2020 Volkswagen Passat Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Build quality and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat is a sedan that has been loved by many. The automaker claims it provides “comfort for the whole crew,” but the lack of safety and poor design leaves a lot to be desired. This VW model has a defective engine, poorly-built structure and several serious recalls worth mentioning.

Click on other model year to view more problems:    2019    2021    2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Volkswagen Passat

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
1
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
1
Service Brakes
1
Wheels
1
Engine
1
Unknown Or Other
1

Problems with the Engine

It doesn’t matter what car is driven, the owner wants a powerful engine that provides the pick-up-and-go required. Yet, the Passat doesn’t deliver in this department.

Here is one NHTSA complaint worth looking at. “Park Assist not available. Loss of engine power on left or right turn.”

It’s quite scary to lose power while driving, but more concerning that this fault could lead to an accident. With this in mind, it’s vital to look at the two recalls affecting this car’s air bag systems. The first, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V533000 states that the passenger frontal air bag might not have been folded correctly. This air bag could deploy with too much force, thereby leaving occupants at danger of an injury. Plus, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V218000 states that VW might have installed the wrong side impact air bag in vehicles as well. This one might not deploy at all. So, there is one air bag deploying too forcefully, while another doesn’t protect occupants at all. What a mess! The Passat is like The Little Engine That Could, expect it isn’t thinking “it can” hard enough.

Problems with the Build Quality

VW is a brand that is known for quality and dependability, but these factors seem to have gone down the tubes recently. With so many structure-related complaints, it’s difficult to feel safe in a Passat.

Here are some from one Edmunds user. “The grille is not aligned properly. The gaps between it and the hood and headlights differ from side to side. Yet relative to the bumper, things look okay. The passenger side rear door is not aligned flush with the fender or the front door, standing proud of the fender, and set a bit deeper than the front door.  The driver’s side is fine. The car does not have a sunroof.  Yet it was built with the control wheel in the headliner, which operates the sunroof. Sealant applications under the hood and in the trunk area are sloppy and clearly not applied in a controlled manner. Dash creaks have surfaced.  The driver’s door and trunk sound like an old screen door hinge that has not been lubricated in years when they are opened and closed.”

Looking at that long list of grievances, it’s difficult to think any part of the vehicle was made right. Plus, there is a recall further demonstrating the lack of care when constructing the vehicle, although this deals solely with the exterior lighting. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V389000 states that more than 660,000 vehicles were made without the blocking cap that disables the adjustment of the headlight’s horizontal aim. Without these the aim can quickly be adjusted outside of specs, which reduces visibility and increasing the crash risk. There was a time that Volkswagen’s slogan was “Think Small.” After looking at this vehicle and the defects, it’s clear that the manufacturer wasn’t thinking big or clearly when designing it.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateSep 07, 2022
StateNC
Description
The volkswagen front assist (sometimes referred to as forward collision warning) system employed without having anything/anyone in front of the vehicle - no traffic in front, behind or on the side and the brakes engaged the brought the car to a complete stop in the street. This has been reported to volkswagen and we have been told that their engineers are working on this issue but the vehicle is safe to drive. The day was a clear day. Date is approximate - I don't have my phone on me with the photo.
CategoryService Brakes
DateMar 16, 2021
StateVA
Description
The breaks is very weak I was going to hit the car at the front of me with 1 inch ! It took the car like 4 seconds to stop not sure was it just the breaks or the breaks and tires , the car kept moving after pressing the breaks hard enough , I was shaking since I just got the car 4 days ago !
CategoryWheels
DateSep 26, 2020
StateMA
Description
I was driving down the highway south shore in randolph ma stoughton exits and I heard a pop in my driver side rear tire and when I pulled over I checked my tire and my tire was completely flat and there was a hole approximately the size of a hand gun bullet hole in my rim. I was going a little under the speed limit due to having a 3 year old in the vehicle in the far right slow lane. The following morning I went to get the tire inspected it was confirmed there was a huge piece of glass in my tire.
CategoryEngine, Unknown Or Other
DateSep 22, 2020
StateIL
Description
Park assist not availble. Loss of engine power on left or right turn

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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