2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport Long-Term Update 2
It's Time to Navigate My Life
As a relative newcomer to Los Angeles, I frequently need navigational assistance. But the Passat Sport doesn't offer on-screen nav; it's available on the SE but not the Sport. That's unfortunate, because I like to see a map of where I am and where I'm headed at all times. Lucky for me my smartphone and the Waze app fill the void efficiently, albeit unattractively. I attach my iPhone to the left center stack air-conditioning vent by sliding it into my Kenu Airframe car mount ($24.95 at Amazon, and I highly recommend it), which clips onto the vent. Then I plug the phone into the 12V outlet located in the little storage compartment on the bottom of the center stack, using a cheap cord I bought at a drugstore, and connect it to a USB car charger, also a drugstore buy.
Since my phone is synched to the car via Bluetooth, turn-by-turn nav directions from the Waze app are broadcast over the stereo speakers, and I can see the Waze map onscreen out of the corner of my right eye. It's at eye level, whereas the infotainment touchscreen is down and to my right, so if there were nav down there, I'd be diverting my eyes from the road. The setup isn't cute, though, with the cord dangling in front of the touchscreen and the stereo volume knob. Also, more than once I've left my phone in the car by accident.
I could put the phone in its designated charging spot in the center console, but the provided cord is only 5 inches long, so the phone either has to be stored in the compartment or dangle awkwardly outside it. Either way, I can't see the Waze map. So, yeah, I wish nav were an option on the Sport.
The Passat did come with six months of complimentary Car-Net access, which offers call-button destination assistance. A live person will send your destination directly to the nav system, but since ours doesn't have nav, I couldn't test it. Car-Net also has automatic crash notification if an airbag is deployed, and I can press the SOS emergency call button to reach VW's Emergency Response Center or the button with the wrench icon on it to summon roadside assistance.
I am very happy with the Passat's Bluetooth cellphone mind-meld. It was super easy to link my phone to the infotainment system without needing to read the manual, and it's never once un-linked itself. I can make a call using the buttons on the right side of the steering wheel, easily toggling down to the contact I want to call, or I can tell the system to make a call using the voice recognition function. The sound quality is fine – not crystal-clear, but sufficient, though to hear the person on the other end I do need to turn the volume up higher than I keep it when listening to music. Whenever I add a new contact to my phone contacts list, it updates immediately in the car, letting me know via a touchscreen message that a new contact is available.
One random detail I really appreciate: The Passat has not one, not two, but three clocks. I can choose to see the time on the rectangular digital display screen between the rpm and mph dials, and it's clearly visible on the infotainment touchscreen. There's also an analog clock between the center a/c vents, like you'd see in luxury cars. My mom pronounced it "fancy."
More on our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport:
|Service life||6,048 mi|
|Average fuel economy||26.6 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.73 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||24/34/28 mpg|
|Energy consumption||127 kW-hrs/100mi|