Wagon ter­rain

Mercury (Hobart) - Cars Guide - - WHICH CAR? -

I drive a Ford Ter­ri­tory and am look­ing for a smaller, fun car to drive. I have two in mind, the VW Pas­sat 206TSI R-Line and Skoda Su­perb Sport­sline, both wag­ons with the same en­gine. Would you sug­gest some­thing else? Ian Fair­bairn The sporty wagon con­cept is much more pop­u­lar in Europe than Aus­tralia, where we seem to have eyes only for SUVs, so our op­tions here are lim­ited. The Pas­sat and Su­perb fit your brief. Smaller op­tions in­clude Skoda Oc­tavia RS wagon and VW Tiguan 162TSI. An­other two should fit the bill.

CHOICES

VW Pas­sat 206TSI R-Line, from about $66,000 drive-away The Pas­sat is a class act and the R-Line has all the lat­est driver as­sis­tance tech as well as a punchy turbo en­gine. VW claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.7 sec­onds, which is se­ri­ously quick thanks to all-wheel drive grip and loads of low-down grunt. It’s rea­son­ably frugal on the open road. VW claims 7.4L/100km but ex­pect dou­ble dig­its around town. You’ll also pay roughly 15 per cent more for 98 RON pre­mium. Com­forts in­clude three-zone air­con, sat­nav, smart­phone in­te­gra­tion and Nappa leather. Adap­tive chas­sis con­trol al­lows you to ad­just the car for sportier driv­ing. Skoda Su­perb Sport­sline, from $56,990 drive-away The Skoda has a size­able $9000 price ad­van­tage and doesn’t miss out on much com­pared with the Pas­sat. Stan­dard items in­clude adap­tive cruise con­trol, auto emer­gency brak­ing, nine airbags and bi-xenon head­lights that peer around cor­ners. In­side, there’s Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto, three-zone air­con, sat­nav, pre­mium au­dio, am­bi­ent light­ing, suede-look seat trim and a big boot that can be opened by swip­ing your foot un­der the bumper. The en­gine and slick-shift­ing seven-speed dual-clutch auto are shared with the VW, so per­for­mance is com­pa­ra­ble. A five-year war­ranty, com­pared with three years for the Volk­swa­gen, makes it a com­pelling al­ter­na­tive. Subaru Levorg, from about $59,000 drive-away The Levorg is ba­si­cally the wagon ver­sion of the brand’s cult car, the WRX. Pow­ered by the same 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo, it puts out 197kW/350Nm. Subaru claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.6 sec­onds. As with the VW and Skoda, it is all-wheel-drive and the sus­pen­sion is slanted to sporti­ness, although it re­mains rea­son­ably com­fort­able over pot­holes. It’s thirstier, claim­ing 8.7L/100km, and the con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion can’t match its ri­vals for sport­ing feel. That said, it steers and cor­ners well and when the en­gine is in its sweet spot, it’s fun to drive. There are auto brak­ing and pedes­trian/cy­clist de­tec­tion, while the in­te­rior is smart and well equipped, with leather­trimmed heated seats and sat­nav but no smart­phone mir­ror­ing. Ser­vic­ing is $2253 for six vis­its over three years.

WILD­CARD

Holden Com­modore Sport­wagon, from about $64,000 drive-away Bragging rights come with its 6.2-litre V8 (304kW/570Nm). It lacks the AWD of the VW and Skoda, though 0-100km/h times would be sim­i­lar. Thirst is a claimed 13.1L/100km. It makes a won­der­ful sound, though, and will tow 2000kg-plus. In­side, clever tech in­cludes head-up dis­play, blind spot warn­ing and auto parking. It’s not as up­mar­ket but is more spa­cious, with a big­ger boot. War­ranty is only three years but ser­vic­ing is much bet­ter value, at $717 over three years com­pared with $1346 for the Su­perb and $1764 for the Pas­sat.

VER­DICT

The Su­perb’s longer war­ranty, sharper price and clever in­te­rior make it the pick.

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