VW hasn’t given up on the luxury segment just as yet and the eight generation Passat is finally here in India. VW hopes that the car’s qualities such as tough build, limo-like rear seat comfort and a long list of safety kit will sway buyers to its showrooms. But the company has its work cut out because the Passat costs as much cash as its more illustrious German rivals. So is it worth the cash or should you go for an Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class instead?
The Passat looks very square and boxy on the outside. The rectangular lamps along with the horizontal grille give it a very serious look. It’s very business-like in its profile. The plethora of chrome on the grille gives it some much needed oomph. Step on the side and you will immediately realize its girth. This is a very long car and the extra 79mm addition to the wheelbase clearly shows. The rear with its rectangular lamps look premium and cool as well. The Passat's styling also includes a low slung bonnet and sleek windscreen along with a sloping roof at the rear to give it some youthful appeal.
The car manages to look imposing on the road but will not turn too many heads around. If flying under the radar is your thing you will appreciate the conservative design.
You simply can’t find fault with the cabin for sheer quality levels. Everything is well put together and even the tiny switches have a build to last feel. The Passat is impressive for sheer features. You get park assist, 9-airbags, multiple zone climate control, traction control and a massive sunroof among other things.
The cabin feels very premium and upmarket and can shame more expensive rivals for sheer quality. Rear seat comfort is truly excellent. You get limo-like legroom and there’s plenty of space for three occupants together.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You get a 2-litre diesel engine with 177bhp of power. This engine is mated with a six-speed dual clutch auto gearbox. 0-100kph comes up in a shade over 8 seconds, which is good for a car of this size and weight.
The engine has already done duty on a number of VW-Audi-Skoda cars here in India and is a tried and tested unit for reliability as well as fuel economy. The Passat has a tendency to masks its speeds very well so you will have to be careful about flexing your right leg. This car can build up momentum quickly. The engine has a wave of torque and power available in the mid-range.
The gearbox is a delight to operate. You can shift gears manually also by using the paddle shifters behind the wheel.
Ride and handling
The Passat has impressive ride quality, and simply sits on the road at faster speeds. It is a very relaxing car for highway usage. Even at slower city speeds the long wheelbase helps it flex out all road imperfections without working hard.
Though it isn’t a car you’d call sporty, there is an element of involvement which will make you feel happy about driving it. The steering is nice and feel some and never feels vague, no matter what speeds you do.
The new Passat is a great car for luxury seekers and one that you should simply consider without being a badge snob. Yes, it is expensive but all good things in life come at a price.
Photography: Mohd. Nasir