2021 Volkswagen Passat Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Lane departure & Steering issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Exactly a decade ago, in 2011, Volkswagen presented its first VW Passat for North America at the International Auto Show in Detroit. It’s done well in the U.S. marketplace but hasn’t been devoid of problems as Lemberg Law has pointed out in previous articles in this series.

But now, VW is discontinuing its once hugely popular Passat sedan because they are quoted as saying that no longer financially feasible to produce it. Reports are that there will be a limited edition 2022 model, and then, that’s it!

Whether consumer complaints about the Passat have played a role or not is pure conjecture. If you’ve got complaints about your 2021 Passat model, and you think you might have a lemon on your hands, this is not the time to get sentimental. This is when you need an experienced lemon law firm of attorneys, like Lemberg Law, on your side.

With this in mind, we had a look at the kinds of complaints this end-of-the-road Passat is attracting from owners.

But first, we want to draw attention to the fact that the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found some serious issues with the 2021 Passat when undertaking its 5-star safety ratings.

Click on other model year to view more problems:    2019    2020    2022

NHTSA Safety Ratings

The car does well in the side crash stakes, with 5-stars all the way, but only ranks a 4-star rating in the rollover test. According to the NHTSA finding, there is a rollover risk of 10.70% if a 2021 Passat driver loses control of the vehicle.

The simulated frontal crash tests between a Passat and a similar vehicle take place with both traveling at 35 mph. These crashes resulted in a 4-star rating overall, and for both the front driver side and passenger side. But the front passenger side has a much greater risk and carries an additional warning.

According to NHTSA : “During the frontal impact test, the right front passenger dummy had an elevated chest acceleration injury value. Although not included in the star rating, chest acceleration in excess of 60 gs over 3-milliseconds indicates a higher likelihood of thoracic injury.”

Most Common Problems

So far, 4 consumers have delivered complaints about their 2021 VW Passat to NHTSA. These relate to 4 problem areas, exterior lighting, lane departure, and steering.

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2021 Volkswagen Passat Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Lane Departure: Assist
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Lane Departure: Lane Keep: Automatic Steering

Lane Departure Issues

There are 4 complaints that cite lane departure problems. Two of these also relate to exterior lighting and steering because they play a role in lane departure.

One of the lane departure complaints refers to an incident when the mileage of the car was 27,232. The driver was passing through “a pedestrian intersection with thick white lines,” when “the vehicle automatically veered to the left or right.”

Another complaint describes a very different scenario. If the driver remembers to turn off the lane assist feature, it shouldn’t happen, the complaint says.

“Driving on country two-lanes, I’ve encountered joggers, bikers in the designated bike lane, service vehicles on the right shoulder. When I give them some extra room to avoid them the Active Lane Assist steers the car towards the people I’m trying to avoid. If the road is pitched enough, the Lane Assist steering is rather abrupt. There is no feature that allows Lane Assist to be disabled and manually re-enabled when needed. The best solution would be to allow lane assist only when the Active Cruise control is active.”

Exterior Lighting Problems

The exterior lighting complaint states that “the high-beam headlights were aimed too high upwards,” making it difficult to see the road ahead. The problem was compounded by the fact that the steering wheel “inadvertently” moved from the right or the left. This happened while driving in the rain.

This happened when there was only about 100 miles on the clock. According to the complaint:

“The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the dealer informed the contact that the lane departure assist function could not be deactivated and that the high-beam headlights could not be adjusted. The vehicle was not repaired.”

Problems with Steering

Also categorized as a lane departure issue, the steering complaint states that, “The assisted lane control is working terribly on my car and cannot be turned off permanently. The takeover steering must be turned off before I drive the car every single time. It does not work properly. Last week I went to steer around a pothole and almost went in the ditch because the steering control was ‘fighting’ with me to not let me steer where I needed to go.”

Previously this driver had tried to “go around a cyclist and had to literally fight with my steering to keep it from hitting the biker. It is terrible. The dealer told me it could not be permanently disabled. It is a hazard and someone is going to get hurt.

“The service rep told me that NHTSA has made it mandatory for the car manufacturers to have these safety features disabled by default with no way to permanently turn them off. I want to stress how unsafe this is.”

What to do if your 2021 VW Passat is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Lemberg Law is a specialist consumer law firm that specializes in lemon law cases. If you think you have a 2021 Volkswagen Passat that is a lemon, call our Helpline and we’ll assess your problems and determine how we can help.

We have helped many clients get settlement deals from car manufacturers. Let’s see if we can do the same for you.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Kenys B

    I have a lemon car and need help about what to do.

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