May 23, 2004
Reviewed By Keith Martin
Price as Tested $75,865
Likes

Perhaps the best combination of svelte exterior lines and extraordinary interior spaciousness on the market today; magnificent wood and leather; capable all-wheel-drive system that pulled easily through deep snow; strong 335-horsepower engine.

Dislikes

navigation system; needlessly complex radio; power trunk lid that could double as a slow guillotine for the unwary; and of course, a ridiculous price for a car with a VW badge on it.

Verdict

The minute you have to start explaining to someone why you bought a specific car, you’ve lost. We’ve never had to explain our Suburban or our E-class to anyone, yet we had to explain why the oversized Passat in our driveway cost $80,000 to everyone. And this is the cheap Phaeton. If you have to have one, wait a couple of years. Heavily subsidized leases today mean cheap resale values tomorrow.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
4.0 rating
Overall Experience
2.0 rating
Stats