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Entry price: $25,295

Price as tested: $30,890

Likes: More power, more MPG, better warranty, classy looks.

Dislikes: Wolfsburg does not offer some higher tech safety options, but it’s still a beauty, too. 

This week it’s Volkswagen’s 2019 Passat we review, sporting SE R-Line trim with technology and safety packages included as standard fare. Built by an American-based workforce in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Passat is one of Volkswagen’s top offerings that date all the way back to 1973 and evolvement through eight generations.

Volkswagen promotes the Passat as a midsize alternate next to its new, two-inch longer wheelbase 2019 Arteon, the latter a more expensive model. Arteon takes the place of the discontinued Volkswagen CC as top tier on the auto giant’s pecking order.         

Not to be overshadowed by the Arteon, Passat currently awaits its new ninth generation model that will hit dealer showrooms later this year as a 2020 model. It’s a nice upgrade, but for those seeking greater value the 2019 Passat might be the better buy thanks to more incentives the closer the new Passat comes to introduction.

Additionally, although the 2020 Passat will feature distinct style enhancements, it certainly won’t make the 2019 model obsolete. Both Passats look great and the designers have not swayed much from the model’s year-to-year successful overall pattern.  

Two Passat trims are available for ’19 with the nicely equipped Wolfsburg Edition starting at $25,295 or the top level SE R-Line that starts at $29,995. Both feature VW’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder coupled to VW’s six-speed Sport Mode Tiptronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Our Passat delivered good acceleration and surprisingly good fuel mileage. The V6 powered GT Passat has been discontinued for 2019.

Specifically, expect Passat to deliver 25 city and 36 highway EPA estimates, which are better than past 1.8-liter engine applications of 23 city and 34 highway on older Passat models. Although the 2.0-liter turbo four produces just 174 horses and 184 pounds of torque, don’t discount the acceleration capabilities once the turbo kicks in.

Our tester’s bottom line sticker came in at a final tally $30,890 including an $895 delivery fee. Our “no options” model comes thanks to R-Line’s standard features that include 19-inch tires on nice alloy wheels, push button start, Auto Connect features for Android and Apple smartphones, Discover Media navigation with touch screen, Sirius/XM satellite, Fender stereo system, CD player, SD memory card reader, and much more.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 110-inches, 3,274 lb. curb weight, 18.5 gallon fuel tank, 36.4 ft. turn radius, 15.9 cu. ft. of trunk space and a 5.4 inch ground clearance.

 

Auto bits

Would you ride in an autonomous shuttle?

Navya wants to change the way you get around with its autonomous electric shuttles.

These shuttles aren’t just prototypes. They’re on the road in over 20 countries, and you can even find them in the US on the University of Michigan’s campus.

BestRide.com staffers had the chance to go for a ride in a Navya shuttle at the Movin’On with Michelin conference in Montreal. It accommodates 15 passengers -— 11 seated and 4 standing — with plenty of room for backpacks and briefcases and feels surprisingly airy with an abundance of windows.

It’s fully autonomous with no driver, but any human can take over in an emergency and stop the shuttle, even though it doesn’t have a steering wheel. 

There are two emergency stop buttons and an Xbox controller plugged in and mounted just beneath the destination touchscreen. The controller can be used to drive the shuttle in a pinch.

Our ride took us along a pedestrian access road as people were entering the conference and, unsurprisingly, people got in the way. 

It was a challenging environment, but the shuttle was just fine.

—Nicole Wakelin/BestRide.com

 

Did you know

Road debris played a role in more than 200,000 crashes from 2011 to 2014, according to AAA.