The VW Passat is a car, that has universally got great reviews from everyone who’s driven and tested it. I had driven it briefly earlier this year and was looking to review it over a longer period. An executive sedan in every breadth and step, the Passat is impressive from the time you set your eyes on it.
Understated elegance, a Volkswagen hallmark is visible here. The car looks good from all angles. The full LED headlights and grille run across the width of the car with DRLS at the bottom giving the Passat a sharp look. The bumpers are sporty looking with a prominent shoulder and coupe line. Classy is the word that fits the Passat to a T.
The Passat is built on the modular MQB platform. MQB is not a platform as such, but rather a system for introducing rationality to different platforms that have transverse engines, regardless of the body configurations the VW group manufactures for any of its vehicle brands such as Audi, Skoda, Porsche etc.
The interior colour scheme is dark with an exquisite finished wood panel on the dashboard panel and doors. The dashboard panel runs in a singular fashion with a break in the centre, where is placed an old-fashioned analogue clock. The steering wheel is standard from the other VW models. The controls like the HVAC unit, door handles and window switches are like the Tiguan. Everything in the cabin has a rich and expensive feel. The quality like with any VW car is top-notch in terms of fit and finish.
The front seats are power adjustable and heated. The driver’s seat gets a memory and massage function. The cabin behind is where most owners of the Passat would be sitting maximum. VW has made sure it’s supremely comfortable and spacious. 3 people can easily sit with decent shoulder room for the middle passenger. There’s a nice flip-down armrest at a height which is easy to rest the elbow on.
Lots of space is available in the Passat for storage around the whole cabin. The boot has a capacity of 586 litres which can be opened with a wave of one’s foot below the rear bumper to operate it, besides the conventional button on the remote. If more space is required, then the 60:40 split rear seats can be tipped forward from the boot itself.
The features one gets in the Passat are three-zone climate control system, automatic parking, tyre pressure monitoring, an electric rear sunshade and a sunroof. Infotainment is handled by a touchscreen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. USB, Aux and Bluetooth functions are on offer as well. The infotainment system has handy buttons for easy access, a proximity sensor that throws up commands the moment you reach for the screen. There is a 360-degree camera and self-parking functions available too. These features made parking very easy. This was extremely useful when one had to park in tight spots.
Safety in VW cars is always of the highest standard. Nine airbags, including one for the driver’s knee, ESC, ABS along with VW’s drag reduction which prevents the front wheels from locking in case of a rapid downshift, make up the safety kit in the Passat.
The Passat comes with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine mated to a six-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG) which puts out 177hp and 350Nm of torque. Power is available from 1,500 rpm all the way to the 5,400 rpm red line. The shifts are quick, super responsive and seamless. Having driven lots of cars from the VW family in the last while, one of the highlights is always the legendary DSG gearbox. It’s so smooth and intuitive, it makes driving the VW cars a fun and pleasurable exercise.
The ride quality is top class. I drove the Passat across all sorts of road conditions. Not once did any of my co-passengers complain. It was so comfortable that getting out of the car felt like a chore.VW has introduced a great feature for customers called the VW Connect. It is an intelligent vehicle assistant that offers a seamless connected car experience for VW drivers. To start using it one must download and install the VW Connect app. The app works through a “Plug and Play” dongle which is fitted to the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port of the car. After which you connect to it via Bluetooth to start using the app. The connect app is compatible with both, Android and iOS platforms and is available to download on Google Play and App store respectively.
These features which I used during my review were extremely useful and gave me lots of insights and inputs about trip tracking, driving behavior, location sharing. An SOS call option and fuel cost monitor are also available. Booking service appointments is made much easier as the app automatically informs the dealership when the car is due for service. Then the dealer gets in touch with the customer and offers an appointment at a convenient time.
These are things we usually don’t bother about while driving. But they make so much of a difference in improving efficiency, correcting bad driving patterns and giving us an account of fuel spent. Apps like this are the future of how automotive companies will engage with customers proactively. The VW connect app is doing exactly that. I look forward to the next time I use the App to learn further insights about these above-mentioned pointers.
The key highlights of the Connect App in detail are:
- Trip tracking: Users can track every trip made by the car when the phone is connected to the car
- Fuel cost monitor: Users can keep a tab on their monthly or trip wise fuel costs
- Driving behavior: The driving behavior monitor enables users to monitor their driving styles. Individual scores are given for acceleration, braking, engine speed, engine temperature etc. for every trip which enables users to improve their driving efficiency by altering their driving style
- Location sharing: This feature enables users to share their last parking locations with their loved ones even after moving away from that location
- SOS call: Customers now need not memorize or store the customer care or RSA number. The app can directly connect a call to the helplines from the user’s phone
- Service appointment: The app can automatically inform the dealership when the customers car is due for service. With this intimation, the dealer workshop can contact the customer proactively and offer an appointment at a convenient time.
The time spent with the Passat felt too short. This is a car that has loads of features, drives and handles very well, is luxurious and super comfortable, carries the VW badge of safety. Its an executive sedan that comes with everything you could ask for. A car I would definitely want to own in the future.