Recall Alert: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Passat


Vehicles Affected: About 26,452 model-year 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible and Passat cars equipped with a 1.8-liter turbo engine and torque converter automatic transmission.

The Problem: The O-ring seals between the oil cooler and transmission may leak fluid, which could contact a hot surface and result in a fire. The automaker said it is not aware of any fires, injuries or accidents attributed to this issue.

The Fix: Volkswagen began notifying owners earlier this month, and dealers will replace the O-ring in the transmission oil cooler for free. On April 9, the automaker issued a mandatory stop-sale order on all of the affected models manufactured between Feb. 1, 2014, and now.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat


Vehicles Affected: About 150,201 model-year 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat sedans manufactured between January 2011 and November 2012.

The Problem: The low beam headlight bulb may become loose and lose electrical contact; this may reduce the driver's visibility and increase the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Volkswagen will notify owners starting in May, and dealers will replace the bulb holder for free.

What Owners Should do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 9, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat


Vehicles Affected: About 150,201 model-year 2012-2013 Volkswagen Passat sedans.

The Problem: When the hood is closed roughly, or dropped from a certain height, the resulting vibration or impact could cause a low-beam headlight bulb to lose electrical contact; failing illumination of the low-beam bulb may lead to reduced visibility. In its voluntary-recall announcement, Volkswagen noted that if the low beam loses electrical contact, a warning in the instrument cluster will immediately alert the driver. No crashes or injuries related to the problem have been reported, according to the automaker.

The Fix: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install an improved bulb fitting, and inspect and adjust the hood bumpers if necessary to prevent the hood from contacting the headlight assembly when dropped during closing; dealers will do the work for free. The automaker did not specify a timeline for notification.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can contact Volkswagen at 800-893-5298 for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 18, 2014 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show


Looks like: A blue Volkswagen Passat
Defining characteristics: Unique Reef Blue Metallic exterior color and BlueMotion badging; two-tone leather interior with BlueMotion-specific stitching
Ridiculous features: None; this is a production-ready car
Chances of being mass-produced: Pretty good

With this week's debut of the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the German automaker says it's out to illustrate just how fuel efficient a gas-only midsize sedan can be. The Passat BlueMotion sedan's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection employs a number of fuel-saving technologies to help the concept achieve an estimated fuel economy of 42 mpg highway, which in real-world mileage would be best in class among non-hybrid cars of its ilk.

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show News

The engine, which makes 150 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, uses VW's Active Cylinder Management system previously employed in European Polo and Golf models. The system deactivates the valvetrain on cylinders two and three in light throttle situations to maintain specific city speeds. In addition, the Passat BlueMotion has a coasting function — also found on the Jetta Hybrid — in which the dual-clutch automatic transmission decouples the engine as soon as the driver releases the accelerator, allowing the car to roll with the lowest possible mechanical drag from the other moving components, according to VW. The third fuel-saving function used by the Passat BlueMotion is an engine stop-start feature.

By Matt Schmitz | January 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

VW Announces 2014 Passat Sport Pricing


When we saw Volkswagen's Passat Performance concept at the last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it seemed conventional enough to reach mass production. This week, the German automaker announced just that: The 2014 Passat Sport is set to arrive at dealerships in early 2014, starting at $27,295, including an $820 destination charge.

Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen positions the performance-focused midsize sedan in its lineup between the midlevel SE and range-topping SEL Premium trims. "The 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport takes a number of design cues from the concept car to offer an athletic-leaning take on the award-winning sedan," the automaker stated.

By Matt Schmitz | January 8, 2014 | Comments (3)

2013 Volkswagen Passat Review


The 2013 Volkswagen Passat might not be the object of one's desire for a casual fling, but reviewer Kristin Varela says it's the one you'll want to settle down with. Redesigned for 2012 and updated for 2013, the Passat isn't the sort that gets collars steaming, but a dignified, less-showy kind you can take home to mom.

2013 Volkswagen Passat Review
By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2013 | Comments (4)

How Much Does Refilling the Volkswagen Passat TDI's Urea Cost?

"How much does refilling the Volkswagen Passat TDI's urea cost?"


By Rick Popely | October 13, 2013 | Comments (6)

VW Passat Lineup Gets Wolfsburg Edition

Hoping to shore up weak Passat sales, Volkswagen is adding a new model to the sedan's lineup. VW says the Passat Wolfsburg Edition "offers a number of additional convenience features for a competitive price."

The Wolfsburg Edition will slot between the base S ($21,640) and the midlevel SE ($24,740) trims and go on sale in mid-2013 starting at $24,290; all prices include a $795 destination fee. To the S model — which comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, a steering wheel with audio and phone controls, automatic headlights, power exterior mirrors and driver's seat lumbar support — the Wolfsburg Edition adds 16-inch alloy wheels, perforated V-Tex leatherette seats, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, satellite radio and a Media Device-Interface with iPod cable.

Sales of VW's midsize sedan, which is built in its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, were down 5% in March compared to last March, and the automaker recently announced plans to lay off 500 workers at the facility.

Research the 2013 Volkswagen Passat
2013 Volkswagen Passat: What's Changed
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By Jennifer Geiger | April 24, 2013 | Comments (2) Reviews the 2013 Buick LaCrosse


The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist doesn't offer the Volkswagen Passat TDI's value or the high-end Lexus ES 300h's fuel economy, but reviewer Jennifer Geiger says it "pleasantly" splits the difference between practicality and price. The mild hybrid version of Buick's largest sedan improves gas mileage with its lithium-ion battery pack and 15-kilowatt electric motor combined with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; the result is seamless acceleration and a "pillowy" ride. While the LaCrosse's lush interior draws nearer to "luxury" than "near-luxury" competitors, backseat comfort and cargo space may necessitate hanging on to that hyphen.

2013 Buick LaCrosse Review
By Matt Schmitz | January 22, 2013 | Comments (3) Buzz Index: March 2012


Welcome to the Buzz Index, where we rank the hottest cars that consumers search on These cars have seen the biggest increase in searches and dealer contacts since last month.

Top cars in March were an eclectic bunch. Summerlike temperatures across much of the country had consumers thinking sports cars, but rising gas prices — the national average price for regular gas eclipsed $3.90 a gallon last week — brought several high-mpg redesigns alongside. Consider some numbers: Three cars in the top five have 300 horsepower or more — one has nearly double that — and five of the top 10 have an EPA city or highway rating of at least 40 mpg.

Unsurprisingly, eight of the 10 also have been redesigned or received significant updates in the past year.

By Kelsey Mays | March 30, 2012 | Comments (8)

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