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2012 Volkswagen Passat named Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year

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Old 11-16-11, 08:59 PM   #1
Hoovey2411
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Default 2012 Volkswagen Passat named Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year

2012 Volkswagen Passat named Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year


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Motor Trend has named the 2012 Volkswagen Passat its 2012 Car of the Year at the 2011 LA Auto Show today. The publication has been handing out the honor for 62 years now, and says that all of the eligible vehicles were submitted to a battery of tests that include on-track and real-world driving evaluations. In the end, the 2012 Passat came out on top because it fulfills six specific criteria: advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function. Motor Trend specifically cited the vehicle's roomy interior and wide range of powertrain options as reasons that it won the top nod.

Amazingly enough, this is only the second time in the history of the award that Volkswagen has taken home the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy. The last time was in 1985 for the GTI.

This is a big nod for a vehicle that many feared would lose its German quality in its Americanization. Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 2012 Passat is a suitable rival for long-reigning models like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

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MOTOR TREND NAMES VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2012 CAR OF THE YEAR

El Segundo, Calif. (November 16, 2011) – Motor Trend, the world's authority on cars, trucks and SUVs announced today the Volkswagen Passat as its 2012 Car of the Year. Now in its 62nd year, the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award®, announced live at the Volkswagen press conference from the Los Angeles International Auto Show, is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon an automotive manufacturer by Motor Trend.

The American-made, new-for-2012, Volkswagen Passat edged out contenders from Europe, Japan and America to take this year's award from a record field of 35 all-new, or thoroughly redesigned, 2012 model year vehicles. Car of the Year candidates were subjected to an exhaustive evaluation process that included the full complement ofMotor Trend performance tests, track-based ride and handling evaluations, and real-world driving on city streets, freeways and two-lane roads.

"The well-equipped Passat is a breakthrough car for Volkswagen, as it has been designed to suit the North American market and is being built in a brand-new, state-of-the-art assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.," said Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief, Angus MacKenzie. "It has one of the roomiest interiors in its class, a wide choice of powertrains and a well-tuned chassis. A compelling new entry in the toughest, most competitive vehicle segment in the U.S. today, it's a terrific all-around family sedan."

For more than six decades, the editorial staff of Motor Trend has met to determine the best new car for the following model year. The Car of the Year process is not a comparison test; the winning vehicle is the one that, in the judges' opinion, best fulfills six key criteria: Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Intended Function.

Advancement in Design
The Passat's styling is clean and simple, but executed with a precision normally seen on expensive luxury cars. Car of the Year judge Tom Gale, Chrysler's former design chief, noted, "...like the Audi [A6], what is remarkable is the restraint shown with the handling of the design. Clean, beautiful surfaces have been refined for an engaging result."

Like the exterior, the Passat's remarkably roomy interior is clean and simple, with clear instrumentation and easy to use controls.

Engineering Excellence
With options that include a 2.5-liter five-cylinder gas engine, a powerful V-6 or a highly efficient turbo diesel – each with the option of marriage to a standard transmission or the seamlessly smooth dual-clutch auto-manual unit – Motor Trend found the powertrains of the Passat to be perfectly matched to the car.

Motor Trend editors particularly praised the diesel engine mated to dual-clutch auto-manual gear box. Engineering guru Chris Theodore noted of the combination, "...without the compromises that mainstream green vehicles impose-a true technological achievement."

Efficiency
The new 2012 Passat makes great strides in its efficiency thanks to the versatile powertrain. The standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine returned 26.5 mpg in testing while the optional turbo-diesel returned an average of 34.3 mpg. The Passat had the best fuel economy stats of this year's finalists over the course of 11 mixed-driving loops.

Safety
Between government mandates and consumer expectations, pretty much every car in this segment gets a standard complement of passive safety gadgets that include six airbags, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, ABS and brake-assist, among numerous other electronic aids.

The Passat, which seemed just as at home on an American interstate as it would the German autobahn, scored highly for its ability to help drivers avoid a crash in the first place. "What's more fun to talk about under the safety rubric is how well the Passat's chassis is tuned to keep it out of trouble, because well-driven, agile cars are less likely to plow into things than poorly controlled, flabby, clumsy ones," said Motor Trend Technical Editor, Frank Markus.

Value
By investing in a new facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. to build the Passat, VW has reduced the potential for currency fluctuations to negatively impact the price, as happened with the previous imported model.

With initial costs lower and overall ownership costs suppressed – thanks to improved build quality and VW's Carefree Maintenance Program – the 2012 Volkswagen Passat stands as a great value in a market segment driven by price-conscious consumers.

Performance of Intended Function
The 2012 Passat was intended to be an affordable, roomy, efficient mid-size sedan for the American family, and the car delivers perfectly on its mission statement. Car of the Year judge Chris Theodore summed it up best, "I was expecting a large, cost-reduced VW that had lost its Fahrvergnügen, but it's still there, just cloaked in Brooks Brothers."

Today's announcement marks only the second time Volkswagen has won Motor Trend's highest honor, the first being in 1985 for the then American-built GTI.
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Old 11-16-11, 09:00 PM   #2
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I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one. I'd of given the nod to the 2012 Camry
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Old 11-16-11, 09:17 PM   #3
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***WARNING THIS IS GOING TO BE SCATHING AND MAY MAKE YOU CRINGE AS I PERFORM A PUBLIC EXECUTION***

Motor "Bend" has insulted automobile buyers, enthusiasts and Americans with a decision so terrible and utterly childish that it is beyond mind boggling.

Lets cut to the chase. Motor Bend is 100% endorsing crap, average and setting low standards for youself and as a company. How the hell can the "car of the year" be a complete step back from the previous 2 generations of this vehicle?

This is the huge double standard crap I have been very vocal about. Toyota/Honda have gotten RAPED in the media and by internet warriors (most with no car keys or drive something worse than the car they are bashing) for producing sub-par cars, or "resting on laurels". Here is VW not even resting on laurels but going BACKWARDS to create a Passat on par with a 1995 Accord or Camry and it is PRAISED?

Please please PLEASE GIVE US ALL what they are smoking over there. PLEASE!!!!!

Yes I have checked it out and it is so sub-par I didn't care to drive it. Have you sat in it? Its so ho-hum it makes a Camry feel like a Ferrari 458. Its so beige and grey that the 1992 Pontiac Grand Am laughs from its grave. It has broken ABSOLUTELY NO NEW GROUND!!

Going back to the double standard it is PREPOSTEROUS and UTTERLY RIDICULOUS that they call the Passat "handsome and like a luxury car" in the looks department. IT DOESN"T LOOK LIKE ANYTHING! I looks like a fridge, it has the style of a cookie cutter home and is as eye-catching as a pillow. It is beyond bland and snoore inducing. THE GALL OF MOTOR BEND OR ANYONE TO TALK CRAP ABOUT THE CAMRY OR ANY OTHER "BLAND" CAR THEN PRAISE THIS!!!

The 300C was a close second and it should have won. It is a full step better than the last model, it is NOT a step back. It gets 31 MPG with the new 8 speed. They offer a 450hp SRT model. It is one of the few American sedans that does not pretend to be Asian (okay it pretends to be a Bentley but thats better than looking like a 15 year old Camry).

There is no explanation to be had. This is a travesty to the reader and to ANY automobile buyer. This is a biblically terrible car a completely undeserving award.

This type of crap is what motivates me to write (I have literally worked maybe 16 hrs as I type this) b/c ALL CAR BUYERS deserve better!

Thanks Motor Bend for insulting every car buyer in the world

That said the fact of the matter is this is what a VW is. A People car. Bland/cheap/basic transportation. They tried to move upward and it failed miserably. People want bland/boring/cheap VWs that are totally unremarkable and worse than anything out of anywhere else.

Here the Passat succeeds brilliantly, at being utterly average. They should not get an award for it.

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Old 11-16-11, 09:44 PM   #4
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VW must be laughing over in Germany. The formula to winning Car of the Year is to carry over the engines, "dumb it down", cheapen the materials, cost cut, and just make it bigger.

Oh, "restraint" in design mean just draw three boxes, connect them together, then round the corners. That's "clean and simple design" according to judge Tom Gale.

Finally, lobby your car to Motor Trend editors...$$$$$.
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Old 11-16-11, 10:15 PM   #5
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Good choice. New Passat has very smart, clean, executive, and restrained lines. Just how the last Camry was until Toyota Frankensteined it. And it was the Jetta's materials that were cheapened, not the Passat's. About the only thing wrong here is the underpowered base engine, especially when compared to the Camry.
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Old 11-16-11, 11:58 PM   #6
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In this economy, the Passat is appropriate.

It's not the best car, but I think it is one that will appeal to the masses.

Would I have chosen it? Hell no. But I am far skewed to one side of the buying market.

Sorry, enthusiasts. This year is not yours...
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Old 11-17-11, 05:43 AM   #7
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Motor Trend has really had some dogs as their choice over the years.Including the '07 Camry.I had an XLE and it was and probably will be the worst built Camry ever.

2012 Volkswagen Passat
2011 Chevrolet Volt[10]
2010 Ford Fusion[11]
2009 Nissan GT-R
2008 Cadillac CTS
2007 Toyota Camry
2006 Honda Civic
2005 Chrysler 300
2004 Toyota Prius
2003 Infiniti G35
2002 Ford Thunderbird
2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser
2000 Lincoln LS
1999 Chrysler 300M
1998 Chevrolet Corvette
1997 Chevrolet Malibu
1996 Dodge Caravan
1995 Chrysler Cirrus
1994 Ford Mustang
1993 Ford Probe GT
1992 Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan
1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic LTZ
1990 Lincoln Town Car
1989 Ford Thunderbird SC
1988 Pontiac Grand Prix
1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
1986 Ford Taurus LX
1985 Volkswagen GTI (eligible due to it being built in VW's now-defunct Pennsylvania plant)
1984 Chevrolet Corvette
1983 AMC / Renault Alliance
1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1981 Chrysler K Cars, Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant
1980 Chevrolet Citation
1979 Buick Riviera S
1978 Chrysler, Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon
1977 Chevrolet Caprice
1976 Chrysler, Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare
1975 Chevrolet Monza 2+2
1974 Ford Mustang II
1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1972 Citroën SM (an imported vehicle that was selected overall "Car of the Year")
1971 Chevrolet Vega
1970 Ford Torino
1969 Plymouth Road Runner
1968 Pontiac GTO
1967 Mercury Cougar
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
1965 Pontiac Motor Division
1964 Ford Motor Company (not for the Mustang)
1963 American Motors (AMC) Rambler (all models: American, Classic, and Ambassador)
1962 Buick Special
1961 Pontiac Tempest
1960 Chevrolet Corvair
1959 Pontiac Motor Division
1958 Ford Thunderbird
1957 Chrysler Corporation (all makes: Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial)
1956 Ford Motor Company
1955 Chevrolet Motor Division
1954 No award
1953 No award
1952 Cadillac Motor Division
1951 Chrysler Corporation
1950 No award
1949 Cadillac Motor Division
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Old 11-17-11, 05:52 AM   #8
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My sister back home is actually considering the new Jetta TDI (I guess my positive feedback regarding the gas mileage and spirited performance of my 118d got to her) to replace her IS250. My sister isn't a car enthusiast but is interested in pricing, cabin space and safety. The new Jetta and Passat excel in this regard. Plus, she's always had a thing for VWs ever since owning a New Beetle in the past. Originally she was considering going over to Acura, but I suppose those beaks scared her away!

It's pretty clear that these cars don't appeal to enthusiasts. An Accord or Camry doesn't appeal to enthusiasts either. Why should a Passat? I realize the Passat used to be different because it was more "European", but its success was held back by its pricing and rather sporty drive compared to its competitors. In short, it was left standing in the corner while others increased sales. VW wants a piece of the action and the formula for competitiveness in this niche is to "dumb down the car for the masses". And it's working. The new Jetta is selling like hotcakes and the new Passat isn't doing to badly, either.

Either way, who really cares which cars win COTY awards. I stopped paying attention to what car magazines say a long time ago. I drive the cars I am interested in and then decide what to buy. I could care less if a car magazine favors a particular car because, oh, it drives quicker around a track and has better skid pad numbers. That is completely irrelevant to 90% of consumers out there.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeb427 View Post
1972 Citroën SM (an imported vehicle that was selected overall "Car of the Year")
Well-deserved.

That car was truly a revolution and sensation when it came out. You couldn't help but think "THE FUTURE" when you read about and saw the SM. Lovely car.

I want one.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustinV View Post
Well-deserved.

That car was truly a revolution and sensation when it came out. You couldn't help but think "THE FUTURE" when you read about and saw the SM. Lovely car.

I want one.

How 'bout the 1995 Chrysler Cirrus,1971 Chevrolet Vega,1980 Chevrolet Citation,1983 AMC / Renault Alliance etc
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Old 11-17-11, 06:01 AM   #11
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I've read a number of articles and opinions over the years about how the MT "COTY" award is nothing more than an auction for which automaker will commit to the highest ad budget with the magazine. I think David E. Davis penned one back in the 80s. I don't know whether it is true, but I'm inclined to believe it reviewing some of the winners in the above list.
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Old 11-17-11, 06:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeb427 View Post
How 'bout the 1995 Chrysler Cirrus,1971 Chevrolet Vega,1980 Chevrolet Citation,1983 AMC / Renault Alliance etc
I can see the reason why the '71 Vega made the cut. It was a fairly "innovative" car for its time but I think the coolest thing about the Vega was its "vert-a-pac" means of being delivered to dealerships. That might have perhaps played a role...

Ah, the Chevrolet Citation. No words needed. What an awful car that was. I nearly bought one as a beater when I was still in Maryland but ultimately canned the idea. I think the hype surrounding this car upon launch was the reason it won COTY. The press applauded it, GM marketed the hell out of them and I suppose early consumer feedback was also positive. It was a car people talked about in those days and was "all the rage". Hype and fad can do wonder to make a product sell (win).

The Renault Alliance was based on the Renault 9. In Europe the Renault 9 had a reputation as being cheaply put together (yet reliable) and rusting within a few years (like most cars at the time). Again, I think the novelty of the car at the time made it a contender. It was a French-designed and engineered car that was shabbily assembled in AMC factories. That couldn't work well in the long run - and it didn't. Interestingly enough you can still see a lot of running Renault 9s and 11s in Italy, Spain and in the south of France where the temperatures are warmer and rust issues aren't as strong. North Africa is also a place that is full of them. I suppose the engineering and overall durability of these cars is quite good, even though they weren't that well-built (yes I know how that sounds but there are many such examples in automotive history).
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Old 11-17-11, 06:53 AM   #13
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