EL­E­GANCE AND RE­FINE­MENT IN MO­TION

For an eco-friendly and ef­fi­cient drive that won’t cramp your style, look no fur­ther than this Pas­sat

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - FIRST DRIVE ANDY EN­RIGHT

THE eighth gen­er­a­tion Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat is an in­her­ently ef­fi­cient car, one of the clean­est and most fru­gal op­tions you could choose in the Mon­deo seg­ment. The stan­dard 1.6-litre TDI diesel ver­sion man­ages over 70mpg on the com­bined cy­cle and 106g/km of CO2, fig­ures you might think were very good.

But they weren’t good enough for Volk­swa­gen. Hence the in­tro­duc­tion of the cleaner, more fru­gal Blue­mo­tion variant we’re go­ing to look at here.

Here, the 1.6-litre TDI en­gine is ba­si­cally the same, but the car has been tweaked with a pack­age of more spe­cific Blue­mo­tion tech­nolo­gies — things like su­per-op­ti­mised low rolling re­sis­tance tyres and a re­vised bumper for bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics.

It’s all enough to im­prove run­ning costs to 76.3mpg on the com­bined cy­cle and push the CO2 fig­ure well below the im­por­tant 100g/km level (as al­ways, take of­fi­cial fig­ures with a large pinch of salt).

There isn’t even any down­side if you opt for the es­tate bodystyle rather than the sa­loon. Sounds promis­ing ...

Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence

You wouldn’t ex­pect the Blue­mo­tion tweaks to sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on of­fer here — and they don’t. The low­ered sports sus­pen­sion nec­es­sary to im­prove this car’s aero­dy­nam­ics slightly firms up the ride over poorer sur­faces.

And the low rolling re­sis­tance tyres don’t of­fer quite as much grip as the stan­dard items but, to be frank, you’d be do­ing well to no­tice the dif­fer­ences.

Thanks to those sleeker aero­dy­nam­ics, this Blue­mo­tion variant ac­tu­ally bet­ters the stan­dard 1.6 TDI Pas­sat model’s top speed by 1mph, achiev­ing 130mph. The 0-62mph fig­ure re­mains the same, though, at 10.8s, de­spite longer gear­ing and a smaller power band.

Volk­swa­gen re­ally has cre­ated an eco-minded busi­ness propo­si­tion that doesn’t re­quire much com­pro­mise to achieve its tar­gets.

As with stan­dard mod­els in the range, this one con­cen­trates on giv­ing its oc­cu­pants a smooth, re­fined trav­el­ling ex­pe­ri­ence with a stan­dard of ride that’s dif­fi­cult to bet­ter in the class. Long dis­tances melt away in Jaguar or Lexus-like style, helped by the ex­em­plary re­fine­ment and the su­perbly sup­port­ive seats.

Think in terms of a model that’s smooth, re­fined and low-stress in this seg­ment and you’d have to start here first. It’s a for­mula Volk­swa­gen has per­fected over many years with this car and they’d be mad to di­vert from it.

De­sign and Build

You’d have to know this eighth gen­er­a­tion Pas­sat model very well in­deed to spot the vis­ual changes that cre­ate this Blue­mo­tion variant — the low­ered sports sus­pen­sion, unique bumpers and air­flow-op­ti­mised 17” al­loy wheels. Oth­er­wise, this ver­sion is as el­e­gant and im­pos­ing as other vari­ants in the range, whether you opt for the sa­loon or es­tate bodystyle.

Blue­mo­tion trim doesn’t af­fect the cabin, which is based upon the en­try-level ‘S’ spec­i­fi­ca­tion but still man­ages to look quite up­mar­ket. As usual, the qual­ity of the ma­te­ri­als and the in­ter­est­ing use of air vents as a ma­jor de­sign el­e­ment re­ally make this Volk­swa­gen feel spe­cial. The seats, as in most Volk­swa­gens, ini­tially feel un­yield­ing but are supremely com­fort­able over longer dis­tances.

Take a seat in the rear and the sur­prise lies in the fact that de­spite this MK8 model’s re­duc­tions in ex­te­rior length and height, it ac­tu­ally feels more spa­cious than its pre­de­ces­sor. It is too, with more room for legs and heads thanks to a length­ier wheel­base that’s en­abled Volk­swa­gen’s de­sign­ers to pack­age this car more ef­fec­tively. The boot mea­sures an enor­mous 586-litres (up from 565) while the es­tate gets even more, with 650-litres avail­able un­der the ton­neau.

Based on the en­try-level ‘S’ trim level, all Blue­mo­tion Pas­sat mod­els fea­ture a Post- Col­li­sion Brak­ing Sys­tem, mis-fu­elling preven­tion and a Driver Alert sys­tem that prompts you to stop for a restora­tive coffee if the elec­tron­ics think you’re get­ting drowsy. There is also a key­less start, brushed chrome dash in­serts, and full air con­di­tion­ing.

Cost of Own­er­ship

Let’s start with the head­lines. Pay the ex­tra to get your 1.6-litre TDI diesel Pas­sat in fully-fledged Blue­mo­tion form rather than in stan­dard guise and your com­bined cy­cle fuel econ­omy will im­prove from 70.6mpg to 76.3. And your CO2 re­turn will im­prove from 106g/km to 95g/km. There’s no re­duc­tion with the es­tate bodystyle.

If your car is fit­ted with the op­tional driver pro­file se­lec­tion sys­tem, you’ll want to re­mem­ber to keep that in its most ef­fi­cient eco mode.

Here, the en­gine man­age­ment, air con­di­tion­ing and an­cil­lary sys­tems will all be con­trolled for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. And Pas­sat own­ers who want to go fur­ther and have spec­i­fied the op­tional Dis­cover Nav­i­ga­tion Pro in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem will also want to down­load the clever Think Blue Trainer app, which proac­tively coaches you with eco driv­ing tips.

Sum­mary

If you need su­per­mini-style run­ning costs, yet want th­ese in a medium range model with the class of an Audi A4 and the price of a Ford Mon­deo, then this Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat Blue-Mo­tion model looks to be a strong of­fer­ing.

It looks classy, is very re­fined and has quite per­for­mance for ev­ery­day needs. It’s true that there are more ex­cit­ing choices you could make in this seg­ment. But if for you, head rules heart when it comes to th­ese kinds of de­ci­sions, then you’ll like this con­tender. It’s very Volk­swa­gen. And per­fectly Pas­sat.

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