Like an SUV, except better
A ine car with a bunch of super luous gadgets. By Anthony rench-Constant
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.