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.