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).