Sixty-two years in, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award is a prestigious and honorable one. This year, Motor Trend announced that its car of the year is the Volkswagen Passat live at a Volkswagen press conference at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
The German brand’s American-made Passat topped 34 other new or completely redesigned models, more in competition than previous years. Qualifying factors for the award encompass real-world driving, track-based driving, and handling evaluations. The six sets of criteria they seek are: Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Indented Function.
“The well-equipped Passat is a breakthrough car for Volkswagen, as it has been designed to suit the North American market and is being built in a brand-new, state-of-the-art assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.,” said Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief, Angus MacKenzie. “It has one of the roomiest interiors in its class, a wide choice of powertrains and a well-tuned chassis. A compelling new entry in the toughest, most competitive vehicle segment in the U.S. today, it’s a terrific all-around family sedan.”
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Refresher: The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is offered in three trim levels, S SE and SEL. Entry-level 2012 Passat models are powered by a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Standard transmission choice include a 5-speed manual while an optional 6-speed automatic is available. Moving up, buyers can pick a 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel 4-cylinder unit making 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission, the 2012 Passat TDI gets 43 mpg on the highway and a range of approximately 800 miles. The range-topping 2012 Volkswagen Passat is powered by a 3.6L VR6 units producing 280-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed DSG, the 2012 Passat VR6 will get 28 mpg on the highway. Prices will start around $19,995.
– By: Alexandra Koken