The other day I came across the deal of the century: two cheeseburgers at Wendy’s for 99 cents. And while I was chomping on those dollar cheeseburgers, I came across another equally amazing deal on the internet: a brand new 2016 Passat on sale for $16,580 at the local Volkswagen dealer.

$7000 off MSRP!

The fact that a brand new VW is worth a little more than what I paid for a used 2012 VW Passat a year and a half ago is crazy. I bought the car from the exact same dealer too, which makes me feel like I got totally ripped off.

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To be fair, back then VW wasn’t the same company it is today. The brand was still intact unlike today where it has been totally demolished because of the whole diesel emissions cheating scandal. You think you hate your job? Try working at VW. It has got to be worse than being a greeter at Walmart. It’s hard enough to work as a salesman at a dealer—now imagine trying to sell cars to people who look at you like you’re the reincarnation of Satan.

It’s all a shame because the Passat is actually a great car. I may have overpaid for mine by a little, but it certainly didn’t seem like the car should’ve been worth only $16K at the time that I bought it. It was a one-owner car with 26K miles with a perfect interior, exterior and a two-year 24,000 mile warranty.

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The brand new, heavily discounted 2016 Passat could possibly be obtained for even less with some hardcore negotiating. But you probably don’t need to bother with that since the dealer will be overjoyed that you even decided to open the door and step inside. These days, any time a new car sale takes place, the dealer manager must lift up his arms in relief and yell out: “Oh my god, we actually sold a new car. Break out that champagne, boys and girls! Let’s get drunk and take the rest of the day off!”

I’ve enjoyed owning my used Passat since it does its job well as a practical and comfortable sedan. It looks and feels nice. During the time that I’ve owned it, the car has had a couple of minor things go wrong but they were all fixed for free thanks to the warranty.

What appeals to me most about the Passat is the build quality. The doors are solid and heavy and come with the requisite ear-pleasing thunk we all love. This is vastly unlike the weak and brittle doors on my used Lexus that cost almost twice as much as the Passat. The exterior panels on the Lexus are so flimsy that if a leaf found its way onto the hood of the car, it would leave a small dent.

The interior of the Passat has a level of refinement that you absolutely wouldn’t expect in a 4-year old car that is valued a little less than $10K. And that’s what it’s worth today. Next year, my Passat will be worth less than a used dresser found at the local flea market.

Driving The Passat

The big difference between the 2012 Passat and some of its competitors, especially of the Hyundai, Honda and Toyota variety from that same year is that the Passat feels much better to drive. With the Volkswagen, you feel like you’re driving a car with much more substance and handling that is responsive and direct. The other cars feel dull and uninspiring in comparison where you’ll need to keep slapping yourself across the face to in order to stay awake while driving.

Although the Passat I own has a measly 170 hp, which is good enough for the purpose that I bought the car for, a 280 hp V6 would have been much better. But the car would have also cost me more than 16 grand. Why can’t we have it all!

Making The Easy Stuff Hard

The Passat manages to make the simplest things way too complicated. Nothing is intuitive and things like changing the time or checking your gas mileage is super frustrating. What should take five seconds to figure out, instead, takes a lifetime of learning the right combination of buttons to push, rolling down the front two windows and tapping your elbow against the steering wheel in order to connect your phone to the car’s bluetooth.

You will get stuck trying to do the easy things so be sure to always have your phone on you. That way you can look up a YouTube video on how to get into your car if the door-lock remote stops working. This happened to me recently when the remote battery died and YouTube saved me.

And that’s not all. Changing the treble and bass settings on the stereo which should theoretically be one of the easiest things to do is not so easy on the Passat.

I had to resort to the manual to find out how to do it since I couldn’t find the option anywhere through the touchscreen interface. The last time I touched a manual for any car was...never.

Oh...that tiny button???

Yep, that’s the one you need to push to get to the settings–the one you can barely see. Why wouldn’t it be the big “SETUP” button on the right?

But once you figure out these dumb things, you’re good to go. Until the next time you change the settings and you’ve completely forgotten how to do it.

Despite these needlessly convoluted things about the car, I really like the Passat. It’s one of the few cars on the road where the middle passenger in the back seat won’t hate their life. There’s enough legroom in the rear even with the front seats pushed all the way back.

If I didn’t already have this great practical people mover, I’d buy the new 2016 Passat. It’s such a great new car deal, that it’s tough to pass up. From the reviews, it looks like the newest model comes with significant updates, so I’m hoping they’ve gotten rid of the press-the-horn-twice in order to turn on the high beams requirement.

If you jump on this new Passat deal, thoroughly enjoy the car while you have the warranty. Then immediately regret the decision once the warranty runs out and you find out that you have to pay $1500 to replace the broken sun visor on a car that’s worth ten dollars.


Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars. I’m always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world.

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