Dated dash tech meets the connected age in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat doesn’t come up very often in my discussions about and comparisons with other sedans in its class. Perhaps, it’s because the Passat is like a Jetta or because the RNS 315 and 510 navigation systems simply aren’t exciting to techies and have been around forever. Perhaps it’s because, for VW enthusiasts, the Passat is almost a foregone conclusion, the obvious choice when you need more space than the Jetta offers and for everyone else, suggesting a Volkswagen will be met with, “Yeah, but what about the reliability?” Perhaps it’s that you either want a Passat or you don’t that keeps it out of discussion.

Let’s discuss it anyway, because the 2014 Passat SEL Premium 1.8T that I was able to take for a spin at a recent Volkswagen full-line driving event is interesting for a few reasons — the most obvious being the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, which is a new, strong performer, and the debut of VW’s Car-Net telematics system, which brings the dated dashboard tech into the connected age.

Dashboard tech and Car-Net telematics The Passat’s dashboard tech doesn’t seem to have changed much. Front and center, our SEL trim level featured the same RNS 510 navigation receiver that has graced Volkswagen models for as far back as I care to remember. It’s not a bad system, boasting a combination of physical and touch-screen controls that are easy to understand and an inte… [Read more]


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