Last year VW opened their Chattanooga Tennessee production facility capable of producing 250,000 vehicles a year and the first car to be produced there is this all-new Passat. Having a chance to tour the plant when it was first opened showed me that VW is serious about selling more products in North America. To do so they feel that local production will help to curb currency fluctuations and produce products tailored to our specific tastes. The same idea was behind the Mexico plant that produces the very successful Jetta model. Build them close to market and build them with the customer in mind. It was nice to get back into the new Passat after the initial lunch event last year, this time with the base 2.5L 5-cylinder model.
This is a big car but the designers have successfully grafted the ''family'' design architecture onto it. With full-sized car dimensions and the availability of a very fuel-efficient diesel engine, this car would not only be suitable for personal use but also taxi and limo duties, now that the Lincoln Town Car and Ford Crown Victoria have been retired. With a lower starting price of $23,975 for the base model, this Passat offers a huge amount of value. Basically the Passat delivers full-sized amenities for a mid-sized price. Motor Trend must have thought that this car was a good value as well, since they chose it for their car of the year award. The base car comes with 16-inch steel wheels and plastic covers, to get alloy wheels the ''Trendline Plus'' version should be ordered for just $900 more. In order to get the tasty wheels seen here the ''Comfortline'' model with additional sport package for a total of $29,025.