Why The 2014 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL Premium Competes Against Itself

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Passat
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat. 
And now, a quandry from Volkswagen.

A week driving the 2014 Passat SEL Premium reveals it to be a competent, comfortable family sedan, capable of getting very good gas mileage (24 city/34 highway).  That is thanks to its 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.  That engine is small for its class---most of the competition has 2.5 liters---VW relies on the turbo to provide extra power on an as-needed basis, allowing the Passat to benefit from a gas-sipping engine most of the time.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Passat
2014 Volkswagen Passat.
The SEL Premium is the highest trim level, with a base price of $30,895. The good news is that it is so fully equipped at that price (everything you'd expect plus navigation, a Fender premium audio system, sunroof, automatic climate control and leather) that there really are no options left.  With $820 destination charge, the as-tested price is $31,715.

Interior view of 2014 Volkswagen Passat
2014 Volkswagen Passat interior.
It's roomy, comfortable, rides well, has great visibility all around, is not fast but is not slow, and drives nicely, apart from a bit of a hair-trigger when taking off from a stoplight. Too much pressure brings the turbo into play.

So about that quandry. It comes down to one question: Which Passat?  In April, I reviewed the Passat TDI...the diesel. An SE, it was a lower trim level, without the powerful Fender audio system and navigation, but it was $2,600 less and gets six more miles per gallon on both city streets and highways (30/40 as opposed to 24/34).

It is not an easy choice.  Which speaks well of both Passats.