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Old 20th October 2012, 12:33   #1
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Talking 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

I was only 14 when we got our brand-spanking-new ‘Champagne-mica-metallic’ Toyota Corolla H4 back in November 2004. 80,000kms and nearly 7 years later, it was still faithfully serving us like business-as-usual. Even after all these years, it drove very well. Having replaced our Ford Ikon 1.6 Sxi and 3rd generation Honda City with a Toyota Corolla Altis H4 and 4th generation Honda City VMT respectively in December 2010; it was time we began looking for something new to take the place of our trusty old Corolla. Even though it drove well, Dad wanted to replace it with something fresh. Thus began the hunt.

The Search, The Dilemma and The Decision:-
I popped the idea to Dad that we should go for a car in a higher segment (mainly to use for self-drive). We thought about the usual suspects >> Mercedes C-class, Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. After thinking hard and long, Dad decided he didn’t want to spend on such an attention grabbing car (Badge-wise).

After reading the review about the VW Passat on T-Bhp, I suggested that to Dad since it seemed to tick all the boxes. After showing him the pictures and review of the car (which he liked), we agreed to TD the Passat.

We arranged for a TD car to be brought over. The SP arrived earlier than scheduled (Dad and I hadn’t even returned from office yet!!) so had to wait for 15 minutes or so. The car he had brought was a Black Passat Highline. Since it had been raining that day, the car was dirty on the outside (can’t help that really). The SP apologised for bringing the car in such a state and being early! (A very well-mannered chap and nice to talk to).

The moment I sat inside the car, my mind was made up. Upon taking it out for a spin, I was falling in love with it even more! The 2.0 Tdi engine’s 168 horses pulled us along the road with ease. Dad and I loved the German build-quality (felt like a tank!). Using the Auto-Park was quite an experience for the first time. It was quite nerve-wracking letting the steering turn by itself and the car slot into the parking spot. I half expected to crunch the pillar behind at any time. TD done, Dad and I sat together to think. We told the SP that we would call him if when we had made our decision.

The next day we called him to the office to work out all the formalities, etc. We had selected a Silver Passat Highline. I was disappointed to learn that the waiting period was about 3 months for the car! The SP said that they had a Silver Passat Comfortline in stock, which we said no to. (That car coincidentally was bought by one of my best friends!!! – What a small world it is. So the most agonising 3 months began. Though I was away for the entire time (was in university at the time in the UK), I knew that the delivery date fell bang in the middle of my winter vacations.

Fast-forward:-
December 2011, I return home for the holidays. 23rd December, I drive to the VW showroom to pick up our new beast. We instantly spot it parked right in front, ready for delivery. A few remaining formalities are finished off in 20 minutes and then comes the big moment! I take a long walk around the car, checking each and every bit to check if everything is in order. Once I’m satisfied, the SP hands over the keys, a cake (Yum!!), a bouquet of flowers and clicks a picture.

Drive & Comfort: From a driver’s perspective, it’s a great car to drive. The powerful 2.0 Tdi packs a good punch. Have ended up cruising at 140kmph on empty stretches (late at night of course) without realising! The car feels planted at high-speeds, though I would have preferred more feed-back from the steering (not complaining though). Surprisingly, driving in the city is also a breeze. Despite the size of the car, it is easy to manoeuvre in the bumper-to-bumper traffic. The light steering ensures one does not break into a sweat while driving in such situations. This is also a boon when parking in a spot that requires a lot of manoeuvring and if auto-park abandons you then.

On the other hand, the car is extremely comfortable from the passenger’s perspective also. The suspension soaks up most of the infamous potholes that dot Calcutta’s roads. The leg room in the rear is amazing as well, though not as good as the Skoda Superb’s. The transmission tunnel hump at the rear could annoy the 5th passenger on long drives however. The sun blinds at the rear provide more than adequate shade from the scorching sun and help keep the passengers cool. The cabin is well insulated too, filtering out the hustle-bustle outside the car.

Fuel-economy: More than satisfied with the car in this aspect. Averages a decent 11 km/lt in stop-start city traffic with AC running full-time. This figure is as per the MID. Being a diesel also helps in current fuel-price situation.

Equipment: The Highline variant of the Passat is very well kitted out. Cruise-control, Heated + cooled front seats, Electric fold + adjust ORVMs, Electrically adjustable seats, Touch-screen audio, Electric sunblind, Sunroof, etc.

The Auto-park works like a gem in most places. Very very convenient if you are too lazy to park! The only downside of the system is that it may sometimes not work in the traffic conditions we face in India. A spot which may accommodate the car reasonably well may not be detected by the system if the clearances are not in-line with what the system needs. The auto-start/stop function is useful for saving fuel, but can get irritating in stop-go city traffic. There is however a button to deactivate this.

The sound system is adequate. The speakers could have been better. A speaker upgrade would fix this issue, but the SP told me it would void the car’s warranty. Hence, I decided against going ahead with it.

The AC chills the cabin very efficiently. However the rear vents take a little longer to cool the rear passengers. The Seat cooling function is amazing! Prevents having a sweaty back against the leather seats.

The ORVMs provide a good field of vision behind the car and there aren’t any blind-spots as such. One needs to take care while reversing due to the size of the car’s rear. The reversing camera works well along with the parking sensors to make the task a lot easier. If you’re feeling too lazy, just use Auto-park!

Build quality and Ergonomics: The usual tank-like German build. The car feels as solid is a rock! The interior is well laid out, so all the switches & buttons are easily within reach. The AC controls can be fiddly to use while trying to operate on the move though. One may have to take their eyes off the road for an instant to adjust the system.

Faults: Left-rear suspension started squeaking at around 4,500kms. Was fixed by the dealer, though the experience with the workshop was less than satisfactory. Car was returned in a very dirty state, the electric sunblind wasn’t working and the VW logo was missing from the key-fob. Many phone calls later, all these were finally rectified. Volkswagen seriously needs to pull up their dealers on the service front.

Car details:-
Model / Variant: Volkswagen Passat Highline
Colour: Silver
Delivered: December 2011 (After a 3 month wait)
Kilometres covered till date: 6,000

All in all, it has been a great journey so far, barring the minor bump (experience with the service centre) in the middle. Looking forward to many more kilometres of fun in the Passat!

To summarise, I have listed some of my likes and dislikes about the car so far.

Likes:-
• Understated but mature looks
• Tank-like German build quality
• Punchy 168bhp engine
• Fuel economy is surprisingly good!
• Easy to drive in Calcutta’s horrible rush-hour traffic despite its size
• Auto-hold function is well suited for stop-start traffic
• Auto-Park is amazingly accurate and is very useful in most places
• Seat-cooling function works very well
• Interiors are a great place to be in!
• Great fun to push the car in ‘S’-mode
• HUUUGGEEE Boot (can surely fit an elephant in it)


Dislikes:-
• Speakers could have been better
• After-Sales-Service is not up to the mark
• Auto-Park can sometimes may not work as intended in Indian road conditions
• Rear AC vents don’t cool as well as the ones in front
• Stop-start function can get irritating in rush-hour traffic (though there is a button to deactivate it)

P.S. – We ended up keeping the old Corolla as well! I refused to sell it since I felt the offers we were getting were nowhere near the value of the car that had been maintained in mint condition. So the old boy is still soldiering on at 87,000kms

I shall put up more detailed pictures over the next week or so. And that is NOT how I actually look

Cheers!
fordfreak
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Old 20th October 2012, 13:55   #2
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Congrats on your new car man. It looks damn sleek and classy! It really is a great car to own especially if you don't want the attention the bigger badges bring.

Wish you many many wonderful miles and congrats once again! Keep us posted.

Cheers.
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Old 20th October 2012, 15:35   #3
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

This is one heck of a car and truly embodies luxury much better than Merc, Audi or BMW.

Congratulations! and hope you have as good an experience as the trusty toyota.
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Old 20th October 2012, 15:55   #4
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Congratulations, the Passat is looking very lovely in this color. Has a good road presence, saw one the other day and the DRL's looked cool.

Request you to add more and better shots of the car, these pics dont do justice to it.
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Old 20th October 2012, 19:43   #5
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Congrats for plonking in your money on a true luxury car. I have always felt that cars like the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb are far more comfortable, luxurious and useful compared to the more expensive "get into our fold" luxury cars like C-Class, 3-Series and A4. The silver colour looks majestic and the DRLs are cool. I would love to see more real-time shots of your Passat, shot in daylight.

I hope Volkswagen keeps you happy every time you visit the dealership.
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Old 20th October 2012, 21:23   #6
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Wow!!What a beauty she is! Happy motoring, will buy a pre owned highline if I get a good deal on it.
Love the ventilated seats and electric blinds.
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Old 21st October 2012, 08:14   #7
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Congratulations on the Passat fordfreak.

As there are so few Passats on the forum I would request you to kindly post some more good pictures of the interiors etc. so that we can can enjoy your car more. These Germans/Europeans as a whole, have below par after-sales in India but a little hands on approach can save you much pain later. My friend who also owns owns a highline Passat also faced similar issues. He however ever hardly got to use the auto-park feature which is more of a gimmick in Indian conditions and in one year of ownership he has used it only twice out of which once was to show off to his friends (us). The start stop feature is also quite useless and most people I have seen, keep it off whether its in a BMW or a Mahindra. These manufacturers should give thought to Indian specific conditions before loading unnecessary features in a car. Another useless feature I feel is the Cruise Control that we get in many European cars. The blinds on the rear windows and rear windshield, however, are a boon for Indian conditions, especially after the sun film ban.

Keep revving, drive safe and post more good quality photos.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 12:42   #8
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
Congrats on your new car man. It looks damn sleek and classy! It really is a great car to own especially if you don't want the attention the bigger badges bring.

Wish you many many wonderful miles and congrats once again! Keep us posted.

Cheers.
Thanks thumpingheart! Will update with more pictures shortly and also with my experiences as I rack up more kilometres.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akhilesh51 View Post
This is one heck of a car and truly embodies luxury much better than Merc, Audi or BMW.

Congratulations! and hope you have as good an experience as the trusty toyota.
Thank you akhilesh51. The VW is great value for money compared to the big-3. More features for less money and equally comfortable! The trusty Toyota is still soldiering on at 87,000kms; healthy as ever *touchwood*

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboy007 View Post
Congratulations, the Passat is looking very lovely in this color. Has a good road presence, saw one the other day and the DRL's looked cool.

Request you to add more and better shots of the car, these pics dont do justice to it.
Thanks coolboy007! Silver is easier to maintain compared to black or white, hence we chose it. I shall put up better pictures shortly as soon as I get time for a proper photo-shoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
Congrats for plonking in your money on a true luxury car. I have always felt that cars like the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb are far more comfortable, luxurious and useful compared to the more expensive "get into our fold" luxury cars like C-Class, 3-Series and A4. The silver colour looks majestic and the DRLs are cool. I would love to see more real-time shots of your Passat, shot in daylight.

I hope Volkswagen keeps you happy every time you visit the dealership.
Thank you arvi86! I am extremely happy with the VW. It may lack the driving pleasure of the 3-series or the badge-appeal of the others, but it outclasses them in terms of value-for-money. The DRLs are nice, however I've had a few people gesturing to me while waiting at traffic lights saying that my headlights are on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kedarwalke View Post
Wow!!What a beauty she is! Happy motoring, will buy a pre owned highline if I get a good deal on it.
Love the ventilated seats and electric blinds.
Thanks kedarwalke! The ventilated seats and sun-blinds are surprisingly effective in keeping the cabin cool during our summers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
Congratulations on the Passat fordfreak.

As there are so few Passats on the forum I would request you to kindly post some more good pictures of the interiors etc. so that we can can enjoy your car more. These Germans/Europeans as a whole, have below par after-sales in India but a little hands on approach can save you much pain later. My friend who also owns owns a highline Passat also faced similar issues. He however ever hardly got to use the auto-park feature which is more of a gimmick in Indian conditions and in one year of ownership he has used it only twice out of which once was to show off to his friends (us). The start stop feature is also quite useless and most people I have seen, keep it off whether its in a BMW or a Mahindra. These manufacturers should give thought to Indian specific conditions before loading unnecessary features in a car. Another useless feature I feel is the Cruise Control that we get in many European cars. The blinds on the rear windows and rear windshield, however, are a boon for Indian conditions, especially after the sun film ban.

Keep revving, drive safe and post more good quality photos.
Thanks dkaile! I shall certainly keep updating this thread as I accumulate more kilometres. I will also put up better pictures as soon as I get a chance to do a photo-shoot. Though the features you mentioned are a sales-gimmick. But I have used the auto-park a fair number of times (for showing-off as well ). The cruise control is utterly useless in city driving and I have never used it till date. I hope VW update the auto-park system to be more friendly towards 'Indian' conditions in the future.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 18:52   #9
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Does the Passat have daytime running LED lights?
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Old 24th October 2012, 11:41   #10
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianGuardian View Post
Does the Passat have daytime running LED lights?
Yes it does . Though there is an option of keeping it switched off if you don't want people pointing to tell you that your headlights are on in the daytime
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Old 11th February 2013, 13:03   #11
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Apologies for not updating the thread for a long time. Been bogged down with work and personal commitments.

Just crossed the 8,000kms mark and no major issues to report. A couple of small issues seem to have cropped up.

1. Rear left suspension is creaking again. This is barely audible, but it had happened once before and was fixed by the dealer. Will get it checked out if it persists.

2. Auto-Park seems to be acting strange. I haven't tried it enough lately. Though when I tried using it in a nice big parking lot, it seemed to have been attracted to a Hyundai I-20 parked 2 slots away!! I obviously spotted it heading there and took over the controls. Will try it again sometime and see if the same issue crops up.

Will be travelling for 3 weeks in March, so will take this opportunity to send the car to get a touch-up. The bumper chin has scraped numerous speed-bumps, so it needs a bit of a re-spray (though the scratches are only visible if you get down on your knees and peep under the car). The rear-bumper has been nicked by a biker; nothing major again but why let the scrape mark remain . Also was lucky to get away with a scarred rim and a slight scrape on the front right corner when a bus came and stuck itself to our stationary car!

Had the first service done in December. That went off without any problems from the dealer. Was charged 17k for it. Was told by the dealer that the 2nd service (2-year/30,000 kms) would cost about 28k. Is this normal or is there something fishy?

Car is consistently returning 9.5-10 km/lt, so quite satisfied with that.

Took it out for its first ever highway run (on NH-2) around Christmas and managed to get 16.2 km/lt on that trip, according to the MFD!! (Pushed the long-term average to 12.7). Being an early Sunday morning, the roads were practically empty. So managed to cruise at a steady 120 km/hr without any hassle. The car felt firmly planted to the road at all times. Didn't bother using the Cruise control since I'm not very comfortable with that.

I will FINALLY push my(very-lazy)self to do a photoshoot this weekend. In the meantime, here are a couple of pics of the car.

Cheers!
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Old 30th May 2013, 11:35   #12
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Crossed the 10,000km mark last month and the beast is still going strong!

Engine feels as fresh as ever and is a joy to drive everyday! I have managed to keep the interiors in mint-condition over the 1.5 years of owning the car. My friends keep asking me why does my car still smell new-ish despite it being over a year old! .

It had it's 15,000km/1-year service in December 2012 (billed for Rs.17k), so the next service is due in December 2013. Fuel-economy is something I am more than happy with. The car returns 7-8 km/l in the morning city traffic and a healthy 10-12 km/l when roads are empty in the evening/late night.

The air-con is starting to show its weakness now that the Calcutta summer has reached it's full strength. While at the front it cools well, it takes significantly longer to make things more comfortable at the rear. However once it is up to speed, the cooling is all-round good. I guess since the car has black leather interiors, it gets much hotter when parked out in the sun.

Over the last couple of days, Calcutta has been receiving some heavy rains. The speed of the wipers at maximum is not adequate for such situations! The wipers on my Corollas' and City cope much better in such moments.

On a brighter note, the Passat still seems to catch people's attention on the road. Considering it has sold in far fewer numbers as compared to the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class; it feels more exclusive than the 'Big-3'. On one occasion when I stopped to ask for directions, the person who directed me asked, "Which model of BMW is this?". . I love the aggressive look the car has with it's DRLs switched on.

However, the Auto-Park seems to be malfunctioning, this isn't a major worry since I use it only for my own amusement. It has probably been used 10-12 times since getting the car in December 2011. For some reason it isn't able to detect the parking slot despite driving past it. On another occasion, it didn't detect a car in the slot beside which it was guiding the me into, and nearly steered into it! Timely intervention by me prevented any contact.

Planning to talk to the dealer and get the iPod connector cable in place of the USB-cable provided with the car. My iPod doesn't work on the current cable. Got to understand this issue through the valuable inputs from members in the Official Passat Test-drive thread. P.S. - Wish I could get a speaker upgrade. Doing so will void the warranty unfortunately.

Cheers!
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Last edited by fordfreak : 30th May 2013 at 11:42.
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Old 30th May 2013, 12:37   #13
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

Try getting the cabin pollen filter changed, it made a big difference to my Jetta A/C
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Old 30th May 2013, 12:42   #14
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Try getting the cabin pollen filter changed, it made a big difference to my Jetta A/C
That may work but I highly doubt it will make a big difference. The weak AC was the main reason my uncle dismissed the Passat. Test drove in Kolkata march summer and it was not able to cool the back at all.
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Old 30th May 2013, 12:52   #15
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Default Re: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Highline - The beast finally comes home!

No such issues with the Superb 2012's AC. Cools well even in 46 degrees here in Meerut. Wonder why? Are they using different compressor in the cars that are supposed to clone each other for most parts?
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