Like an SUV, ex­cept bet­ter

A ine car with a bunch of su­per lu­ous gad­gets. By An­thony rench-Con­stant

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars -

SO, FAREWELL THEN Pas­sat Es­tate; it’s been a slice. With the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of the evil-smelling dog, I don’t think any­one in the fam­ily has ever lacked for comfort, space and prac­ti­cal­ity over the course of the year.

Com­bine that with more than enough oomph in the en­gine room to keep the driver in­ter­ested, al­lied to tidy han­dling man­ners and suf­fi­cient grip to turn the younger hooli­gan an in­ter­est­ing shade of green­ish grey at re­mark­ably short no­tice, and the only ar­gu­ment I can con­jure in favour of the dy­nam­i­cally in­fe­rior SUV club is hav­ing your hooter a few inches higher off the ground in traf­fic. That and, of course, the my-pink-half-of-the-drain­pipe snob­bery as­so­ci­ated with life

One­unpm­dan­ship in Close.

Fast es­tates have al­ways gone down well in this house, and though 237bhp and 369lb ft may seem rel­a­tively small beer these days, its de­liv­ery to all four wheels via VW’s seven-speed DSG gear­box elic­its smooth and pleas­ingly rapid progress through foul weather and fair. If any crit­i­cism were due a driv­e­train fea­tur­ing the most pow­er­ful it­er­a­tion of the com­pany’s 2.0-litre diesel, it would be that it’s a whisker nois­ier than ideal.

It is, more­over, much like its cus­to­dian, some­what in­clined to thirst. I had hoped that an Easter out­ing to the West Coun­try would see fuel con­sump­tion climb above the high-30s typ­i­cal of short-dis­tance school and cake de­liv­ery runs, but in fact the av­er­age seems to have trick­led back­wards a tad.

Al­ready re­spectably equipped in stan­dard 30-grand guise, this Pas­sat came fur­ther laden with an ad­di­tional £6500-worth of good­ies. Key­less en­try, a rub­ber boot mat, heated outer rear seats, a panoramic sun­roof and the head-up dis­play I’ll swing for. But every­one who climbs in curses roundly un­til they’ve man­aged to de­ac­ti­vate the lane keep­ing as­sis­tance; if I wish to know what the Pas­sat looks like from above I’ll bor­row a drone; I re­main un­con­vinced that re­plac­ing ana­logue di­als with faux ana­logue di­als achieves much; and I don’t be­lieve even the car-crazy elder hooli­gan ever put voice ac­ti­va­tion to the test. If I want to know what the weather’s up to I’ll look out of the win­dow, and I al­ready have a news feed – it’s called Ra­dio 4.

Firmly sid­ing with the get in, shut up and drive school of mo­tor­ing, then, I’m gently ashamed to ad­mit that both the mis­sus and I were still dis­cov­er­ing new tit­bits within di­verse on-screen menus even as we waved our de­cid­edly fond farewells.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.