For starters, the Passat GT doesn’t look like a typical family sedan. Lower to the ground and sharply styled with red trim and other stylish design features, it’s a vehicle that will definitely stand out, especially in this segment -- where most vehicles tend to look pretty similar.
The look of the Passat GT gives a hint of the speed and power the vehicle will offer, and it features 19-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, and a power tilting and sliding sunroof.
Inside the Passat GT there is a unique look to the seats, a two-tone gray and black design. It’s roomy for the class, with comfortable seating for five, and the trunk is also large. Interior design somewhat simplistic and unfancy, which is typical of Volkswagen, who focus more on how the vehicle runs.
Dual-zone climate control is featured, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and leatherette seating surfaces. You also get a decent amount of storage space and cup holders in front and back.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
Under the hood is where the 2018 Passat GT really shines.
It features a 3.6-liter, V6 engine, with numbers coming in at 280 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. All versions of the Passat come with front-wheel drive, and you get an automatic transmission plus the option to use paddle shifters. Sorry, manual lovers, but there is no option with the extra pedal for 2018.
It’s rare to find a midsize sedan that features a V6 and this type of power, so the numbers stand out, and the performance improvements are clear and easy to notice.
It’s fun to drive and powerful for the class, and much better than the base Passat, which has a standard 2.0-liter, four cylinder engine offering 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft.
Handling and responsiveness to driver input are strong on the Passat GT, and you’ll get the benefit of a sport-tuned independent suspension. Even without the true manual, you still get a very enjoyable ride in the Passat GT.
Safety is a strong area for the Passat GT, which has four-star and five-star government safety ratings. You’ll get automatic LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, plus heated foldable power adjustable side mirrors.
There’s an easy-to-use but very basic looking infotainment system that’s a bit behind the competition in some areas. Voice commands do work well though.
Among other safety features that are helpful on the Passat GT are: A rearview camera, forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitor, electronic stability control and rear traffic alert.
Convenience features include keyless access and push-button start.
The infotainment system featured a 6.3 inch touchscreen, and offered AM/FM/Satellite radio/CD/USB inputs/AUX input and a 6-speaker sound system.
Official fuel mileage numbers are 19 city/28 highway/22 combined; I averaged 22.8 mpg during my time in the Passat. Compared to V6 midsize sedan options from Ford (Fusion), Toyota (Camry) and Subaru (Legacy), it fairs generally well in this area. The Camry is much better on fuel mileage but is also more expensive. The Subaru is comparable on both cost and fuel mileage (and is the closest competitor), and the Fusion is more expensive and worse on fuel mileage.
The Passat GT features an 18.5 gallon tank, so you can go upwards of 400 miles on a fill-up.
PRICE, BOTTOM LINE
The 2018 Passat GT I tested was priced just under $30,000, about as good a price as you’ll find for a V6-carrying sedan; and the base price for the regular Passat starts about $23K. While the basic Passat isn’t very exciting, it’s accurate to say the Passat GT is one of the most exciting options in this segment and will draw in people who want a little more oomph out of their family-friendly mid-size ride.