Loaded with features, fun to drive: VW’s new Passat

Loaded with features, fun to drive: VW’s new Passat

By SHAMS NAQVI | | 18 November, 2017
Volkswagen Passat gets projector headlamps with full-time running LEDs, as well as fog lamps with cornering lights.
The flagship sedan from Volkswagen in India, the Passat was first launched in 2007. Instantly it almost became a benchmark on what a luxury sedan should be. 10 years later the German giant has launched the eighth-generation of the executive sedan in the market aiming to give a boost to a segment that has suffered a lot after the advent of SUVs. Its sister cars from the brand the Skoda Superb and the Audi A3 are already trying to recapture some of that market share from the SUVs. VW is projecting the Passat as a car that’s loaded with features and fun to drive. A starting price of Rs 29.99 lakh is a good step and we were in Rajasthan to find out how the Passat fares against its cousins and beyond.

Exteriors

On the front the horizontal slat chrome grille is the most stylish bit about the new Passat. The car gets projector headlamps with full time running LEDs and it also gets fog lamps with cornering lights. On the profile the car gets beautiful 17 inch alloy wheels and the chrome strips that surround the window line add a lot of elegance. Overall on the profile the look is understated, just how you expect it to be. The rear somewhat reminds of the older car but the split LED tail lamps do add a dash of glamour. Overall the design is subtle as against the more lucrative design of the Superb and the A3. The Passat is the first VW sedan to be based on the efficient MQB platform in India something that enables the brand to make cars quicker and cheaper as there is mass sharing of resources. 

Interiors

There’s a lot of premiumness inside the Passat. Materials used are of high quality something that justifies the flagship sedan tag in the country. There’s wood finish on the dash and the infinite design of the AC vents is a great addition to the car. There’s 3 zone climate control and both the front seats get electric adjustments. They also get massage function and can be heated as well. But they cannot be cooled. The sunroof is a must have in this segment and the Passat comes with one. The 12 inch TFT display works with Apple car play and Android Auto. The car also gets park assist as well as a 360 degree view camera. The sloping roofline does not eat into the head space on the second row and Kudos to VW designers for that. The second row gets ample amount of space, 3 headrests as well as window curtains. The boot space stands at a good 568 liters and the boot itself can be opened and closed automatically. 

The driving modes can also alter the gearbox, engine and steering response. In fact the steering is one of the highlights of the car that gives an amazing amount of feel and feedback. 

Engine & Gearbox

This 8th-generation of the Passat has come to India with just one Diesel engine option. That’s the tried and tested 2.0 liter TDI mill that does its duty on a lot of cars from the Volkswagen brand. Power is decent at 177 bhp and the company is claiming a very impressive mileage of 17.7 kmpl. The engine is mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox that comes with paddle shifts. It’s a torquey gearbox where a lot of power starts kicking in at as low as 1,500 rpm. There’s 350 Nm of peak torque on offer. There’s also a think blue trainer on board to help you improve the fuel efficiency based on your driving style. It’s got a big 66 litre fuel tank and despite driving for more than 500 kms, sometimes at really high speeds, there was still decent amount of fuel left once we reached the city of lakes. But this is not a very silent engine, VW has done  a lot to keep the insulation in check but still can do some more in providing a more silent cabin inside the Passat. 

Ride & Handling

The dynamic chassis control feature on the new Passat aids in the car giving brilliant ride and handling. A segment first feature where a change in suspensions settings every driving mode change does the trick. The modes can also alter the gearbox, engine and steering response. In fact the steering is one of the highlights of the car that gives an amazing amount of feel and feedback. The car also gets very useful features like hill start assist and hill hold control. 

Verdict

It is very hard to find faults with the new Passat. Safety also is a big priority as the car gets as many as nine airbags including one for the driver’s knee. Plus it also gets tyre pressure monitoring system and drag reduction because of which front wheels do not get locked during sudden downshifts. There are 2 trims on offer Comfortline and Highline with the latter being priced at 32.99 lakh rupees ex-showroom. When you’re spending that much money to buy an executive sedan it has to be reliable and come from a trusted brand. That is exactly what the Passat is.     

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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