Smoother op­er­a­tor

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS - Joshua Dowling

1 The in­stru­ment dis­play screen is fancy

The wide-screen dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play is the same as used in the Audi R8 su­per­car (and it will be avail­able soon on the up­dated VW Golf). It gives the driver sev­eral view­ing op­tions, from clas­sic ana­log to dig­i­tal read­outs.

2 The cen­tral dis­play screen is mas­sive

OK, so it’s not as huge as the ver­ti­cal tablet-style dis­play in a Tesla but the 8.3-inch au­dio touch­screen is gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned. It makes us­ing Ap­ple Car Play, An­droid Auto and the built-in sat­nav a cinch. The nav­i­ga­tion dis­play also can run on the driver’s in­stru­ment dis­play.

3 The diesel is a smooth op­er­a­tor

There could be some stigma at­tached to VW diesels for a while but this ver­sion of VW’s 2.0-litre turbo diesel (140kW/ 400Nm) was not pinged dur­ing Diesel­gate. That said, the health ef­fects of even “clean” diesels have long come un­der in­creas­ing scru­tiny. As we wait for the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the EU to fig­ure out whether diesel will be throt­tled out of ex­is­tence, this is a fine ex­am­ple of the cur­rent breed. It’s smooth, quiet and re­fined and re­mark­ably fuel ef­fi­cient for this size of ve­hi­cle (5.4L/100km).

4 You would ex­pect it to cost more

The Pas­sat All­track is back as a new model af­ter a brief hia­tus. It starts from $49,990 drive-away for the reg­u­lar model and $54,990 drive-away for the Wolfs­burg Edi­tion (as tested). At first guess, I thought it would be nearer $60,000, given its Audi­like lev­els of qual­ity and tech­nol­ogy (LED head­lights, radar cruise con­trol, lane­keep­ing and, of course, the wide screen), nine airbags, leather seats, adap­tive sus­pen­sion and all-wheel drive. The only op­tions are metal­lic paint (a greedy $700) and panorama sun­roof ($2000).

5 Servicing is still pricey

It’s no myth: Euro cars are ex­pen­sive to ser­vice. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are in­dus­try av­er­age 12 months or 15,000km but the first visit is over the odds at $399; sub­se­quent vis­its may re­quire a re­mort­gage ($589, $640 — and $1137).

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