cylinder engines are becoming rare as automakers develop more fuel-efficient turbocharged fours, so the VR6’s days are clearly numbered.

The Comfort Priority

It’s true that this made-for-and-in-America model of the Passat is a little softer and heftier than its European counterpart, something that has provoked a bit of disdain by some of our resident hotshoes. But not every car has to be a track star; this is a family sedan, after all. Ride quality is supple, and although there’s a little more body roll than you’d get in, say, a BMW 3-series, it still feels taut and controlled in comparison with most family sedans. If its autobahn heritage has been tempered, the Passat continues to display the kind of stability required for sustained running at 120 mph.

The Passat’s responses in quick maneuvers are prompt; braking performance is consistent with other cars in this class, if no longer outstanding (it is notably free of any trace of fade, however); and interior noise is low at all speeds. The transmission is all but indistinguishable from a traditional torque-converter automatic in the way it goes about routine business, excepting its less prompt tip-in response from rest, but in its sport mode or when the driver takes control via the Tiptronic lever, it delivers exceptionally crisp shifts. About the only dynamic element that could use some work is the electric power steering, which still feels vague and overassisted below about 50 mph, although many contemporary sedans leave the same impression. In the main, the Passat is satisfying to drive, inspiring confidence as the miles accumulate and providing comfort in any run, short or long.

Value Factor

In terms of style, quality, comfort, dynamics, and value, the 2016 Passat stacks up with the best in a class that’s loaded with good cars. It’s exceptionally roomy—both in the front and especially in the rear seats—it has top safety ratings, and there remains that hint of German genetics in its sinews that a driver can appreciate.

At $37,655, the SEL V-6 is one of the most expensive sedans in its class. But the SEL is the only trim that will net you the six-cylinder, and it includes pretty much every comfort or convenience item in the Passat inventory. Our test example had no optional equipment but included as standard a 6.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert with automated emergency braking, park distance control with a rearview camera, park assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear-traffic alert, a proximity key and remote start, Fender premium audio, what VW calls its Car-Net features (which include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and an available subscription to emergency access, remote access, and “vehicle health” services. It also had leather seating surfaces for the heated front and rear seats, power-adjustable front lumbar supports, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free trunk-opening function, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles, a power sunroof, power-folding heated side mirrors, and so on.

The term “sports sedan” may not apply here, but in this full-featured spec, the Passat offers more room and comfort than the similarly priced entry-level Audi A4 2.0T and comes near enough to matching its performance ability—at least in circumstances when the Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system doesn’t matter—to satisfy most family-sedan buyers. Even though we’d probably prefer to drive an Audi if we were alone, the Passat is some distance from passé. Think of it as the automotive equivalent of an excellent German recipe baked in an American kitchen.

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