A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI

It might look just like the regular Passat, but the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI is the kind of practical sedan that even the most hardcore car enthusiasts can get excited about. Why? While it looks like a mid-size family sedan and has plenty of room for everyone and their cargo, it also has Volkswagen’s turbocharged direct injection (TDI) engine, which adds power, torque, fuel economy, and a lot of fun, too.

Key Features

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI shares the same features as other Passats. Depending on which trim level you go with, you’ll enjoy standard dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, USB input ports, a 3-year/36,000-mile maintenance program, and options like a premium sound system by Fender and a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Changes for 2012

Volkswagen actually redesigned the Passat to be roomier and more fully loaded with features at lower price points for 2012. In fact, the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI is made in North America and only available in North American markets, too.

What We Like

We certainly can’t complain about an engine that delivers as much torque as the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI, and we definitely can’t complain about it when it can reach highway fuel economy ratings as high as 43 MPG (for the manual option – the automatic is rated at a respectable 40 MPG).

What Concerns Us

While we can appreciate that the Passat TDI is something of a sleeper model, as it looks like just about any other mid-size family sedan on the market, not everyone can get excited about a car as generic-looking as this. Volkswagen could have put a little more effort into the exterior design to make it more attractive.

Available Models

You can get a 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI in a number of different trims, but they all have the same impressive engine:

  • Engine – 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline 4-cylinder
  • Power – 140 HP at 4000 RPM
  • Torque – 236 lb-ft at 1750 RPM
  • Fuel Economy (MPG city/highway) – 31/43 (manual), 30/43 (6-speed automatic)

Major Recalls

A few 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI models have been recalled due to issues with a failing airbag clock spring, loss of low-beam headlight power, and/or problems with the diesel fuel filter.

Common Issues

Some 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI owners have had issues with hesitation with the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but in general this model has proven to be reliable and fun to drive.

volkswagen passat tdi 2012 interior


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