We hear you!  You would love to drive some European luxury in a sedan, but there is no way you can afford a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.  Prices are too high, upkeep is too high….sigh!

Well, we may have an affordable alternative for you, namely the 2013 Volkswagen Passat.  Affordability and European luxury all rolled up in one very fine car, and judging from the fact that it rates in the top ten in sales, quite a few people are also discovering the Passat and all that it brings to the table.

If you want to look at its competitors then take a look at the Ford Fusion, the Honda Accord, the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima.  All are priced about the same and all have their strong points….but….if you want to drive European and drive American then the Passat is your answer.

That’s right, we said drive American, because the Passat is now manufactured at the assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, thus breaking down one more barrier in the United States.

You have quite a few choices of engines if you are looking at Passats.  There is the 2.5-liter inline-5 engine with 170 horsepower; with this engine you can choose between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.  In testing this engine did the 0-60 sprint in 9 seconds, an average time, and is EPA rated at 22/32.

You can also opt for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 140 horsepower with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. It will do 0-60 in 8.9 seconds and is EPA rated at 31/43, and quite frankly that gas rating might be low.

If you want more power then opt for the 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and a six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.  This does a very quick 6.4 seconds in the sprint and is EPA rated at 20/28.

The Passat is rated as “good” by the Insurance Institute, the top rating, and that’s because of fine craftsmanship, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags.  It also has a new feature called Intelligent Crash Response which means that in a crash the fuel is automatically shut off, the doors are unlocked and the hazard flashers turn on.

The Passat has been around for quite some time now, and that means it is the perfect car is you need replacement parts.  Head on over to your local salvage yard and find the used parts you need for a fraction of the cost of buying new. Places like All Import Auto Parts will have what you need without charging you an arm and a leg.