2004 Volkswagen Phaeton

  • 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 Sedan

    V8 Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      4.2L V8
    • MSRP
  • 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12 Sedan

    W12 Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      6.0L W12
    • MSRP
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2004 Volkswagen Phaeton Review

A bold new entry into the luxury sedan market.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton marks the carmaker’s first foray into the luxury sedan market. Initially, Volkswagen avoided this market to avoid competing with its sister company, Audi. Elegant and stylish, the Phaeton makes a strong mark with excellent performance, luxury, and comfort. Even without brand recognition, the Phaeton makes a strong contender in the competitive luxury sedan market.

Many of the higher-end models from Volkswagen offer features similar to a luxury vehicle with a price tag to match. However, the Phaeton is a true luxury vehicle. Even with just standard features, the Phaeton has more to offer in terms of comfort than most other vehicles on the market. In addition, the Phaeton backs up comfort and luxury with performance, power, and reliability. The Phaeton proves just as fun to drive as it is comfortable.

Overall, the only major drawback to the Volkswagen Phaeton is that it is a new model attached to a manufacturer that has never produced luxury vehicles prior to it. As a result, it does not have the brand recognition of its competitors. For drivers more interested in the prestige aspect of a luxury sedan, this marks a negative point for the Phaeton. However, for drivers more interested in comfort and performance, the Phaeton offers just as much as its competitors, offering another choice to drivers looking for a high-quality luxury vehicle.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 4.2-liter eight-cylinder, 6.0-liter twelve-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Phaeton V-8, Volkswagen Phaeton Premiere Edition W-12, Volkswagen Phaeton W-12

What's New

The 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton marks the original release of this model in the U.S. The Phaeton design does not come from another vehicle.


The Volkswagen Phaeton looks sleek and curved and departs from the blocky, stubby vehicles that Volkswagen originally produced. The design incorporates elements of traditional luxury sedan design with a more progressive, distinctly Volkswagen flare. The distinct chrome grille further distinguishes it in appearance from competing models. The LED taillights make the 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton instantly recognizable in both day and night. Graceful and elegant, the Phaeton looks every bit the part of a luxury sedan, even without the brand recognition of established models.


The 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton provides a fully appointed luxury sedan. The power-adjustable leather seats have massage and heating elements built in as a standard feature. Memorization settings adjust the seat, steering wheel, and rear-view mirror positioning for three different drivers. The driver can access the cruise control and audio system using buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The leather and wood trim create an atmosphere of elegance inside the Phaeton. Four-zone climate control allows each passenger to set the temperature near them to a comfortable level relatively independent of the other passengers. The audio system has an 11-speaker system with 190 watts of output and a subwoofer. The Phaeton proves elegant and comfortable and gives easy access to all of these features.

Performance & Handling

The 2004 Phaeton’s engine seems has an impressive amount of horsepower and torque. While the car weighs in at over 5,300 pounds, it can accelerate from zero 60 miles per hour in just over six seconds.

The Phaeton's suspension allows for some body roll at its default setting, but drivers can adjust it to suit their own driving styles and needs. The 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton’s steering feel and response are excellent.


True to its luxury sedan design, the 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton includes almost every major safety option as a standard feature. Each Phaeton comes with dual front airbags, rear head airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force assist, emergency braking assist, tire pressure monitoring, an engine immobilizer, stability control, and traction control. Coupled with excellent performance, the Phaeton makes for one of the safest vehicles available from Volkswagen, even without optional features included.

EPA Fuel Economy

Volkswagen Phaeton 4.2-liter eight-cylinder: 14/21 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Phaeton 6.0-liter twelve-cylinder: 11/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Excellent performance
  • Spacious interior
  • Wide range of luxury features
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Powerful engine

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • High price
  • Lacks the prestigious name that other luxury sedans offer

Sum Up

A bold new entry into the luxury sedan market.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Audi A8 L
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class