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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Sel Premium Long-Term Report

Hit And Running

Aug 15, 2014
Photographers: Sean P. Holman, Jason Gonderman
Vehicle evaluations don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you test a vehicle more thoroughly than you ever expected, as we did during this quarter with our long term Passat. In fact, the best test for a vehicle is one we try to avoid at all costs, although sometimes ineffectively. It was on Southern California’s notorious 405 freeway (I-405) that we were rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic.
While we do our best to prevent collisions, being involved in one does give us a unique opportunity to evaluate a vehicle in a very different manner. In the case of our Passat, we had a chance to evaluate the car’s safety, structure, and even the process of getting it repaired. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident and, despite a fairly hard hit, the VW only showed signs of minor scuffing on the rear bumper, something we can’t say about the undriveable Toyota Solara that hit us.
Photo 2/4   |   After being rear-ended by a Toyota Solara, we were left with a damaged rear bumper.
After the incident, we got in touch with VW and our contact asked that we make sure the vehicle was repaired according to the VW Certified Collision Repair Facility program. The program ensures specially trained and certified technicians, using only genuine VW parts, repair your Volkswagen properly. Finding a certified shop was only as difficult as firing up our web browser. For our repair, we chose nearby Caliber Collision in Huntington Beach, California.
As it turned out, there was no structural damage to the Passat, and our long-termer only required a new bumper cover, paint, and some trim to bring it back to factory-fresh condition. We were incredibly impressed with the professionalism of Caliber Collision, as well as the quality of work done. The paint match was near perfect in color, tint, and flake, rendering our mishap unnoticeable to anyone not aware of the accident.
With the repairs complete and the Passat back on the road, our testers wasted no time eating up the miles -- spinning the odometer to the tune of 8,169 miles during this report. Despite more commuting and less road trips this quarter, we were still able to increase the car’s average fuel economy to 36.5 mpg, which is an improvement of nearly 1.5 mpg since the last report (April ’14). The logbook also noted that the buzzy dash trim replaced under warranty last time was about 90 percent cured.
Photo 3/4   |   Thanks to the experts at Carriage Collision in Huntington Beach, California, and VW’s Certified Collision Repair Facility program, we enjoyed a near-perfect repair.
Over the course of this test and with more than 20,000 miles behind the wheel, we really have grown to appreciate the versatility of the Passat. It has big car comfort with commuter car efficiency. It also has a gutsy little 2.0L diesel engine that only requires service every 10,000 miles. Because we were a hair late on our previous service, the car didn’t require a trip to the dealer during this report, but we’ll make sure it goes in soon.
If there is any knock on the Passat, it is the conservative styling, inside and out. However, if understated luxury and blending in with the crowd are more your style, you’ll feel right at home in this VW. This is the perfect car for those who value comfort over flashy, and it happens to be a great tool for those cross-country interstate jaunts during which being noticed is counter to the mission of rolling a lot of miles in the shortest amount of time.
With one more report before the Passat heads back to Volkswagen, we are determined to top 800 miles of range on a single tank, besting our current record of 717 miles. We’ll also be enjoying our last few months with one of the best diesel cars on the market today.
Photo 4/4   |   With a range in excess of 600 miles, visits to the local refueling station were infrequent.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Sel Premium
REPORT: 3 OF 4
Previous report(S):November 2013, April 2014
Base price: $33,710
Price as tested: $33,710
LONG-TERM NUMBERS
Miles to date: 21,072
Miles since last report: 8,169
Average mpg (this report): 36.58
Test best tank (mpg): 45.38
Test worst tank (mpg): 31.44
MAINTENANCE:
None
PROBLEM AREAS:
None
FAST LOOK
We like: Solid structure, don’t have to hypermile to get great fuel economy
We’d change: Styling might be too conservative for some
We say: One of the best buys in diesel power
LOGBOOK QUOTES:
“This car reminds me of my favorite pair of jeans. It’s familiar, comfortable, and is appropriate for most occasions.”

“The EPA combined mileage is 34 mpg. I regularly kill that number without even trying.”

“I love when the trip computer shows 300 miles of range, even after driving 300 miles.”

“The replaced dash trim still buzzes on occasion but is much improved.”

“The styling is growing on me. It’s just a nice, clean design.”

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