Not long after World War II the first Volkswagen Beetle crawled ashore in the United States, eventually taking the country by storm. Still, nothing lasts forever, and by the early 1970s the Beetle was losing steam, as were other Volkswagen models. Enter the Passat, including the Volkswagen Passat Wagon.
The Passat, then called the Dasher, is a midsize car first marketed in the United States in the 1974 model year. The original Dasher lineup included a station wagon, and the wagon, usually in both three and five door models, has been a part of the line up ever since.
By 1981, when the second generation of the vehicle was launched, the name in America was Quantum. The new generation wagon was slightly longer but looked basically the same. In 1986 it finally became the Volkswagen Passat Wagon.
With the introduction of the third generation in 1988 the Passat assumed a more modern, less boxy look. The basic engine had grown from a 1.3 liter I4 to a 1.6 liter I4.
Generation four arrived in 1995. While it was still recognizable as a Passat, the car was also still moving toward a more modern look. Engines stayed basically the same, though of course they continued to modernize throughout the development of the car.
Generation five, beginning in 1998, definitely had a more modern, sleeker shape and even today would not look completely out of place on the highway. The base motor was still the 1.6 liter I4.
The Passat, including the wagon, got a refresh in 2001. Not considered a new generation, it definitely changed the look, moving it from nice to beautiful. It would be hard to look at the Passat from this time forward and realize it came from the lowly Beetle.
The latest generation of the Passat Station Wagon, number six, kept the basic look of the fifth generation refresh. A new base engine, a 1.4 liter I4, was introduced during this period for most Passats, however, it isn't used on the Wagon.
The newest Volkswagen Passat Wagon has two trims, Komfort and Komfort PZEV. Both share a single engine, a 2.0 liter, 200 horsepower I4 gasoline model, although diesels are available in other countries. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with overdrive.
Mileage for the Wagon is 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway, which is slightly better than class average. Cargo volume is also better than class average at 35.8 cubic feet. Safety ratings are okay, but not great.
What does remain great for the Volkswagen Passat Wagon is the price, which at a base of $26,690 is about three thousand dollars below class average. Perhaps other companies should takes lessons, for while they struggle Volkswagen just seems to keep chugging along.