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Volkswagen Passat Review: Pros and Cons

Introduction

Yes, the Volkswagen Passat costs Rs 40 lakhs on the road. And no, it doesn’t command the same snob value as an Audi or a BMW or a Mercedes. Maybe not even as much as a Volvo or a Jaguar. But that’s missing the point. Because the Volkswagen Passat is so much more than just a badge...

And here are five reasons why we believe that. And maybe two that might make you want to reconsider.

Positives

Feel Good Features

That the Passat is heavily loaded with features is clear. So, there’s three-zone climate control, electrically powered seats and outside rearview mirrors, there’s a detailed driver information system, a sunroof, cruise control, voice command and, of course, a touchscreen multimedia system complete with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. But, what makes the Passat even more special are its feel-good features. These are features one can do without, but having them is added bliss.

You get an electrically operated rear blind. Both the front seats are cooled. The driver’s seat also gets a memory function so that you and your spouse don’t end up fighting every time you switch seats, just because the setting is off. And the driver’s seat moves back every time you switch off the car to make stepping out of the car that much easier! There’s also electric assist for opening and closing the boot.

And yes, I enjoy this too. The crispy door closing. Sure, it speaks of good quality and sound engineering, but there’s also something delightful about it. And lest we forget, the Passat also has two really fancy features - a kick to open the boot, and a self-park feature!

Feels like home

Some things feel so natural and so intuitive even the first time round that it seems like you have been using them forever. The Passat is one of those things. The seating is spot on, and one can fine-tune it thanks to the numerous adjustments that are available via the seat and the steering.

There are hardly any blind spots for the driver. And then with the narrow A-pillar, the low set dashboard, and decently large windows, you are quite aware of your surroundings, which puts you at ease. It also has a light steering, and in Comfort mode, light and less energetic throttle response. And that again, just clams things down for the driver, instead of alert his or her bat senses.

Driver’s Delight

The Passat might be easy to drive, but it’s also fun when you are in the mood. Switch to Sport Mode and the steering weighs up a bit. The throttle response is now more alert. And the gearbox wants to hold on to the gear a little bit longer than short-shifting its way to better fuel economy.

The Passat is also a very taut car. So, it responds to your steering input like a hyper-vigilant watchdog. It has a quick turn in, it settles into a corner beautifully, and you can play with the steering or throttle mid-corner to adjust your line or to get the rear to step out for a laugh. It might not look it, but the Passat is a fun car to drive.

Performance Packed

It has a powerhouse of a drivetrain. The engine is a 2-litre diesel that makes almost 175bhp of max power and an equally compelling 350Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which has lightning-quick shifts. And with steering-mounted paddle shifters, it also gives the driver better control of the proceedings.

Performance-wise, the Passat takes 6.2 seconds to complete the 0-80kmph run, while its 0-100kmph time stands at 9.03 seconds. Yes, this large luxury sedan is actually a sub-10 second car, and it shows every time you get on the throttle. It just rockets ahead without hesitation.

It has strong mid-range grunt as well. So much that quick overtakes or even dialling another 50 clicks when sitting on three-digit speeds is child’s play for the Passat.

Practical Passat

It might be an executive or luxury sedan, but the Passat isn’t short on practicality either. It has a huge boot and you can throw in quite a bit of luggage in there. And if you need even more space, you can just tug on these levers and drop the seats.

Even on the inside, you have cup and bottle holders all round, there’s a cooled glovebox, storage under the front central armrest, a coin and receipt holder, a sunglasses holder, blinds for the rear passengers, and access to the boot via the central rear backrest.

Negatives

Ride Quality

The downside of having a really good handling car has always been a poor ride. But that was in the past. Today technology and engineering have allowed us to cut that compromise to a minimum.

The Passat shows that at slow speeds. It is quiet, it rounds the bumps well, and it doesn’t move too much from side to side either. But as the speed picks up or the bumps or potholes get more serious, the Passat crashes into them, getting all noisy and thumpy and a bit uncomfortable too. It’s not something you expect from a luxury car.

Too understated

Let’s be clear. Be it China or India, we like to show off a little. So, if we are going to buy something that costs almost half that of a one-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, we would like the world to know. We wouldn’t want the world to confuse it with the Vento, now would we? And that’s missing in the Passat - boisterous charm.

Conclusion

Okay. So, it’s not boisterous or in your face.  And it could do definitely do with plusher ride quality. But as a car to drive, to feel good in, and to live with, the Passat is lovely. It’s thought, and luxury and driving fun, all packed into one very likeable package.

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Volkswagen Passat Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Chennai₹ 31.56 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 31.3 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 32.86 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 29.09 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 31.56 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 30.95 Lakhs onwards
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