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2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T Value Edition

Who Needs A V6?

    The Passat used to be Volkswagen’s entry in the affordable family sedan market, but the past few years have seen the once affordable German sedan drift upwards until the current V6, and especially the former W8, landed firmly in entry-level luxury sedan territory. Add in the luxo-liner Phaeton and the plusher-than-ever Jetta and it looks like VW has forsaken its history as a builder of affordable transportation.
     Perhaps luckily, the failure of the Phaeton and the Passat W8 has caused a rethink of the corporate philosophy of turning VW into a luxury brand. Quickly and quietly Germany’s largest automaker is adjusting its model range to reclaim some of the lost value of its past offerings. Not so long ago when you bought a Volkswagen you paid less than the competitors charged but got more than they offered. Much of the current lineup seems to signal those days are gone. Or are they?
     The 2006 Passat that showed up in our fleet recently aims to restore the midsizer’s value quotient. At least that’s what we inferred by Volkswagen’s decision to call this particular model the Value Edition, which is far more family-friendly than their first choice: The Stripper. It’s also more upscale than their second choice: The I’m Still Paying College Loans So I Can’t Afford Options Edition. Regardless of what it’s called, like the best VWs of the past, this one offered up a lot of good stuff.
     At the top of that list is the superb 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that has swept through the VW/Audi family. The all-aluminum 16-valve direct-injection marvel is easily one of our favorite four-cylinders and if you think it’s out of its league under the hood of the 188.2-inch Passat, you’re wrong. It’s the little engine that could and its 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque are more than enough to move the Passat’s 3,305 pounds swiftly. A super smooth 6-speed manual contributes to the impressive off-the-line squirt, but most of the magic is courtesy of a torque plateau that runs from 1,800-5,000 rpm. That means smooth power is always near—a downshift away at most.
     Even though a lot of shifting isn’t required to stay in the engine’s wide sweet spot, shifting is nonetheless a joy thanks to the aforementioned 6-speed’s smooth directness. Clutch takeup is buttery smooth so there’s no excuse for stalling or jerky shifts in the Passat. Your teenage daughter could handle the shifting duties in this thing, that is, if she wasn’t juggling an iPod in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Done right the Passat will pull itself to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and run the quarter mile in 15.4 seconds at 92.65 mph.
     The Value Edition is no stripper when it comes to brakes. Discs at all four corners measure 12.3-inches up front and 11-inches out back. To assist in straight, drama-free stops VW includes Brake Assist and an Electronic Stabilization Program. Our testing showed 60 to 0 mph stops in a longish 139 feet—not terribly impressive but more likely a result of non-aggressive all-season tires than anything else. Editors commented on the smooth ride and quiet cabin supplied by the revised suspension. The bottom line is the combination of the manual and the turbo make the car seem more than adequately powered so we never longed for a V6.
     We did catch ourselves asking for a bit more style from time to time. The new Passat isn’t ugly, but we wouldn’t call it inspiring either. We think most of the problem rested with the wheel covers for the 16” steel wheels, but the black plastic trim around the lower body of the vehicle didn’t help. LED taillights stand out as the most stylish element of the Passat but a redesigned rear bumper would go a long way toward injecting some visual appeal in the otherwise drab exterior. As it is the rear of the vehicle looks oddly high off the ground and part of the blame can be pinned on that black plastic lower cladding. A large 14.2 cubic foot trunk comes in handy and is finished nicely with covered hinges.
     The Value Edition shines inside where that good ol’ Volkswagen simplicity and fine materials are on display. The driver looks out on a straightforward but stylish dash with some silver painted plastic and handsome chrome ringed gauges to break up the otherwise black interior. We appreciated the great dead pedal and logical control placement. Everything is where it should be with the exception of the electronic parking brake button. In every other vehicle with this feature the button is by the shifter, which makes more sense to us than putting it by the light control on the left side of the steering wheel. Stereo and climate controls couldn’t be easier to use and the eight-speaker CD audio system is a fine base system. Drivers liked the range of manual adjustment for the front seats but the black leatherette was slippery and the seats are far too flat. We’d actually prefer a nice woven fabric (similar to what Mazda uses, for example) for the seats, and of course some bolstering would make a nice future upgrade. Passengers in the back will find adequate room in all directions.
     We have to be honest with you; we were smitten with the Value Edition Passat. It offers everything you need in a midsize sedan and nothing you don’t. Plus it comes with a 4-year 50,000-mile warranty to ensure low ownership costs. When you’re looking for an affordable family sedan (or wagon) we urge a test drive of the base Passat. For $23,580 as tested it’s hard to beat.

The Good:
Stylish and well-finished interior, wonderful turbo power, 6-speed manual, impressive gas mileage.
The Bad:
Boring to look at, oddly placed electronic parking brake, flat seats.
The Verdict:
We’d have to gather this car’s competitors together to say for sure, but this is surely one of the best values going in the ever-improving family sedan game.


Vehicle 2006 Volkswagen Passat Value Edition
Vehicle Type 4-door, Midsize sedan
Engine Type Inline-4, Turbocharged, Intercooled, FSI
Drivetrain Front-wheel drive
Configuration Front-transverse mounted
Valvetrain DOHC
Block material Cast iron block, aluminum heads
Displacement 2.0L
Bore x Stroke (in) 3.2 x 3.7
Compression Ratio 10.3:1
Power  200hp @ 5100-6000rpm
Torque  207lb-ft @ 1800-5000rpm
Redline 6200
Recommended Fuel  Premium Unleaded
Power / liter 100hp/liter
Weight to power ratio 16.5lbs/hp
Transmission 6-manual
Gear Ratios: 1st 3.36
2nd 2.09
3rd 1.47
4th 1.10
5th 1.11
6th 0.93
Rev 3.99
Final 3.94/3.09
Suspension: Front,Rear Front:McPherson w/ triangular wishbones                          Rear: Four-link independent
Brakes: front/rear 12.3-in. vented discs/         11-in solid discs
Stability Systems ABS, ESP
Wheels 16 x 6.5-in. steel wheels/covers
Tires 215/55 R16 all-seasons
EPA Mileage: city/highway 23/32
Vehicle Dimensions   
Length (in) 188.2
Width (in) 71.7
Height (in) 58
Wheelbase (in) 106.7
Track (in) front: 61.1 / rear: 61.1
Curb Weight (lbs) 3305
Weight distribution, % f/r 59/31
Drag Coefficent  
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume (cu ft) 14.2
Towing Capacity
AT Observed Test Data  
Acceleration to MPH (sec)  
0-30 2.7
0-40 4.1
0-50 5.4
0-60 6.9
0-70 9.1
0-80 11.2
0-90 14.4
0-100 17.5
1/8 mile 10.1s @ 74.66 mph
1/4 mile 15.4s @ 92.65 mph
Braking: 60-0  139 ft
Fuel Mileage 28 mpg
MSRP: Base Price $23,580
As Tested $23,580
  1. April 14th, 2010 at 10:05 | #1

    That’s a pretty impressive quarter mile time for only 200 horsepower.

  1. February 25th, 2010 at 21:53 | #1
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