2012 Volkswagen Passat Comfortable Like Your Fat Jeans>

I think every woman has a pair of these… especially around the holidays or times when you are indulging in lots of delicious treats. That girl at the office with M&M’s in her bowl – How many times have you found an excuse to talk to her so you can grab a handful? It’s always someone’s birthday. How much cake have you enjoyed this month? Your favorite skinny jeans begin to feel tight around the waist. Time to hit the gym! What do you do for now? You break out the “fat” jeans.

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat reminds me a lot of those fat jeans. Straight lines, comfortable, roomy and will never go out of style. This year’s model is even longer and fatter, adding 4 more inches in length and 4 inches to the wheelbase.

The 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder is new this year. Estimated mpg is 21/32 city/highway for the manual transmission and 22/31 with the automatic. Not as efficient on fuel as the four-cylinder Kia Optima, but you can always opt for VW’s diesel TDI. With the diesel you will get up to 43 mpg, which is unheard of in its class.

There are three trim levels to choose from: S, SE and SEL with three engines including the diesel. If you don’t want diesel but would like more mpg, you can get the V-6 with 20/28 city/highway.

Turbocharged was standard in 2010. Now it’s the less powerful five-cylinder with 170 horsepower & 177 pounds-feet of torque.

Storage? There’s a nifty cubby on the left side of the steering wheel. It’s large enough for your phone or wallet. Just like your fat jeans, there’s a big ass trunk for your stuff. 15.9 cubic feet of soccer balls, Razor scooters, skateboards, beach gear, anything your family would need to take for a fun day. The 60/40-split folding rear seats come in handy for those times you need extra space.

There’s a standard one-touch up/down feature for the front and rear windows. Keep those little hands away from the windows. I owned a Passat a few years ago and scared our daughter when her fingers were on the window and I hit that button.

Other standard features include Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary port for music and dual-zone climate control. iPod connector and navigation is optional.

Safety features include six airbags, active head restraints on the front seats, electronic stability system and antilock brakes. I love that the manual transmission has a hill start assist feature. When you are stopped at a hill you won’t roll back and hit the car behind you or burn the clutch as you panic into first gear.

Seating is comfortable and roomy enough for five tall passengers. It’s perfect for your next adult road trip. Everyone will love the legroom, headroom and trunk space for luggage. Leave the kids with grandma and party it up!

Overall the 2012 Passat is just “okay” for me. Like my fat jeans, it’s something I would enjoy if I wanted to lay low and be comfortable. Eventually I’ll want to hit the gym, drop the weight and get into something that says, “Look at me, I’m hot!”

Test Driven by Christina Selter