Volkswagen’s Passat set to take on big three
The Volkswagen Passat is now in its eighth generation and VW have big plans for it. Among the German brand’s goals are to take on the so called ‘big three’ which include the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Passat already has a European Car of the Year title and is in with a shout for the 2017 Wesbank SAGMJ Car of the Year crown too.
The new Passat is a dramatic departure from the seventh generation model it replaces. The new model is based upon the successful VW Group MQB architecture which allows designers more freedom when shaping the car.
For instance, the engines can be mounted lower which means the bonnet could be more sloped. This gives the Passat a more rounded front end; it looks like a combination of a fresh VW design aesthetic and the outgoing VW CC model. In side profile the car cuts a sporty silhouette with more sloping lines while at the rear there is a broad shoulder section with wide tail lamps and a large bootlid. The car does look like it would appeal to a younger audience from an aesthetic point of view.
VW did a great job with the interior, the quality of the material used is exemplary and the overall design looks more premium than conservative. The highlight of the interior has to be the infotainment system. A R22 000 or so optional extra is the Active Info Display with navigation which transforms the instrument cluster into an infotainment screen with media, navigation, trip and vehicle information available, much like the virtual cockpit seen in recent Audi models.
The Passat model range will include three engines and two transmission options albeit limited to certain specifications. The 110kW/250Nm 1.4 TSI manual entry level model is the only car in the range with the option of a six-speed manual transmission. The DSG version of this 1.4 TSI model gets the same 110kW/250Nm and a fuel consumption figure of 5.2 litres/100km. The mid-range model is the 132kW/250NM 1.8 TSI DSG which consumes a claimed 5.8 litres/100km. The version used during the Car of the year testing was the 2.0 TSI R-Line DSG which shares an engine with the Golf 7 GTI with 162kW/350Nm for a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds.
The car is now also 85kg lighter than the vehicle it replaced which means that performance is commendable. In terms of ride comfort and usability the new Passat is well sorted and enjoyable to drive. Models can be specified with the adaptive chassis control too, which means that you can adjust the car’s behaviour at the touch of a button with settings ranging from Eco to Sport for the drivetrain and chassis.
The Passat model range is available with some of the latest in-car technology, for instance, the infotainment screen in the centre console supports Apple Car Play and Android Auto which allows your smartphone features to be used in the car. Other usable features that can be specified include adaptive cruise control, driver fatigue detection, XDS steering which makes steering easier as well as the park assist system.
The new Passat is a very impressive product; it stacks up really well against the ‘big three’ and manages to undercut their respective prices in many instances.
Warranty and Service
The new model comes with a 3 year/ 120 000 km warranty and a 5 year/100 000 km Automotion Maintenance Plan.