The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Road Test -

VW PASSAT PRICE From $34,990 WARRANTY 3 years/un­lim­ited km CAPPED SERVICING $1527 over 3 years SER­VICE INTERVAL 12 months/15,000km SAFETY 5 stars ENGINE 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo, 132kW/250Nm TRANSMISSION 7-speed DSG; FWD THIRST 6.0L/100km DIMENSIONS 4767mm (L), 1832mm (W), 1456mm (H), 2791mm (WB) WEIGHT 1450kg SPARE Full-size al­loy 0-100KM/H 7.9 secs Mea­sur­ing about 5cm long, they are on the inside edge of the ex­te­rior mir­rors, de­liv­er­ing a bright warn­ing when there’s a haz­ard.

In con­trast, the engine auto shut­down is still a right royal pain. It lags, right when you need it most, pulling into the stream of traf­fic where ev­ery sec­ond counts. You can turn it off, but you have to do that each time you start the car.

Front and rear park­ing sen­sors plus a large rear-view cam­era im­age ease the squeeze into park­ing spa­ces. The 1.8-litre four-cylin­der turbo is one of our favourites and it doesn’t use much juice. VW has con­trived to nar­row the fuel con­sump­tion gap be­tween its petrol and diesel en­gines, to the point where you could re­al­is­ti­cally con­sider ei­ther.

Smooth and quiet, the 1.8 de­liv­ers plenty of punch, par­tic­u­larly in sport mode, which keeps the gear­box in a lower gear.

Eco mode on the other hand trims about 500rpm from the gear shift points, gets into higher ra­tios more quickly and is less re­spon­sive to the throt­tle. A soft­ware up­date has helped smooth out some of the awk­ward­ness that the du­al­clutch transmission for­merly showed on take­off and when con­fronted with the rapid speed changes re­quired in city traf­fic.

There’s plenty of urge for over­tak­ing, the steer­ing is ac­cu­rate and the car sits se­curely on the road, round­ing up nicely when pushed en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

Out on the open road, how­ever, driv­ers will be­gin to lament the ab­sence of pad­dleshifters.

On re­flec­tion, the base Passat with cloth up­hol­stery that we drove a few months back felt util­i­tar­ian. The Com­fort­line in con­trast feels as­pi­ra­tional, some­thing you wouldn’t mind own­ing. Last year’s Euro car of the year and a Cars­guide COTY con­tender (a cred­itable fourth).

Some call it the Ger­man Camry, no bad thing. Comfy, spa­cious, thrifty and doesn’t cost a bomb.

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