E-segment sedans have their own charm – they are big, spacious and very luxurious. As is the Volkswagen Passat, the flagship sedan from the German carmaker. It would be justified to call it a limousine owing to its length and cabin space and we got to live with it for a brief period of time. Naturally, we put it through our scientifically-derived totally justified tests to find out how it is to live with the Volkswagen Passat. The Volkswagen Passat is a luxury car in all senses and it is safe to say that it has been engineered for practicality.
The interior is typically German – understated but highly functional. Of course, it is premium with the thick black leather upholstery, soft-touch plastics and the dark wood trim on the dash adding richness. It gets a bunch of stowage spaces all around the cabin like the litre bottle holder in the door panel and two bottle/cup holders in the centre console. There is a wallet/document holder under the steering, a cubby hole under ahead of the gear lever, and storage under the driver armrest and of course, the sunglass holder on the roof while not forgetting the glove box. Even the rear passengers get their share of bottle holders, cup holders and even AC vents with a temperature controller. There are sunshades for the rear windows and the windscreen along with the cabin-boot access if you need to haul something on the move. Last but not least is the humungous boot that can almost fit in an entire room full of luggage which is expandable thanks to the folding rear seats.
The Volkswagen Passat gets the 2.0-litre diesel engine, one of the most successful engines in the VW group. Mated to the six-speed automatic, its ARAI efficiency is rated at 17.42kmpl. In the real world too, it isn’t too far away if you drive in Eco mode. Light foot on the throttle and a deft foot on the brakes will get you over 10kmpl in rolling traffic, a little more in the otherwise city traffic and it will return over 15kmpl if you are careful. This is where the fun starts. Under the seemingly plaid interior is a bunch of very smartly laid out comfort and convenience features. For example, the seemingly small play/forward buttons on the touchscreen display zoom up by themselves when you take your finger near it. The headrest can be moved fore and aft to make passengers more comfortable. A tilt and telescopic steering, power seats, dual-zone climate control and electric sunroof are the regular run-of-the-mill features. And there are some special features as well. Like the automatic parking assist, which assists in parallel parking as well as perpendicular. It identifies if space is enough to fit the almost five metre long Passat and also steers for you. Then there is the 360-degree parking camera with sensors all around which turn out to be a real boon. And finally the gesture-opening boot-lid.
The Volkswagen Passat is a big car. It is long and wide. But once you get into the driving seat, it just shrinks around you. You just have to be mindful about its size and then it feels like a regular sedan to drive. The torquey 2.0-litre diesel engine is no slouch and paired with that automatic six-speed DSG, it works well. It does take a little time to kick-down if you suddenly need the power, but it is just a matter of getting used to, to know when it will kick in.The parking sensors all around keep the owner informed on anyone who comes close to the car. While it might beep all the time, especially in the Indian traffic, it is helpful and one can also turn it off. The automatic parking will identify a parking spot that would fit the Passat and helps in parking as well, making it quite convenient.
The Passat would be an ideal getaway car for a cosy weekend if you plan to stick to the road most of the times. It will ferry all four/five of you in comfort and luxury and will also haul all your luggage in that massive boot. All the bells and whistles that ensure comfort have been already spoken about. Also, the drive is rather enjoyable as the ride quality is immaculate. Its underlying stiffness is rather muted and the long wheelbase ensures that the road undulations are not felt inside. The driving modes allow you to harness more power from the engine, hold the gears to the red-line and go for it. It is also quite planted and one does feel the pull of the 177 horses under the hood. It is very easy to underestimate its ability to go fast and that might get you by surprise. That apart, it is just the perfectly understated workhorse that grows on you as you spend more time.