Find your in­ner show­piece

The price is right to own Europe’s car of the year

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Road Test - CHRIS RI­LEY

VOLKSWAGEN’S up­dated Passat looks a mil­lion bucks. The longer and lower stance is more ag­gres­sive, the styling wider and more an­gu­lar.

It comes as a sedan, a reg­u­lar wagon or of­froad-styled All­track. Its su­per-com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, start­ing from $34,990, puts it within reach of Fal­con and Com­modore buy­ers — many of whom will be look­ing soon for al­ter­na­tives. The base 132TSI and up­spec Com­fort­line ver­sion share a 1.8-litre petrol engine and seven speed auto, and the 140TDI High­line is a 2.0-litre diesel with six-speeder.

The 132TSI Com­fort­line is $39,990 and the 140TDI High­line is $45,990 be­fore op­tion packs.

Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes nine airbags, sat­nav, three-zone cli­mate con­trol air­con and 6.5-inch touch­screen.

The Com­fort­line adds leather up­hol­stery, bol­stered sport seats, fog­lights with fixed cor­ner­ing lights, key­less en­try and push-but­ton start. Safety gear in­cludes front as­sist with city emer­gency brak­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol, side as­sist, lane as­sist and rear traf­fic alert.

Its eight-inch touch­screen is eas­ier and gets the Dis­cover Pro in­fo­tain­ment up­grade.

Petrol ver­sions get 17-inch al­loys as stan­dard and the diesel has 18s. There are self- heal­ing tyres and a full-size al­loy spare.

Oc­cu­py­ing the sweet spot, the Com­fort­line is well worth the ex­tra $5000 in terms of re­sale alone. The diesel’s premium is pretty steep.

It is worth not­ing the smaller sta­ble­mate Jetta sedan, also $39,990 for the top-of-the-line vari­ant, en­joys sim­i­lar styling and could well be a ri­val. The Volkswagen badge has plenty of ca­chet and the lat­est Passat lives up to the prom­ise. Its longer wheel­base de­liv­ers bet­ter dy­nam­ics and in­te­rior space, while the styling draws plenty of ad­mir­ing glances.

Badge trag­ics may be un­able to re­sist the re­lated Audi A4 — their loss.

Slide be­hind the wheel for the first time and the sporty seats feel big and cushy. The meaty bol­sters can catch the hip on en­try — we’ve en­coun­tered worse but it could be prob­lem­atic for those who aren’t as lithe as they once were.

Large blind spot warn­ing lights take much of the guess­work out of the cut and thrust of city driv­ing.

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