Volks bulks up

Golf’s big brother keeps grow­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL POTTINGER CARSGUIDE ED­I­TOR paul.pottinger@carsguide.com.au

IT is, in a word, big­ger.

The next gen­er­a­tion of Volk­swa­gen’s fam­ily-size Pas­sat, which has been snapped by Carparazzi test­ing in Europe, grows in­cre­men­tally but ap­pre­cia­bly on a model that’s one of the bet­ter, if least ap­pre­ci­ated, big cars.

A more im­pos­ing Pas­sat was in­evitable, given the Mark VII Golf wagon (pre­viewed and pos­i­tively re­viewed by Carsguide in Septem­ber) ap­proach­ing the cur­rent model for load and pas­sen­ger space.

Due for Euro­pean re­lease af­ter next year’s Paris mo­tor show, it gets here early in 2015. Built on the supremely sorted MQB plat­form, which serves in the Golf and its com­pact cousins Audi A3 and — as of next week — Skoda’s Oc­tavia, the Pas­sat is the first large model to roll out on th­ese mod­u­lar un­der­pin­nings.

In el­e­vated and all-wheeldrive form, the Pas­sat also points to the new medium SUV re­cently fore­shad­owed by VW Aus­tralia chief John White.

“There are still a few key seg­ments we don’t play in, for in­stance a small SUV and then a mid-size SUV that slots in at a pricepoint be­tween the Tiguan and the Touareg,’’ White says.

Though big­ger, the Pas­sat will still weigh in lighter than the al­ready trim cur­rent car, which starts well un­der 1500kg and even as an AWD wagon barely sur­passes 1700kg, so the manda­tory re­duc­tion in fuel con­sump­tion will be achieved.

The Pas­sat starts at $38,990 for the 1.8 TSI with $2K more for the equiv­a­lent wagon.

The next one, we sug­gest, might have a yet more at­trac­tive sticker and a still more com­pact en­gine.

At least that’s what VW’s re­search and de­vel­op­ment chief Hans-Jakob Neusser told us at Frank­furt — pos­si­bly with an an­cil­lary elec­tric mo­tor to help it off the line.

Other en­gines would be the 132 TSI 1.8-litre turbo four and 2.0 TDI diesel hitched to six or seven-speed DSGs.

With White em­pha­sis­ing the de­sir­abil­ity of ex­tend­ing high-per­for­mance R line through­out the pas­sen­ger car line-up, a weapons grade Pas­sat is odds-on. Say auf wieder­se­hen to the cur­rent nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V6, though. The turbo four we’ll ex­pe­ri­ence in Fe­bru­ary, pow­er­ing Golf’s R vari­ant, seems most likely.

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