The 2018 Passat is available with four engine options. The Passat 2.5L has a five-cylinder engine, and the Passat 1.8T has a turbocharged four-cylinder. Both provide 170 horsepower, but the 1.8T feels much stronger. It hustles the sedan up to speed confidently and yields better fuel economy – up to 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic is available.
The Passat TDI has a 140-horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, and the Passat 3.6 has a 280-horsepower V6. Both provide brisk acceleration and robust passing power, but the V6 is rather thirsty (20/28 mpg city/highway). In contrast, the diesel earns an excellent 30/40 mpg city/highway. The TDI is offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; the V6 is paired only with the automatic. The dual-clutch automatic feels fairly refined, though it can occasionally hesitate to shift at low speeds.
The Passat delivers a supple ride regardless of engine choice. The suspension sops up bumps and dips in the road without fuss and manages to keep the sedan stable through turns. The power steering feels heavy but responsive, and the brakes provide strong stopping power.