No one really thinks about their more premium offerings, like the all-new eighth generation Passat. Now I know that in the past the Passat wasn’t something I particularly liked to think about. This new one however is different. I spent a week with the car and I thoroughly enjoyed it; here’s why.
For starters, it looks really good. I particularly like the new LED headlights which are a design sculpture in themselves. They not only adapt to oncoming traffic but they provide better lighting at night. The front end of the Passat features a sleek design, which also comes across as sporty thanks to the R-Line kit that was fitted to my test car. The R-Line kit also features more aggressive looking bumpers and side skirts, all of which add a subtle yet noticeable beauty to the car. It also features a prominent shoulder line, which is quite eye catching. The new Passat is slightly larger than its predecessor, by a reasonable 79mm. At the rear of the car I particularly liked the LED taillight cluster.
Step inside the new Passat and one is greeted by a typical Volkswagen style interior. It’s neat, well thought out and features top quality materials. Apart from the infotainment screen located in the centre of the dashboard, the Passat that I drove also featured a digital instrument cluster, much like that found on the new Audi A4. If this is not proof that the Passat is no longer an old man’s car then I don’t know what is. The screen can display various options like navigation and trip information, as well as offer drivers the ability to customize the look as to how the information is displayed. It is to be noted though that this is not standard and it comes at a rather hefty price, but I like it so I will say that it’s worth it. What’s more is that the air- vent extends the entire length of the dashboard, which is reminiscent to the Passats of old. Come to think of it, the new Audi A4 also has the same type of air vent.
Space inside the Passat is impressive and the seats are comfortable, and vented. Rear leg room is ample and the overall feel of the interior is that of comfort and space. As always on a Passat, the boot is huge.
Moving onto the ride quality, the Passat is based on the award-winning MQB platform. This platform has proven to be compliant both dynamically and comfortably and the Passat is really comfortable. It deals with our rather poor road conditions with ease. I had been driving around in Eco mode for a day or so, and I decided to be adventurous and see what Sport mode was all about. Much to my surprise the Passat has some pace. This is probably due to the fact that the 2.0-litre TSI engine found in the model that I was driving is also found in the Golf GTI. It delivers an impressive 162kW and 350Nm, which is sent to the front wheels via a DSG gearbox. I did find that the power is better suited for highway cruising than hooligan driving. The Passat also returned an average of around 7.0 litres/100km over my week, which is impressive for a car this size.
I must conclude with the fact that I think the Passat has entered a new era, both visually and technologically. It no longer looks boring or outdated; it’s striking to look at and it features the latest technology.
I attended the launch of the new Audi A4 at the time that I had the Passat and, this might come as a shock, but I found the Passat to be the car I enjoyed more. It might not be seen in the same light as the A4 or even the BMW 3-Series but it can compete with them all day, every day. As far as having a car that offers a pleasant driving experience with a slight dash of dynamic appeal, I would drive home in the Passat and be completely happy.