The starting MSRP of $19,995 for the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat will definitely make it a strong contender in the highly competitive midsize segment. “The 2012 Passat is a true Volkswagen, offering German engineering, class-leading standard features, and superior fuel economy, all for a remarkable value,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Demonstrating our commitment to the American market, the car will be produced at one of the newest, most advanced, and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world in Chattanooga, Tennessee.” The 2012 Passat offers exceptional standard features and premium options and will be available in three powertrains with multiple trim options, all at an equally impressive price.
The starting price of $19,995 will get you into the 2.5L with a six-speed manual transmission, giving you 170 horsepower. There are eight, count ‘em eight trim levels and standard are automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, and Volkswagen’s no-charge three-year/36,000 mile schedule Carefree Maintenance Program.
At the next level, we have the SE that starts at $23,725 and it includes additional equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, and a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel. See the pricing chart below for more details and additional model information.
Returning to the Passat lineup for 2012 is the TDI variant that comes equipped with VW’s 2.0L turbo diesel engine that is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway, with a range of nearly 800 miles. The TDI’s base package, the SE, comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Volkswagen’s touchscreen Premium VIII radio and six-speed manual transmission. Volkswagen’s highly regarded DSG dual-clutch gearbox is an option.
Topping the range is the powerful 3.6L VR6 that has three trim levels with a starting MSRP of $28,995. Standard is the DSG gearbox that puts out 280 horsepower. Additional standard premium features include 18-inch alloy wheels, comfort sport seats, a sunroof, and a class exclusive Fender Premium Audio System.
Specifically designed for North America, the new Passat is much larger with more rear-seat legroom. It was designed to provide premium features unique to the U.S. market but at the same time, retaining the dynamic character that is expected of the Volkswagen.
Premium options include leather seating surfaces, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, wood decor, ambiance lighting, memory driver’s seat, power passenger seat, a choice of Volkswagen’s RNS 315 or RNS 510 navigation systems, front fog lights with static cornering lights, and keyless access with push button start. Also available is the new Fender Premium Audio System that will combine the raw emotion of live music with the driving experience.
|2012 Passat Pricing|
|2.5L – S (man)||$19,995||16” steel wheels, six-speed manual transmission, Automatic dual-zone climate control, power locks & windows, body color mirror and door handles, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, 8-way manual driver seat, center armrest w/integrated storage box|
|2.5L – S w Appearance(auto)||$22,690||+ Six-speed automatic transmission, 16” alloy wheels, rear center armrest w/storage|
|2.5L – SE (man)||$23,725||17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest|
|2.5L – SE (auto)||$24,825||+ Six-speed automatic transmission|
|2.5L – SE w Sunroof||$25,625||+ Sunroof|
|2.5L – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$26,795||+ RNS 315 Navigation with Mobile Device Interface (MDI)|
|2.5L – SEL||$28,395||+ RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System, Homelink, comfort sport seats, interior chrome accents, wood grain interior décor, exterior chrome accents|
|2.5L – SEL Premium||$29,895||+ leather seating surfaces, keyless access and remote start, fog lights, driver seat memory, 8-way power passenger seat|
|TDI – SE||$25,995||17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest|
|TDI – SE w Sunroof||$27,895||+ Six-speed DSG automatic transmission, sunroof|
|TDI – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$29,495||+ 18” alloy wheels, RNS 315 Navigation, Mobile Device Interface (MDI), fog lights, exterior chrome accents|
|TDI – SEL Premium||$32,195||+ Leather seating surfaces, comfort sport seats, keyless access and remote start, RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System, driver seat memory, wood grain interior décor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents|
|3.6L – SE w Sunroof||$28,995||Six-speed DSG automatic transmission18” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, sunroof, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, comfort sports seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Fender Premium Audio System, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, chrome dual exhaust, fog lights, sliding front center armrest|
|3.6L – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$30,595||+ RNS 315 Navigation, MDI, exterior chrome accents|
|3.6L – SEL Premium||$32,950||Leather seating surfaces, keyless entry with remote start, RNS 510 navigation, driver seat memory, wood grain interior décor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents|
|Destination||$770||All prices exclude destination|
At the beginning of 2011, I heard rumors of a Fisker store coming to town. A few weeks ago, while I was at Lexus Santa Monica testing the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h, I learned that Sullivan Automotive Group (Lexus Santa Monica’s parent) was building a Fisker store next to its Volkswagen Santa Monica dealership.
The location, at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 25th Ave, is the old Lexus Santa Monica site that is now the internet sales department for the VW dealership. The building is relatively small, but you don’t need a large space for the Fisker brand because they only have one model, the voluptuous $95,900 – $110,000 Karma electric extended range sports car.
Sullivan Automotive Group is the 33rd largest dealership group in the US (2010). In 2010, it sold a total of 21,239 units (new, used and wholesale) and had total revenue (including parts, service, etc.) of $632,338,233 – with only seven dealerships:
The group uses the catch-all LACarGuy.com website to promote its stores and, if you live in LA, you’ve seen billboards for LACarGuy and TV commercials featuring patriarch, Owner/President Michael Sullivan. All of Sullivan’s dealerships have adopted environmentally-friendly practices, both in the showroom and in the service bays. Green is good for business these days.
LACarGuy claims that it’s the number one hybrid dealer in the world. I know the Lexus store is the number one Lexus hybrid seller in the US. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the combination of hybrid sales from the two Toyota dealerships, the Lexus store and a few niche hybrids like the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Porsche Panamera Hybrids, put it on top. We do love our hybrids in LA.
The group also has EV charging stations “live” at some of their dealerships. Odd, as none of the vehicles they sell are plug-in hybrids – yet. The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid EV and the upcoming plug-in Prius will also use the charging stations.
The Fisker brand is a good fit for Sullivan Automotive and the City of Santa Monica. So far, it’s the only Fisker dealer in greater Los Angeles. The next closest store is in Orange County.
If you’ve never been to Sullivan’s flagship Lexus Santa Monica dealership, it’s worth your time to see this video. I give them props for restoring this beautiful, historic building.
The People’s Republic of Santa Monica is the perfect location for the plug-in EV Fisker Karma. It’s home to ultra-wealthy aging hippies, environmentalists and lefty socialists. Entertainment industry and creative-types populate trendy restaurants and condos. Expensive boutiques on Montana Avenue attract celebrity shoplifters. You’ll find LEED-certified buildings and the most creative, modern architecture there.
Santa Monica is home to Heal the Bay. It’s the unofficial “Home of the Homeless.” The City hosts four terrific Farmers Markets each week in three different locations. Organic and locally-sourced food is pervasive.
Santa Monica banned smoking on public beaches and the outdoor patios of restaurants. Plastic bags are banned from supermarkets. The City’s fleet of non-emergency vehicles is mostly hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles. The City’s Big Blue Buses all run on compressed natural gas (CNG). It’s not uncommon to see an old diesel Mercedes that’s been converted to run on B20 bio-diesel or used vegetable oil. The Prius appears to be the unofficial transportation appliance of Santa Monica — you can’t throw a stone in any direction without hitting one.
Santa Monica is ground zero (in the LA Metro) area for everything environmentally-friendly, progressive and “green.” There are many wealthy early adopters of EVs and other advanced hybrid technology living in or near Santa Monica. In short, it’s the perfect market for a $100,000 extended-range electric vehicle.
The Fisker Karma is a plug-in electric vehicle with a gas engine that drives a generator to charge the batteries for extended-range driving. Fisker claims the Karma can travel 50 miles on the batteries and an additional 200 miles in extended-range mode. The concept is much like the Chevy Volt; but the Karma’s execution is very different and the target audience is wealthier.
The Karma packs a GM Ecotec 2.0 liter direct-inject turbo I-4 engine just behind the front wheels. It drives a generator to charge the large-capacity 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that forms a rigid spine down the center of the car. The Karma is a proper rear-drive sports car (albeit a bit heavy at 4,100 lbs) driven by rear-mounted dual 300 kW electric motors good for a total of 403 hp with a heart-stopping 981 lb-ft torque available from the moment your foot hits the electron exciter. The Karma seats four adults and can hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
Fisker Automotive got more than $500 million from the Department of Energy to build the Karma in the US. Fisker bought a shuttered GM plant in Delaware and is in the process of converting it into a shiny modern factory to produce its sleek sports car. It’s going to have to sell lots of cars to pay back its investors.
Below is the Fisker Karma’s first “Get Hot” commercial:
In the meantime, the Karma is being built in Uusikaupunki, Finland by contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive. Valmet also builds the Boxster/Caymen line for Porsche at this plant. The Karma began production on March 21, 2011 so deliveries may happen as soon as this summer. I’m sure Fisker Santa Monica is taking orders. Just have your checkbook ready.
Motor Trend’s Technical Editor, Kim Reynolds, gives his take on the Karma:
Reprinted with permission from Todd Bianco’s ACarIsNotARefrigerator.com Blog The Truth About Cars and the Car Biz in LA