2012-2015 VW Passat TDI forum, buying guide, latest news, and FAQ

- with reviews and other information from real world TDI drivers that you won't find on the manufacturer website like release date.  Also feel free to join our VW Passat TDI forum.


The VW Passat is all new for both 2012 and 2011.  VW didn't discontinue the car after a year, the Passat is now a different car depending if it's in North America or Europe.  This guide focuses on the North American car.  The Euro 2011 B7 (7th generation Passat) is a revision of the B6 Passat with minor changes and a facelift.  They are built in Europe.  The North American Passat (NMS - new midsize sedan) is an all new design for 2012 built in VW's new plant in Tennessee specifically for North America.  There are more details and differences between the cars listed below.  You'll see enough differences to know that they are completely different cars despite having the same name.  The 2012 VW Passat TDI will also mark the return of the Passat TDI to North America, last seen here for model year 2005.

The NMS is also built in China for sale only to the Chinese market. The Chinese NMS is targeted at an upscale market and has features like HID headlights, LED taillights, parking sensors, and full color multifunction display. Some parts are compatible with the North American NMS and some aren't.

This guide shows FAQ and other things about the car that you can't find from other online reviews, explains features, or shows things that aren't on the manufacturer's website or brochures.  Feel free to join our forum or check out 1000q: buying guide for the 2011+ VW Jetta TDI if you decide you want that or the Jetta/Golf sportwagon instead.  There are also buying guides for Audi TDI and older models in the FAQ section.

The Oct-Nov 2011 fuel line recall notice for the Jetta-Golf-Sportwagen does not affect the Passat. The fuel lines and injection system are completely different.

Recent updates as of Mar 24, 2014: model year 2015 planned changes notes and 2014 final list of changes

2012 vw passat tdi

Why buy a VW Passat TDI?

The VW Passat TDI is also the most fuel efficent large sedan you can get. You can also get options on the Passat that you can't get on the VW Jetta.

The B5 Passat was a blockbuster seller that the B6 Passat didn't match.  A higher price on the B6 Passat and more features/size for the Jetta killed Passat sales.  Many people walked into the showroom looking for a Passat and walked out with a Jetta.  VW's mk6 (6th generation) models have been decontented to increase sales and lower prices.  The new mk6 Jetta has been decontented to make room for the new mk6 Passat. Here is a short list of features that you can get on the Passat but not the Jetta:
-auto headlights, auto wipers, and dimming rear view mirror
-power front seats w/ power lumbar
-RNS 510 navigation option instead of RNS 315
-dual zone auto-climate control "Climatronic"
-full screen MFD display and full MFSW MultiFunction Steering Wheel (still available on Golf and Sportwagen TDI)
-leather or leather/suede interior
-rear multilink suspension standard (Jetta received this after 2013.)

Will there be a VW Passat TDI station wagon?

Not for North America and not based off the NA Passat. VW has confirmed this many times. It's not happening. Their reason is that it would be too close to the Jetta Sportwagen (Golf wagon). This is the first generation of Passat without a wagon option. There is a European Passat wagon but it's based off the Euro Passat, not the NA Passat. It's virtually impossible and extremely expensive to import a Euro Passat due to regulation and testing requirements (at least a few hundred thousand). For your reference, to the right is a clickable .pdf spec sheet of the German wagon with the same engine from user freeflyer.  Even if you can't read German you can see that it just shows the European Passat TDI with a wagon body.

There are rumors of importing the Crosspassat or Passat Alltrack (it gets the Subaru Outback treatment) that is a higher riding model with plastic body cladding and AWD but there are no plans to import it for this generation. The earliest it could possibly come if VW changes their minds is model year 2016.

Picture gallery of 2012 VW Passat, press releases, and more media.

For more pictures and news releases see this post in the forum.  Please join our free community today to get access to more material! Here is a link to the brochure that has been mail-only so far.

passat tdi passat tdi passat tdi passat tdi 2013 vw passat tdi vw passat tdi seats vw passat cluster

Here are my two reviews of the 2014 VW Passat TDI. One is a walkaround and features explanation and the other is a traditional review.

Official EPA mpg estimate for Volkswagen Passat TDI

31 mpg city/43 mpg highway. The reason why the city and highway ratings are 1 mpg higher than the Jetta-Golf-Sportwagen TDI is because the engine mangement and tuning is slightly different. This engine uses Adblue fluid to clean NOx emissions instead of the system the smaller cars use because the Passat is heavier and puts more load on the engine. While you do have to refill the Adblue fluid after free service expires, it enables the engine to be tuned more efficiently. See 1000q: Adblue and DPF FAQ for more on the emissions system.

Official US pricing and equipment on the 2012-2013 VW Passat TDI SE vs. SEL

The Passat line will have S, SE, and SEL trims.  The TDI engine is only be available with SE and SEL trims.  In the US, you can only get a manual transmission in base SE trim (without sunroof and navigation). All prices do not include $770 destination and are for USA.

For 2013, the base price increases $850.

The VW Passat TDI SE ($25,995) comes with:

-17" "Sonoma" alloy wheels
-6 speed manual transmission
-8 way driver power seat (power lumbar function is front-back only, not up-down) and 6 way manual passenger seat
-leatherette (vinyl) interior
-leather steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake handle
-full multifunction steering wheel and display
-rear multilink suspension
-electric power assist steering (saves energy)
-premium 8 RCD 510 touchscreen 6cd changer radio
-dual zone auto climate control (2012 only)
-cold weather pack (heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles)
-soft touch dashboard (higher quality plastic)
-engine block heater (standard in Canada)
-auto headlights and auto dimming interior rear mirror
-diversity antenna (gives a stronger radio signal)
-3 years/ 36,000 miles free scheduled service

VW Passat TDI SE with sunroof and navigation ($29,495) adds:

-6 Speed DSG transmission|
-18" "Bristol" wheel option
-RNS 315 GPS system w/sirius
-MDI w/iPod adapter in center armrest
-exterior chrome trim

The VW Passat TDI SEL Premium ($32,195) adds:

-RNS 510 GPS system w/travel link
-KESSY and remote engine start
-leather interior and comfort sport seats
-memory for driver's seat and exterior mirrors
-power passenger seat
-Fender premium audio system
-front and rear ambient lighting
-homelink built into the driver's side sunvisor
-wood grain interior trim with chrome and carbon fiber look accents (see below for a picture)

Canadian spec Passat TDI have an engine block heater.

2012 vw passat specspassat dashboardpassat cubbypassat rear seat space

Available exterior colors: Platinum grey metallic, Glacier Blue metallic (US color only), Reflex Silver metallic, Tungsten Silver metallic, Opera Red metallic, Night Blue metallic, Black, Candy White
Available interior colors: Black, cornsilk beige, and moonrock (gray) in either leatherette or real leather (leather requires SEL package)

Official Canadian VW Passat TDI pricing and specs (sorry, no invoice price)

The numbers below are in Canadian dollars. Click the thumbnails below to view the order sheet for all Canadian Passat. For clarity, my listings below are only for TDI.

The VW Passat TDI Trendline plus ($27,475, add $1,400 for DSG) comes with:

-16" "San Jose" alloy wheels
-6 speed manual transmission
-fog lamps
-8 way driver power seat and 4 way manual passenger seat
-black cloth interior
-leather steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake handle
-full multifunction steering wheel and display
-rear multilink suspension
-electric power assist steering (saves energy)
-RCD 310 radio and 6 speakers
-dual zone auto climate control
-cold weather pack (heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles)
-soft touch dashboard (higher quality plastic)
-engine block heater (standard in Canada)
-auto headlights / wipers and auto dimming interior rear mirror

VW Passat TDI Comfortline ($30,575, add $1,400 for DSG) adds:

-17" "Sonoma" alloy wheels
-6 way manual passenger seat instead of 4 way
-leatherette interior
-diversity antenna (gives a stronger radio signal)
-MDI iPod adapter
-Sirius radio
-Titan silver interior trim

VW Passat TDI Highline ($33,775, add $1,625 for DSG) adds:

-leather seating and sport seats (not memory)
-auto dimming center rear view mirror
-Fender premium 8 speaker 400w system with trunk subwoofer and amp
-Homelink built into the driver's side visor
-interior ambient light
-KESSY keyless access and engine start
-nut burl interior trim
-RCD510 6cd in dash touchscreen radio
-rear seat pass-through
-remote start if DSG transmission

Standalone options
-Technology package ($2,150, comfortline only): adds RNS510 GPS and Fender premium 8 speaker 400w system with trunk subwoofer and amp.
-RNS510 GPS ($1,200, highline only): same size as the RCD510 but with navigation and onboard HD for music/maps. See 1000q: RNS510 GPS FAQ for more info on the system.
-Sport package ($1,050 for comfortline, $700 for highline): adds 18" Bristol alloy wheels, Carbon interior trim as shown above, paddle shifters on the steering wheel if DSG, rear spoilers, and sport seats (seats already included on highline so it's discounted)

2016 VW Passat TDI planned changes

Minor cosmetic facelift with possibility of optional HID headlights with LED daytime running lights.
This is not yet 100% confirmed but VW plans to put in the EA888 generation TDI engine for either model year 2015 or 2016. This engine warms up faster but I'm not sure of what other changes there will be on the Passat specific model until it's closer to release and specs come out.

2015 VW Passat TDI planned changes

Not yet confirmed or known.

2014 VW Passat TDI changes

VW Car-Net is added on all 2014 VWs. This is a subscription based service like Onstar.
2 tone black/beige interior optional.
Rearview camera on all TDI, including SE.
SE has 8 way power driver seat.
Rain sensor decontented. You can no longer activate auto wipers and rain closing windows but because the coding is still present in the central electric module, you can retrofit the sensor with some wiring work. See FAQ for details.

2013 VW Passat TDI changes

Rear view camera included in SEL trim
Rear air vents added in the center console (It's possible but difficult to retrofit this to a 2012, you have to remove the center console, add the vents, add the ducting under the center console, and cut a hole in the existing ducting to add the console duct).
Light in rear door is now a reflector
Rain/light sensor and dual zone climatronic eliminated in the base SE for 2013.
Side mirror changed from CC to Jetta part (rolling change in model year 2012)
Trunk hinge covers in both left and right side

Gas hood support strut (shown below) replaces the manual hood rod. Cars built before 4/2013 still have prop rod. (thanks turbodiesel41 and 07S1971!)

US vs. Canadian Passat TDI differences

Other than what is listed above, you can only get a manual transmission on base cars in the US, Canadian cars can get manual transmission on highline trim. Canadian cars come with standard block heater. For 2012, only the highline has the auto dimming rear view mirror in Canada but it's easy to add one, all 2012 US Passat TDI did. Memory seats and mirrors come standard with the SEL TDI in the US but not in Canada (you have to get the V6 to get the memory seats in Canada)

Rolling changes for Passat TDI

-Voice control of RNS-510 removed to speed up system response and Sirius link added. Done with dealer reflash in early 2012.
-Side view mirrors changed from Passat CC parts to Jetta parts midway 2012. They look almost identical but the mirrors and housings are slightly different.

Quick specs comparison VW Passat TDI vs. Toyota Camry hybrid

When the NMS (new model sedan) was being developed into the new Passat, its targets were the Camry and Accord.  If you're reading this you're interested in the TDI and the Honda Accord hybrid was discontinued in 2007, so below is a comparison to the only comparable car, the Camry hybrid.  If you want a manual transmission the Passat is the only choice.  One minor factor is that the battery packs in the Camry and Accord reduce trunk space by about 1/3.

  VW Passat TDI Toyota Camry hybrid misc. info
price range (base-loaded) $26,500-$32,500 $27,000-$33,000  
total peak hp/torque 138/236 187 hp/?  
(engine power) -same 147 hp/138 lb-ft  
(hybrid motor) NA ?  
0-60 manual/DSG 9.3/9.1 NA/7.7 DSG faster than manual transmission
curb weight 3360 3680  
coefficient of drag ? .27  
EPA rating cty/hwy 31/43 31/35  
height (in) 58.5 57.5  
width (in) 72.2 71.7  
length (in) 191.7  189.2  
interior volume (cu ft) 102 101.4  
luggage cap (cu ft) 15.9 10.5 non hybrid Camry has 15 cu ft.
other misc. features see article LED taillights
independent rear suspension
wheels 17" standard 16" standard 215/60  

Video reviews of the 2012 Passat TDI

Continue reading at page 2 for stuff to know about the engine, Adblue fluid requirements, biodiesel, and other features explained

Search the myturbodiesel.com FAQ and forums: