First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Passat by Brian Ongaro, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Boardwalk Auto Group

2012 Volkswagen Passat. Born in Germany. Built in America.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to head out to Volkswagen’s Dealer meeting in Las Vegas this past week, as we got to experience the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and 2012 Beetle. I wanted to share a few quick notes with our readers on my first drive of the 2012 Passat.

The most exciting part of this new mid-sized sedan is that it’s manufactured in the United States, but is still designed and engineered in Germany. The new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee is absolutely the most advanced state-of-the-art facility of its kind. We drove the car on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as several autocross tracks they set up and the handling and control blew everyone away. I have driven some of the best vehicles manufactured in the world and the driving experience and quality equaled cars costing twice as much as the 2012 Passat. The Fender Audio System is the best sounding car audio system I’ve ever heard. Period.

The TDI model gets an amazing 800 miles to a tank of gas! It has 2” more rear legroom than any other mid-sized sedan and they demonstrated that fact with a dealer that was 6’8” in the front seat and another behind him that was 6’2”. He had room to sit comfortably in the rear seat with room to spare. The 2012 Passat has one-touch control on all four windows and dual-zone climate controls as standard features, which you typically would never get (even as an option) on other vehicles in this price range.

Other highlights for me include a base price of under $20K, which is $7k cheaper than what the Passat sells for in Europe. Lastly, one of the demonstrations showing the superior construction of the 2012 Passat, one of the VW representatives stood on the window frame of an opened door and jumped up and down. This was one of many demonstrations of the strength and quality in this vehicle.

After many years of driving AMG Mercedes and other high-line vehicles, it takes a lot to impress me. The 2012 Passat impressed me beyond my high expectations and I look forward to sharing my notes from my first-hand experience with the 2012 Beetle. Watch out Dallas. Two new Volkswagens are about to hit the Dallas streets and the competitive bar has been raised and all other manufacturers are on notice.



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