Road Tested By Hugh Maguire.
THIS car is the seventh generation of the Passat model which has sold over 15 million units worldwide and over 63,000 sold here in Ireland since it first arrived in 1973. While VW are calling this car the “new” Passat it does carry over much from the previous model in many areas not least of which is engines and gearboxes so I struggle to call this a completely new car. To be fair though this is no nip and tuck cosmetic revision, the “new” Passat is changed visually quite a bit and technically in a multitude of small ways.
This segment must be one of the most competitive in the motor industry. Here in the family, or business user chooser market there are so many good cars to opt for that choosing one over another is indeed a difficult task. For example just consider some of what is available in this segment. You could consider the excellent Mondeo, or how about the stunning looking all-new Peugeot 508, or Opel Insignia. Ok there is always the widely acclaimed Renault Laguna, Skoda Superb or the Mazda6. As if all that was not enough you could follow in the footsteps of thousands of other Irish motorists and go for the excellent Toyota Avensis. Now into this veritable lion’s den add the new Volkswagen Passat.
Engines as before are, 1.4 TSI petrol, 1.6 TDI, and 2.0 TDI of varying power outputs.
I have been road testing the new VW Passat 1.6 TDI Bluemotion in Highline specification this week to see just what is on offer.
The new look is clean and crisp in its styling if a little unadventurous. That said I like the deep chrome front grille and long tail section which give the car a real presence on the road. The clean lines are distinctive and give the car a classy understated look
Behind The Wheel
The interior really looks much the same as its predecessor with minor changes. The cabin is huge. There is bags of room both front and rear and the boot is simply massive. The dashboard is very well laid out and in true VW fashion is ergonomically excellent with every switch and lever perfectly positioned. Equally important it looks and feels very high quality with good quality materials throughout. There is plenty of oddments space, good-sized door pockets, cup holders and so on.
There are four specification versions: Entry Level, Comfortline, Sportline, and Highline, any of which can be ordered as the Bluemotion model. The Bluemotion title signifies that the car has had special engineering tweaks to boost economy such as Auto start stop, frugal low emission engines and reduced drag combined with low rolling resistance tyres. The varieties of each specification version are too numerous to detail here but all cars get ABS, EBD, ESP, ASR (traction control), Active head restraints, multiple airbags, air conditioning, auto boot opening, electronic park brake, CD player with 8 speakers, electric windows, remote locking and an immobiliser. In addition all Passat models get a full 2 year unlimited mileage warranty and 3 year paint work warranty. Overall it’s quite an impressive list. The Highline spec adds a 3 spoke multi-function leather steering wheel, Climatronic 2 zone air conditioning, fatigue detection system, auto headlights cruise control, auto start/stop, rain sensors, park assist, 16 inch “Perugia” alloys, electric drivers seat, wood “Zebrano” dash inlays, and an on-board computer.
The 1.6 litre turbo diesel engine produces 105 bhp and has emissions of just 114g/km putting it in the lowest road tax bracket at just €104 per year. Zero to 100 km/h takes 12.2 secs while top speed is in the region of 195 km/h. This excellent engine is mated to a very slick 6-speed gearbox. The car performs well, no matter what gear you select, even in 6th its ability to accelerate is quite good. In addition this engine is both quiet and refined making this Passat a very appealing car in which to travel. Equally impressive is its frugal use of fuel burning on average only 5.7 litre of diesel per 100km giving a range well in excess of 1,000km. No doubt these impressive figures are achieved with the help of the Bluemotion “Auto Stop Start”. Quite simply the engine stops automatically when you select neutral and automatically restarts when you press the clutch saving fuel and reducing emissions particularly in heavy traffic.
The new Passat will satisfy almost all buyers in this segment who like a combination of good ride comfort while enjoying a car that has reasonably sharp handling. The suspension is well suited to our sometimes choppy road surfaces and the car proves surefooted in all road conditions. Overall levels of refinement are very high with wind, road and engine noise all very well suppressed.
This Passat is up against some very stiff competition. I have just stepped out of road testing the new Peugeot 508 and to be honest it feels newer and much more contemporary than this new Passat. Furthermore it is better equipped and as economical! So this car will not have it all its own way out there.
I feel this is an evolution of what was always a good car, Somehow though I feel it has not gone far enough. It really does not feel like a truly new car and that is a pity really.
So there it is. Prices kick off at €24,865 for the 1.6 TDI while the Highline Bluemotion version costs €28,980.