QUI­ETLY im­pres­sive

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE Pas­sat is the biggest pas­sen­ger car that Volk­wa­gen sells here, in terms of phys­i­cal size that is.

It’s never achieved quite the kind of suc­cess the com­pany might have liked, but those who have one speak in glow­ing terms of them. The tur­bocharged 118TSI is the new en­try level model, with a tur­bocharged four cylin­der petrol en­gine. How much? The wagon is priced from $40,990 plus on­roads which in­cludes a DSG style robo­tised man­ual gear­box. That doesn’t get you leather, but we’re not big fans of leather any­way. What are the com­peti­tors? Subaru Lib­erty, Mazda6 at a stretch, but mainly the Eu­ros like the Ford Mon­deo, Re­nault La­guna, not for­get­ting VW’s own Audi and Skoda wag­ons. What’s un­der the bon­net? The 118TSI boasts a 1.8-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, not to be con­fused with the 118TSI twin­charged 1.4-litre unit in Golf. The 1.8 pro­duces 118kW at 4500 revs and 250Nm of torque be­tween 1500 and 4500 revs. The four cylin­der en­gine is hooked up to a seven-speed DSG gear­box for op­ti­mum per­for­mance and econ­omy. The rest of the range makes do with a six-speed. How does it go? Not bad. 0-100km/h takes 8.7 sec­onds (two tenths slower than the sedan). It has a good com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance and econ­omy. It is smoother than the en­try level diesel that it re­places. If you want more power you can spend more money, but re­ally this is all you need. Is it eco­nom­i­cal? The wagon is rated at 7.8 litres/100km which is ex­cel­lent for a petrol en­gined car this size. We clocked up just over 300km be­hind the wheel at a rate of 8.7 litres/100km. Is it safe? The Pas­sat gets a full five stars for safety ac­cord­ing to ANCAP and comes with a full com­ple­ment of safety ac­ces­sories in­clud­ing eight airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol and anti-lock brakes. The ex­tra two bags come in the form of side airbags for rear pas­sen­gers. Is it com­fort­able? Just the right size. Push but­ton hand­brake. Front and rear park­ing sen­sors stan­dard. Eight speaker sound sys­tem in­cludes AUX jack, but full me­dia in­ter­face is an­other $300. A rear view cam­era is an ex­tra $700. Is it “green”? Pro­duc­ing 182g CO2/km, Pas­sat scores a to­tal of four out of five stars from the Govern­ment’s Green Ve­hi­cle Guide. What’s it like to drive? It’s in­ter­est­ing driv­ing one of these back to back with the not so small Jetta. The Pas­sat is no­tice­ably big­ger, qui­eter and more lux­u­ri­ous. There’s a re­as­sur­ing “thunk” when the door shuts that the Jetta doesn’t have. Cruis­ing the mo­tor­way or around town is a warm, com­fort­able co­cooned ex­pe­ri­ence. Is it value for money? Yes, es­pe­cially the wagon. The stor­age vol­ume is 1731 litres with the rear seat folded, with a load length of 1.96m. There’s twin zone cli­mate air­con­di­tion­ing, auto lights, wipers and in­te­rior mir­ror. A full size al­loy spare is stan­dard as are the 17in al­loys with 235/45 tyres. Would we buy one? Yes please. Qui­etly im­pres­sive. It fits like a glove. Ev­ery time we get back into a Pas­sat it’s like com­ing home.

It’s a car that blurs the line be­tween pre­mium and lux­ury.

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