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Unfortunately, VW‘s midsize sedan has met its end. The American appetite for trucks, SUVs, and crossovers has claimed another victim. Volkswagen’s Passat is dead. The last-ever USDM (United States Domestic Market) Volkswagen Passat rolled off the assembly line in Chattanooga, Tennessee last month. Passats in all other countries will follow shortly. So, we thought we’d put together a greatest hits list to send the Passat on its way.

The last Volkswagen Passat on the assembly line in VW's Tennessee plant
The last Passat in America | Volkswagen

What is the best VW Passat to buy?

The 2022 Passat final edition shot from the front 3/4 with forest green paint
VW included nods to Tenessee in the last Passat, like maps in the cupholders | VW

Let’s be honest for a moment before breaking out the rose glasses. The best Volkswagen Passat you can buy is the newest, lowest mileage one you can afford. Obviously, that means (budget allowing), a brand new one. If you’re really a Passat fan, you can even swing for the 2022 Special Edition. It features loads of nods to the Chattanooga plant that’s built the Camry competitor since 2011, like cupholders with a map of the city at their base.

2003 Volkswagen Passat B5

A maroon 2003 Volkswagen Passat shot from the front 3/4 with a silver GTI in the background
My 2003 Passat | Chase Bierenkoven, MotorBiscuit

Failing that, we’ll kick off the list of best Volkswagen Passats with the B5 Passat. That’s the chassis code used to refer to the 1997-2004 run. This one is dear to me. My first car was a 2003 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T with a 5-speed manual transmission. I lavished attention on the car as often as I inappropriately flogged it on public roads. Really, a high schooler’s stewardship is the ultimate test of reliability, and this generation passed with flying colors. We’d be remiss not to mention the awesome (if unreliable) Passat W8 wagon, which came with AWD and a Phaeton-derived W8 engine. Even now, $10,000 buys you a lot of B5 Passat.

2007 B6

A black B6 wagon shot from the front 3/4
The B6 wagon is about as practical as VWs get | Volkswagen

The B6 Volkswagen Passat was effectively a facelifted B5. It incorporated many of the same trims, including the wagon, and added some more modern tech. AWD was again an option for the B6 generation, and they’ve held up well over time. However, these can be hard to find given their low production numbers. Expect to pay a small premium over the B5 Volkswagen Passat.

2012 B7

A pair of 2012 B7 models shot overlooking a city
The B7 brought the Passat into the modern age | VW

2012 was when the Passat began to shine. While older B6 and B5 models were largely reliable, the B7 Volkswagen Passat was a truly reliable ride. VW also lifted the wagon to produce the Alltrack, a sort of cheaper A4 Allroad. Thankfully, AWD was also available, and modern touches like Bluetooth began to creep in. $15,000 buys all the B7 Passat you’ll ever need.

We’ll miss the Passat. Or at least, I will. But they say heroes never die, and to high school me, the Passat was the keys to the automotive kingdom. For a very long time, the Passat was a midsize sedan that was a sweet spot between luxury features and value, but at least cars like the Genesis G70 are now striving to fill that hole.


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