Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: July 25, 2016
It has been said that Volkswagen builds some of the best front-wheel drive cars on this g̶r̶e̶e̶n̶ planet. It has also been said that a fair majority of people want a car that can do everything, whether it be commuting, hauling groceries or heading out for a night on the town with some friends. They also like having a car that feels luxurious without an inflated price tag that usually follows. Consumers looking for a spacious mid-sized sedan that ticks off all of these boxes might find interest in the Volkswagen Passat.
What I used to consider one of the best road trip vehicles around – a diesel powered Passat – is no longer available on the market thanks to a little scandal called Dieselgate, so we were stuck with a 1.8-litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that we’ve already seen in other VW vehicles. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad engine, and is rated at an innocuous 170 horsepower with a cool starting price of $23,295. The buyer can opt for a 3.6-litre V6 option is they desire more oomph from their powerplant, however the V6 is only found on the Execline trim, new for 2016, topping out at $38,295.
Coco Chanel once said that “fashion fades, only style remains the same,” and the Passat bears no exception. Exterior wise, the Passat has retained the same shape and style as before, but has spruced things up with a sharpened front nose and angled rear end, alluding to a more creative character.
The Passat was sometimes thought to be the bland meatloaf of mid-sizers, but after the update it is much better looking and boasts a design that will look relevant for many years to come. The Passat has finally been taken out of the freezer and cooked to medium rare striploin perfection, compared to the chewy beef franks from Toyota and Honda.
Interior wise, there are some very minor alterations that would take an iSpy expert to uncover. Mainly though, the steering wheel, center console screen, and instrument panel have all been mildly updated. Furthermore, the Passat finally has USB ports that don’t require a separate USB cable from Volkswagen that always manages to get lost.
The perfect complement to the face-lifted exterior, the Titan Black leather interior swaddles you in comfort for long periods of time – a big plus when considering a long road trip. The controls are intuitive and the ratio of real button and knobs to touch screen prompts is perfect. For a car that just tops over $33,000, the build quality is a major improvement over the competition. Everything feels great to the touch, there are absolutely no rattles, and there is even a wood trim to finish things off with a classy vibe.
Ride quality is right up there with the best. The almost 1,500 kg Passat took bumps and road imperfections like a big sail boat that flattened the water beneath it. Highway noise is mute, and the Fender audio system will have you tuning to Beethoven and Bach to complete the whole experience.
This generic-branded Audi, as I started calling it mid-week, behaved well in twisty roads and I was bewildered by just how much pep this 170 horsepower motor actually had. This turbo-mill paired with the 6-speed automatic definitely went a long way to getting the most out of the small displacement motor. Smooth and never feeling like it was down on power gave me the confidence to tackle highway traffic and overtaking situations without hesitation.
The perfect cruiser, the Passat offers a relaxing ride whenever you need one. Plus for 2016, the Passat Highline comes with an adaptive cruise control unit that will follow the vehicle in front of you, slowing and speeding up as needed, letting you relax while you solely monitor the steering. It works so well that I wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of leased Passats come back with double their mileage limit.
On a side note, I really enjoyed the Passat’s fuel economy. The 1.8-litre sipped fuel at a rate of 7.6 L/100km combined during the test week and I managed to go around 500 km with a quarter tank still remaining! Upon filling up the 70-litre tank I was greeted with a message that said “Range: 1000 km” … TDI flashbacks anyone?
It may feel pricey when you get behind the wheel, but competitors like the Toyota Camry and the Mazda6 charge a bit more for comparable equipment. The Passat’s update keeps it relevant for consumers shopping in the mid-sized market, but they should also realize that the refresh for 2016 isn’t exactly a game changer. Instead it is a wakeup call for consumers to look past Volkswagen’s diesel blunders and appreciate the fact that the German automaker is still providing a great vehicle to rely on for road trips and daily driving life.
型号 Model: 2016 Volkswagen Passat TSI Highline
顏色 Paint Type: Platinum Grey Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $23,295
試車售價 Price as Tested: $33,795
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,803
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,868 / 1,835 / 1,487
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,465
引擎 Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 170 hp @ 6,200 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 9.7 / 6.6
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 7.6