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Since the dawn of the American engineered Volkswagen Passat that hit showroom floors in 2012, it faces a hard reality to say it has been probably one of the most uninspiring family sedans on the road compared to quite a few key players. The Passat, before 2012, was once a family sedan that persevered personality and charisma – providing driving characteristics that can only be found in a true German auto maker. At least we can say the driving demeanor was never lost in this new generation – just its personality.

For 2017 Volkswagen has responded to these outlandish claims and put some inspiration into their dreary lifestyle. They not only incorporated some attractive new design elements but some new technology and available safety features to keep up with modern trends.

Trim lines for the most part remain unchanged apart from some minor restructuring to fit the new safety features. And if we look closely, it is a little difficult to spot the changes made to the body. The Passat’s hood has more aggressive lines (their words, not ours), with more chrome added to the front grille. On our top spec’d SEL model, featured a more luxurious presence with LED daytime-, head-, and tail lights. It’s a timeless look that will keep on giving over the years. The LED’s certainly caught wondering eye’s and with our fitted 18-inch alloys and Fortana Red body, it made for one heck of a classy ride.

Under the hood, much remains the same as before. Two engine options – a choice between the 1.8-liter turbo-four and a more powerful 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6. With the four-cylinder being the more popular amongst consumers, that’s what was equipped to our test car. 170-horsepower is what we get from that aforementioned turbo-four. And with only a single occupant in the car, it’s enough to hustle around town without having too much drama from the turbocharger. It maintains the ability to get to highway speeds in roughly 8 seconds and its smooth operating six-speed automatic transmission never seemed to let us down.

One of the main characters that always left a positive outlook was its driving demonstration. The Passat holds confident composure for a full-size car. The ride is solid and the suspension provides a level of comfort in the cabin. Even for as sensitive the steering is, its thin profile showcases accurate levels of responsive conduct for the road. That’s then followed by the brakes and the pedal having very little play in the pressure point.

The interior mostly went unchanged into the 2017 model year. Apart from some new unattractive, wood trim color and a frameless chrome mirror, the interior continues that German finesses. New safety feature and technology on the other hand – the Passat has been given some new hardware and software upgrades. The touch screen infotainment system now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Assist have been added as well, along with lane departure warning and steering assist and Park Assist that assures a perfect parallel parking job every time.

The Passat has always maintained a good value for a family sedan – you can’t compete with its spacious interior and trunk capacity as well as its “fun-to-drive” characteristics. However one can’t think at its $31,815 price point, the Toyota Camry, Mazda 6 or Kia Optima could make better alternatives having more trendy design and luxury features. So while the Volkswagen has been given some minor tweaks to broaden its appeal, its classy features just aren’t enough to make it competitive.

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL Premium: $30,995
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $31,815
Performance Specs:
1.8-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 170-Horsepower, Six-Speed Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.5 seconds
EPA MPG: 23/34/27 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average:  23 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±450 Miles