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Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:50

Driven: Volkswagen Passat
1 Attachment(s)
The Volkswagen Passat is on sale in India at a price of between Rs. 29.99 - 32.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• A solid European sedan with classy & understated styling; will age well over time
• Premium, upmarket cabin and a cavernous 586-litre boot
• Loaded with features & technology (adjustable dampers, 360-degree area view camera...)
• Fast & practical 2.0L TDI engine mated to a smooth & quick 6-speed DSG
• Mature suspension brings balanced road manners
• 5-Star NCAP safety rating (9 airbags & a full suite of electronic aids)

What you won't:

• Many of you will find the styling to be too conservative
• Sibling rivalry from the Superb (more rear legroom etc.). The Skoda is cheaper as well
• Lacks the brand cachet that customers desire at this price point
• Explosive 1.8 TSI petrol engine isn't offered, and neither is a manual transmission
• Long-term reliability concerns over the DSG transmission
• Volkswagen's dealership & service experiences are a hit or miss

This review has been jointly compiled with Ajmat. Thanks to him for the expert observations!
Attachment 1701177

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:50

Review Index:

Interior - Front

Interior - Rear

In-Car Entertainment

Driving the 2.0L Diesel

Other Points

Smaller yet Significant Things

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

32 Attachment(s)

Conservative styling of the Passat may not be a crowd-puller, but the car did manage to turn a few heads during our test drive. It's incredibly classy & understated:
Attachment 1701185

The new Volkswagen Passat has finally hit Indian shores more than three years after its world premiere. The previous-generation Passat was discontinued in the country during late-2013 and whatever inventory was left with the dealers was sold out eventually (at huge discounts, I might add). Meanwhile, Skoda has had a head start with the third-generation Superb, which was launched in February 2016. The history of the earlier Passats can be found here.

Unveiled in July 2014 at Potsdam, Germany, this is the eighth-generation Passat (codenamed B8). The global launch of the car came at a time when Volkswagen was battling the diesel emissions scandal - one of the worst in recent times to have hit a car manufacturer.

The new Passat is based on Volkswagen's ubiquitous MQB architecture (German for Modularer Querbaukasten, translated to Modular Transversal Matrix) and is the second car with this platform to be launched by Volkswagen in the country, the first being the Tiguan. The MQB platform aims at reducing manufacturing costs by using a modular architecture across several Volkswagen group cars. The engine, drivetrain, chassis components and other ancillaries can be shared between different models and body styles. Bringing uniformity allows part sharing of a much higher degree and the same plant can be used for all models. The Skoda Octavia, Superb, Kodiaq, the upcoming Karoq and the Audi A3 are the other cars sold in India that are based on this platform (new-gen Polo is too).

Volkswagen has an ageing product line-up in the country and if you glance at our monthly sales charts, none of the company's models has been doing particularly well in its segment. Hit a Volkswagen dealership and you are likely to find only 5 to 6 models on display - the Polo (the design of which is nearly 8 years old), the Ameo and Vento (which are based on the Polo), the Polo GTI (which was brought in as a CBU and sold in limited numbers), the Tiguan (which was launched in Q2 2017) and the Passat. The previous-generation Jetta was doing decent numbers, but was discontinued sometime back, when the next-generation car debuted globally. The new Jetta isn't going to hit Indian shores as Volkswagen does not make a right-hand drive version globally due to limited demand. At the moment, as far as sedans are concerned, there's a wide gap between the Vento and the Passat.

The Passat is assembled in Volkswagen's Aurangabad plant and comes in two variants - Comfortline and Highline, priced at Rs. 29.99 lakhs and Rs. 32.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) respectively. For a locally assembled car, the Passat is priced at a premium compared to its sibling - the Skoda Superb, which is available with alternative engines + transmissions and more features. Evidently with this pricing, Volkswagen is not targeting volumes, but intends to maximize its profits instead. If history is anything to go by, the Passat will trail the Superb in the a massive margin. Despite the VW being newer, the Superb outsold it 4:1 in December.

Attachment 1720505

The Passat is available with only one engine in India - the 2.0L, 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel. This is rather strange considering the fact that petrol mills have been gaining in popularity in recent years and the explosive 1.8 TSI engine is available in the cars sold overseas. The manual transmission is conspicuous by its absence; the choice of transmission is limited to a 6-speed DSG automatic. We reckon a manual 1.8 TSI variant would have been a hoot to drive and cheaper too - perfect for entrepreneurs in their thirties, who would love to work on weekdays and play on weekends!

Like the other cars in the Volkswagen line-up, the Passat offers elegant and understated styling. A longer front overhang, a well-proportionate body and a shorter rear overhang give the Passat a typical, matured Euro trait. There are not too many chiselled cuts, nor an overdose of curves. Marc Lichte is the man responsible for the design of the new Passat (he has now moved on to head Audi's styling department). The Passat measures 4,767 mm in length, 1,832 mm in width and 1,456 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,786 mm. The car is shorter in length than the outgoing model by 2 mm, yet its wheelbase is longer by 75 mm. It is also wider than the old car by 12 mm, but it weighs 70 kg lesser - thanks to the MQB architecture. The front grille has been redesigned and now wears the signature look of Volkswagen cars by extending the chrome inserts into the headlights.

Like most German cars, the Passat offers solid build quality. In fact, we feel the Volkswagen is more strongly built compared to Skoda cars which use the same MQB architecture. However, we also feel that in its segment, the B6 Passat is still the benchmark in terms of build quality. The fit and finish is top notch with uniform panel gaps and tight shut lines all over. The heavy doors shut with that typical thud that we have become used to in European cars. The paint quality is impeccable as expected in a Volkswagen.

As far as safety is concerned, the Passat ticks all the boxes for safety tech. It has scored a 5-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests (link). The car is equipped with 9 airbags, ABS, ESP, ASR (anti-slip regulator - Volkswagen speak for traction control), EDL (electronic differential lock), TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), hill start assist, auto-hold, driver alert system and ISOFIX child seat mounts among others.

The front wears the current-generation Volkswagen family look with chrome strips on the front grille continuing into the headlights:
Attachment 1701178

Waistline is high and a strong crease runs along the sides of the car from the front fender, all the way to the tail-lights:
Attachment 1700900

While this isn't an India-specific addition, chrome strips have been used generously all over the car. The strip running lower on the body wraps around the bumpers:
Attachment 1700919

Crease on the bonnet is carried over to the grille. Notice the tight shut line between the bonnet and the front fender:
Attachment 1701179

We felt the new Passat looked great from this angle. The overall proportions of the car are brought out well. However, unlike the Superb, it lacks street cred / presence. Will be a deal breaker for many people, yet a deal maker for a handful (who don't want to announce their success):
Attachment 1700902

The rear three-quarter view clearly depicts the BMW-esque curved rear window design (link):
Attachment 1718334

All-LED headlight clusters look smashing. Each cluster houses a pair of LED projectors (for low and high beam duty), bright LED DRLs at the bottom of the cluster and on the low beam projector, an LED cornering light and LED turn-indicator (they aren't progressive ΰ la Audi cars):
Attachment 1700903

The DRLs are bright & prominent even during the day:
Attachment 1701180

With the LED lights in action. The headlamps are of the self-levelling type and the projectors do a quick dance when you start the car. Turning on the headlights dims the DRLs:
Attachment 1704770

Bold front grille is finished in gloss black and has horizontal slats. A large VW badge sits in the middle with a thick chrome strip on the top slat and thinner ones on the three lower slats:
Attachment 1701181

Front bumper bulges out, houses a large air dam and the headlight washers, front tow-eye mount & parking sensors. Chrome strip runs across the wide air dam:
Attachment 1701182

Headlight washers pop out from the top of the bumper. They are powerful and effective:
Attachment 1704771

Front camera is located in the center of the air dam and aids in the 360° area view:
Attachment 1701183

Fog lamps are powered by a single halogen bulb with an ugly, blank reflector next to it. The previous generation Passat had a separate bulb here that served as the cornering lamp:
Attachment 1700912

Underbody gets a plastic plate - a must have on expensive cars considering the road conditions in India:
Attachment 1700928

Windshield washers are neatly concealed beneath the bonnet (like most VAG cars):
Attachment 1700913

The Highline variant gets 17" London 10-spoke alloy wheels shod with 215/55 section Hankook Ventus Prime tyres. They are rated at 94W (W = maximum speed of 270 km/h). The Comfortline variant gets 16" Aragon alloys with 215/60 section tyres. While the alloys don't look boring, they aren't CNC machined and lack that shiny metallic appearance:
Attachment 1700914

ORVMs with integrated LED turn signals. They are electrically adjustable, foldable and fold/unfold automatically when the car is locked/unlocked:
Attachment 1700915

The ORVM unit also houses an LED puddle light and a camera, which aids in the all-round view while parking:
Attachment 1700916

The driver-side unit features a small outboard aspherical surface (indicated by the dotted line) to improve the rearward field-of-view:
Attachment 1700917

Door handles are long and sleek. All door handles are equipped with a tiny request sensor built into the plastic (unlike the physical buttons we've seen in other cars):
Attachment 1700918

Fuel flap is linked to the central locking system. Push the flap gently to open it, push it again to close it. The fuel flap is much larger in size due to the missing AdBlue filler cap (link). AdBlue helps in selective catalytic reduction in countries where stricter emission norms are followed:
Attachment 1700924

Highline variant gets an electric tilt & slide panoramic sunroof:
Attachment 1700920

Sunroof retracts over the roof - looks so ugly! Here it is in the fully open position:
Attachment 1700921

Passat gets an all-LED tail-light cluster as well. Brake lights on the Highline variant are a set of vertical LEDs. Reversing light is located on the boot lid:
Attachment 1700922

Tail-lamp clusters look swell in the dark with the LED parking lights switched on:
Attachment 1700923

Passat badging on the left side:
Attachment 1700925

...and engine badging on the right:
Attachment 1704439

Reversing camera is neatly integrated into the boot release mechanism. The badge flips and the camera pops out whenever the reverse gear is engaged or the Park Assist button is pressed:
Attachment 1700926

The rear bumper houses the parking sensors and conceals the rear tow-eye mount, and the sensor for the hands-free boot release mechanism. Chrome strip runs along the bumper from the left fender to the right. The grooves below the reflectors were meant for the chrome exhaust tips sold with the TSI variant overseas (link):
Attachment 1701184

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

40 Attachment(s)
Interior - Front

Attachment 1704730

Open the doors and immediately, you'll notice that the Passat has typical European characteristics - it's sturdy and well built. The vault-like doors open and close with a three-stage action, and shut with the typical thud. Ingress and egress are easy, thanks to the wide opening doors and seats that are placed at a convenient height. Close the doors and the Passat treats you to a whisper-quiet cabin. Soft-touch plastics, leather and felt have been used at various places - the fit and finish is impeccable. The design, placement of switchgear and controls are driver-centric (typical Volkswagen).

The Passat gets an all-black cabin. But, despite the dark interiors, the cabin feels roomy thanks to the light grey pillars, large roof liner with the panoramic sunroof and the big glass area. The dark shade also helps the interiors age well and keeps them from getting soiled or mucky over the years.

The Passat features a redesigned dashboard with air-con vents that seem to extend seamlessly across its front fascia. There are chrome, felt, wooden, piano black and leather inserts at various places on the dashboard, center fascia and doorpads. As far as creature comforts go, the Passat is loaded with goodies such as electric front seats (with memory presets and massage function for the driver), ambient lighting, 3-zone climate control, auto headlamps, auto wipers, 6.5" infotainment system with 8 speakers and Android Auto & Apple CarPlay support, 360° area view camera, frameless auto-dimming IRVM, electric panoramic sunroof and a lot more! As expected in a car in this segment, there are no visible rough edges anywhere in the cabin. Everything feels superbly put together. All of this lends a very premium feel to the cabin.

The cabin is classy and well-built. Nothing seems overdone, yet it evokes a sense of sophistication. All controls are ergonomically laid out within the driver's reach. We did however feel that the buttons for the 360° area view, park assist, hazard lights and passenger airbag deactivation warning could have been moved to the space around the gear selector which has a lot of blanks:
Attachment 1700930

The flat-bottomed steering wheel finished in leather and piano-black accents, is lifted from the Tiguan. With the thumb contours on either side, flappy paddles at the rear and the perfectly laid out controls, the wheel feels great to hold and operate. However, the hornpad is hard to reach and press:
Attachment 1700931

The left spoke houses the controls for the cruise control system and volume controls for the audio system. Pressing the + or – buttons changes the speed by 10 units. Press it continuously for gradually changing it by 1 unit. The RES button resumes the previously set speed, while the SET button sets the current speed of the car as the cruising speed. Telephony controls and buttons to scroll through the MID's features are located on the right spoke. Lower left button is for voice commands. At the bottom are the buttons to change the track playing on the audio system:
Attachment 1700956

Paddle shifters on either side of the steering in black - one on the left is for shifting down and vice versa:
Attachment 1704440

Steering offers manual tilt & telescopic adjustment. Both have a healthy range:
Attachment 1704442

While the Passat does not get the Active Info Display (link) in India (due to cost-cutting and the overlap with the Audi A4), the instrument cluster with the colour MID does its job well. The tacho is on the left, the speedo on the right with the MID in the middle and the trip reset button located at the bottom. There are thin chrome borders around the instrument cluster and the dials, which look swell:
Attachment 1700932

The well-sized colour MID has a fluid operation with a wide range of customisable readouts including real time speed, speed warning, real time fuel economy, average fuel economy, distance to empty counter, how much fuel is being consumed by accessories like the air-con, travelling time, distance travelled and average speed. The current time, ambient temperature, gear position, odometer and trip meter displays are static:
Attachment 1700957

The light and wiper stalks are also similar to the Tiguan's. The indicator stalk is a lot less cluttered since the cruise control buttons have been moved to the steering wheel. A gentle tap on the left stalk activates the 'lane change' indicator (indicator blinks thrice). On the right is the wiper stalk. The INT position activates the auto-wiper mode:
Attachment 1700958

The engine start/stop button is located on the center console. It is finished in brushed aluminium with the letters engraved on it and looks extremely classy:
Attachment 1700933

The headlamp control knob has a thin brushed metal surround. Turn the knob to the Auto mode, set it and forget it! The auto headlamps work well and the light sensor is calibrated satisfactorily. The fog lamp buttons are located to the left of the knob:
Attachment 1700934

A small felt-lined storage space below the headlamp controls for coins, toll slips, parking cards and miscellaneous stuff:
Attachment 1700935

Vault-like doors open in a three-stage action. The doorpad is finished in a mix of soft-touch plastic and leather, with a wooden insert and the ambient lighting strip. Each doorpad houses a mid bass + tweeter and a door ajar warning light. Felt-lined door pocket can accommodate a couple of 500 ml bottles. The thick rubber weather strips ensure that the doors seal the cabin tight:
Attachment 1700959

White ambient lighting on all four doors (including the door handles). Prefer a darker cabin? The brightness can be adjusted through the infotainment system:
Attachment 1700960

All the door sills of the Highline get scuff plates finished in brushed aluminium. Nope, they aren't illuminated:
Attachment 1700951

The Highline variant gets seats draped in Nappa leather. The front seats are supremely comfortable with the right amount of firmness and offer great side bolstering:
Attachment 1700952

The driver's seat is 12-way electrically adjustable, has 3 memory presets (each preset stores the seat & ORVM positions) and offers a massage function too! With the massage function enabled, the lumbar support moves back and forth pressing against the spine - helps on a long highway cruise. They are also heated which is pointless in India (should have been cooled instead). It should be noted here that the Skoda Superb gets cooled seats:
Attachment 1700953

What's more? The seatbase can be extended manually...
Attachment 1704757 give the driver additional under-thigh support:
Attachment 1704758

The passenger seat also gets the 12-way electric adjustments:
Attachment 1700955

Head restraints get fore & aft adjustment, in addition to the usual height adjustment:
Attachment 1700954

Driver armrest is clad in leather and has a soft padded surface:
Attachment 1704732

It slides forward and is also adjustable for height. Neat:
Attachment 1704733

Footwell is wide and the pedals are well spaced out. Dead pedal size and positioning is spot on. Sadly, the accelerator is no longer an organ type pedal (related thread)!
Attachment 1700949

Frameless auto-dimming IRVM looks slick, but due to the rear head restraints and the sloping rear windshield, rearward visibility is limited. The auto-dimming feature is enabled by default and cannot be turned off:
Attachment 1700947

The center fascia has a slight tilt towards the driver:
Attachment 1705905

In this era of OLED displays, the analogue clock looks classy and adds a touch of contrast to the dashboard. It is backlit and linked to the central time, which is displayed on the MID and infotainment system:
Attachment 1700936

The Passat comes with a 3-zone climate control system. Rotary dials to operate it are located below the infotainment system. The blower speed is controlled using the central dial, whereas the left and right ones control the temperature settings for the co-driver and driver respectively.

The blower is silent at levels 1 & 2, audible at 3 & 4, loud at 5 & 6 and very loud at 7. The lowest temperature that the system goes to is 16°C before hitting LO, while it touches 29.5°C before hitting HI; increments are in 0.5 degree levels. Pressing the 'Sync' button gets the temperature of the passenger side to the same setting as that of the driver side. They both can be controlled simultaneously by using the driver's side temperature knob. On turning the passenger side knob, the sync function is automatically disengaged & both get their own temperature zones. The air-con can cool the cabin rather well, although it isn't bone-chilling like the Japs:
Attachment 1700937

Gear selector console gets a piano black trim with silver accents along with the drive selector and rear sunshade activation / deactivation button. The blanks around the gear selector lever are an eyesore:
Attachment 1700938

Cover ahead of the gear selector lever has a soft opening action. Underneath it is a shallow tray with a rubber lining for storing a smartphone. There is a USB port as well. The space doubles up as a range extender for the smartphone. However, smartphones with displays > 6" can't fit here:
Attachment 1700939

Center console houses a small rectangular storage space, a cigarette lighter and two cupholders with a sliding lid:
Attachment 1704729

Under the driver's armrest is a fairly accommodating storage box with felt lining:
Attachment 1704728

It houses the Aux-in and USB ports:
Attachment 1705906

Felt-lined glovebox is illuminated and comes equipped with a cooling vent. It has a damped opening action and houses the media console:
Attachment 1700940

The passenger-side vent grilles appear to extend till the center console:
Attachment 1700941

Sunvisors feel robust. Both the units get LED-illuminated vanity mirrors with ticket holders. Slide the cover and the light comes on automatically:
Attachment 1700942

They can be extended too:
Attachment 1700943

The sunroof & cabin light controls are located in the overhead console. The rear cabin lamp can also be operated from this unit. Bluetooth mic is integrated into the console. The two buttons at the top are used to open or shut the sunroof blind. A sunglass holder is present as well:
Attachment 1704734

These are the security system's interior motion detectors:
Attachment 1700944

Panoramic sunroof pane is made from tinted + heat-insulating glass. While it can be opened or tilted electrically, the translucent cover has to be operated manually:
Attachment 1700945

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

16 Attachment(s)
Interior - Rear

The rear seat gets three adjustable head restraints and 3-point seatbelts for all passengers. While the bench is wide and can accommodate three adults, things are going to be uncomfortable for the person seated in the center due to the obtrusive floor hump. The wide center armrest gets 3 cupholders (one for a small cup):
Attachment 1700963

Legroom is good, but not as voluminous as the Superb's. The fore & aft travel range for the front seats is long, like most Volkswagen cars. Here's Moderator Ajmat (6' tall) seated behind his own driving position. As you can see, two 6-footers sitting one behind the other poses no problem:
Attachment 1700962

The rear seat gets two ISOFIX mounting tethers for child seats:
Attachment 1700964

Rear A/C vents with temperature control + display:
Attachment 1700966

Located below the vents are a 230V AC socket and a 12V power outlet. Useful if the bossman wants to work on his laptop while being chauffeured around. These are covered with a plastic flap. A faint green light glows when the socket is working (and a red one if there is a fault or the power draw exceeds 150W). Notice the tiny bump-stops in the lower corners to dampen the noise while closing the flap:
Attachment 1700967

Rear footwells are illuminated and get a pair of cooling vents as well. Notice the fabric floor mat:
Attachment 1700969

The rear windows get a manual sunshade to protect occupants from the harsh summer heat and provide some privacy as well:
Attachment 1700968

Rear sunshade is electrically operated. With sunfilms banned, this proves to be an effective way to protect yourself from the afternoon sun:
Attachment 1704740

Rear cabin light console is located in the center and houses two independent LED map lights:
Attachment 1700961

586 litres of boot space - a gain of 26 litres over the previous generation model. The boot is well shaped and the lid can also be opened by swinging a foot underneath the rear bumper (ΰ la the Skoda Superb). Volkswagen calls it the 'easy open trunk'. Underside of the boot lid features a full cladding. Safety triangle is neatly stored on it:
Attachment 1718636

The rear seats fold down in a 60:40 ratio. With the seats folded, boot space increases to a whopping 1,152 litres:
Attachment 1700965

Cargo tie-down hooks have been provided to hold luggage in place with a net and prevent it from being tossed around:
Attachment 1700971

Spare wheel is a full sized alloy wheel :thumbs up. Tools are neatly stored in a Styrofoam casing around the tyre:
Attachment 1700972

Press this button and the boot lid will electrically close:
Attachment 1704739

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

12 Attachment(s)
In-Car Entertainment

6.5" touchscreen infotainment unit with a capacitive touch interface is standard in both the variants. Extremely fluid to use, the response of the touchscreen is as good as the current-gen smartphones! Connectivity is through Bluetooth, USB or Aux-in (Android Auto & Apple CarPlay too). A CD / DVD player is housed in the glovebox, but we doubt anyone's ever going to use that. The system does not come with inbuilt navigation (Android users can access Google Maps), but gets voice recognition & serves as a screen for the reversing camera. The piano black panel looks sweet, but is a fingerprint magnet. The glossy black bar just below the screen conceals the proximity sensor - bring your fingers close to the unit and the virtual buttons reveal themselves on the display; the bar hides itself as you move your fingers away from the unit. Reminds me of the ubiquitous Windows taskbar with the auto-hide function enabled:
Attachment 1700877

The system supports smartphone connectivity through Android Auto, Apple CarPlay & MirrorLink:
Attachment 1700878

Music is played through 8 speakers (4 tweeters + 4 mid bass) mounted on each door. Sound settings include the usual 3-band equaliser...
Attachment 1704741

...and fader / balance adjustments:
Attachment 1700879

The system also displays a summary of parameters related to the vehicle's status...
Attachment 1700880 well as detailed reports:
Attachment 1700881

Trip particulars including distance travelled, total time, average speed, FE and DTE are displayed:
Attachment 1700882

The "Think Blue" trainer indicates the average fuel consumption and your "Blue Score". This is Volkswagen's way of prompting the driver to go easy on the throttle and drive more economically:
Attachment 1700883

A performance monitor displays the boost pressure (in PSI), G-Force meter and the power delivery in real time:
Attachment 1700884

Tyre pressures are also displayed on the screen. Recommendations for the tyre pressure are given in brackets. The suggested pressure changes for the different drive modes. Here is the display for "comfort" mode:
Attachment 1700885

Parking camera display with colour-coded distance demarcations and adaptive guidelines. The combination of the rear camera + 360° area view greatly helps while backing up or moving the car out of a tight space:
Attachment 1700886

Long-press the "Menu" button on the head-unit to bring up the hidden service mode:
Attachment 1700897

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

3 Attachment(s)
Driving the 2.0L Diesel

Attachment 1700973

The Passat is powered by the familiar 2.0L TDI diesel engine mated to a 6-speed DSG automatic. This is the only engine & transmission combo available in India (sadly, nothing for the petrol lovers). The EA288-codenamed engine also powers the Octavia, Superb and Tiguan. This engine is not a part of the infamous VW emissions scandal (that was the older EA189 2.0 TDI engine found in the previous-gen Superb and Jetta). The EA288 diesel engine family is also called a modular diesel engine system or MDB. The MDB forms the basis for all future inline diesel engines in the Volkswagen Group. It is a concept that involves dividing the functional engine components into different modules. Depending on the capacity, power output, emission standards and the vehicle class, engines can be assembled from different modules and components. Lots of sharing & commonality - much like the MQB platform itself.

The Passat produces 175 BHP (@ 3,600-4,000 rpm) and a peak torque of 350 Nm (@ 1,500-3,500 rpm), which is the same state of tune that the Superb is available in. Internationally, the Passat is also available with a 2.0L TDI engine that produces 187 BHP and 400 Nm of torque. While it would have been nice to have the Passat in this state of tune, the engine we get isn't going to disappoint you. Volkswagen claims that it can do a 0-100 km/h sprint in less than 8 seconds! Icing on the cake - there's a nice thrum from the engine too. On the whole, the diesel is a competent all-rounder and returns decent fuel economy too (ARAI rating = 17.42 km/l).

The Passat is equipped with the 6-speed DQ250 DSG that features a wet clutch (Vs the notorious DQ200 dry clutch) and this is the same gearbox that does its duty in the Octavia, Superb and the new vRS. This transmission is capable of handling 400 Nm of torque. While its reliability is better than the DQ200, it's no saint and there are many reports of its failure.

Press the brake pedal, gently tap the start / stop button and the Passat's motor comes to life. While the diesel clatter is audible on the outside, it's quite silent on the inside thanks to the superb in-cabin insulation. Refinement levels are good, but the diesel thrum can be heard inside the cabin once the tacho crosses 3,000 rpm. Vibrations are well-controlled. The diesel engine's ample torque makes for a great match with the lightning quick DSG. The car is perfectly tuned for city commutes. The engine is very tractable. Turbo lag is negligible, and power is available from as low as 1,250 rpm. The responsiveness of the rev happy engine is bound to surprise you.

While pottering around in the city, the gearbox is eager to upshift quickly - at revvs below 2,000 rpm. The DSG ensures smooth and seamless upshifts. On your daily commute through peak hour traffic, all you need is a gentle tap on the throttle. With a light foot, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the fuel efficiency the car returns as well. To pull away, you do not need to downshift in most circumstances, thanks to the adequate amount of torque available. If you want to quickly overtake a vehicle or see a gap that you want to close immediately, floor the throttle and the car takes a sub-second to drop a gear (or two) and leaps ahead. With a DSG however, downshifts are nowhere as quick as upshifts.

On the open road, the Passat truly shines as a competent cruiser. She can happily do three digit speeds all day long without breaking a sweat. And with relaxed cruising ability at that! As an example, 100 km/h comes up at merely ~1,600 rpm while 120 km/h is seen at a calm ~1,900 rpm in 6th gear. Such easy cruising results in minimal engine sound and a longer tank range. Overtaking is effortless too. Floor the accelerator, wait a moment for the DSG to downshift and you'll see the diesel revving freely all the way up to 5,000 rpm. The mid-range packs quite a punch and the torque-on-tap makes light work of passing fast vehicles. On the highway, this engine + gearbox combination truly shines. The car masks speeds quite well and you simply don’t realise the speeds you’re doing, thanks to the car's stability and sorted dynamics. We must however add that while the Passat's engine sound is controlled, road noise and wind noise creeping into the cabin is rather high, especially when the speedo nears 120 km/h. This is disappointing and not something we'd expect in a premium car. Similar observations were made on the Tiguan, so we don't understand why VW is messing its NVH up.

While the 'Drive' mode (D) is good for the city, 'Sport' mode (S) is where all the fun lies. In the 'S' mode, the gearbox holds onto lower ratios longer and keeps the engine in its powerband. Depending on how heavy you are with the right foot, you can hold the gear till the redline (after which it automatically upshifts). Sport mode is also very eager to kick-down and will drop a few gears at the slightest tap of the accelerator. Engine braking is more prominent in Sport mode, with the ECU even blipping the throttle nicely when downshifting. In a diesel :D!

Apart from the gearbox's 'S' mode, the Passat offers five driving modes - Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual. As a part of its "dynamic chassis control" (DCC) on the Highline variant, the Passat gets adjustable dampers (a key advantage over the Superb)! Each mode alters the parameters of the transmission, suspension, steering, dynamic cornering lights and air-conditioning. To change between the different modes, simply press the drive mode selector button on the central console.

- In the Eco and Comfort modes, the transmission is more relaxed (lift off the throttle and the car coasts at low rpm), the air-con compressor works lesser with the blower levels dropping down a notch and the dynamic cornering lights are deactivated. The damping characteristics are altered to make the ride softer. It is best for the city, but not high-speed driving as an enthusiast will find the suspension to be a bit wallowy.

- In the 'Sport' mode, the steering weighs up, the transmission is more aggressive with delayed upshifts and the dynamic cornering lights are activated. It's great for high speed driving on smooth roads as things firm up & body control is tight.

- The 'Normal' mode is the default mode you can use for everyday driving. It's kind of a middle ground between the extremes.

- In the 'Individual' mode, you can configure the above-mentioned parameters individually.

This adjustable damping is a segment-first and it's just super cool to be able to choose the firmness of your suspension. A premium feature that was previously available only in more expensive cars.

Ride & Handling

The Passat offers a typical Euro car-like suspension tune. It gets McPherson struts at the front and a multi-link suspension at the rear. Small to medium road imperfections are handled well and owners will be comfortable on their daily drive to work. However, larger potholes and bumps can still be felt in the cabin (you can use 'comfort mode' to smoothen things out). As the speedometer climbs, the ride gets better. Highway comfort levels are excellent, and the Passat can absorb broken patches without a fuss.

In terms of handling, the Passat does an amazing job. Despite its length, the car feels nimble and eager to change direction with minimal body roll (especially in 'Sport' mode). The car's dynamics are sorted, and it exhibits very balanced behaviour. However, with its sheer size, weight and long wheelbase, the Passat is not what we would call a corner carver. Grip levels from the 215 mm Hankook Ventus Prime2 tyres are good and in our short drive, the car held its line through the curves smartly.

The EPS is light at slow speeds and dismisses city traffic with ease. It weighs up acceptably on the highway if you engage 'Sport' mode. Unfortunately, there isn't much feedback on offer. While the steering is direct, it's not the communicative type that enthusiasts crave for. The mass market will like it though. For what is an XL-sized sedan, the Passat is going to leave you surprised with its ease of driving. The light EPS, full frontal visibility, a torquey engine mated to a slick gearbox and the sorted ergonomics make it a breeze to drive in the city as well as on the highway. The only cause of concern is the huge turning radius of 5.85 meters. That is rather wide and as you would expect, taking U-turns in such a long car will require more 3-pointers than expected.

As far as braking is concerned, the Passat comes with disc brakes on all four wheels - ventilated discs at the front and solid ones at the rear. Braking capability is excellent and inspires confidence while stopping the car from high speeds. When we slammed on the brake pedal at triple digit speeds, the car had no problems stopping in a straight line. With the electronic parking brake engaged, just slot into D or shift to 1st gear (in the MT) and press the throttle to drive off - the parking brake disengages automatically. If the driver door is open, the handbrake will refuse to disengage till the driver depresses the brake pedal and disengages it manually. Further, the brakes have the convenient 'auto-hold' feature which means you don't have to keep the brake pedal pressed continuously when stationary (e.g. at a traffic signal).

Multi-link suspension at the rear:
Attachment 1704772

Check out the electrical connector on the adjustable damper:
Attachment 1720137

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

Other Points

• Available in five colours - Oryx White, Tungsten Silver, Deep Black, Black Oak Brown and Harvard Blue.

• Assembled at Aurangabad (Maharashtra).

• Got a '5-star safety rating' by the Euro NCAP :thumbs up.

• Fuel tank capacity of 66 litres with an engine known for its frugality means you have a healthy driving range.

• All storage spaces have either a felt lining or a rubberised base.

• There's a 12V socket located in the boot as well.

• With the keyfob, you can open/close all windows, fold the ORVMs and close the sunroof as well - typical of most Volkswagen cars.

• The battery is no longer located in the boot. It's back in the engine bay.

• The car's electronic differential lock (EDL) can be useful on tricky surfaces. It works together with ABS sensors. If one wheel loses grip and starts spinning, the ECU detects it and applies brake pressure to match its speed to the second, non-slipping wheel. It also directs the torque to the wheel with better traction, which is able to transfer more power.

• Whenever the car comes close to another vehicle or object, the park assist system gets activated and a display pops up on the touchscreen indicating the proximity of the object to the car. The feature can be turned off from the infotainment system.

• Service interval - 1 year or 15,000 km.

• Standard warranty of 2 years/unlimited km. Extended warranty for another 2 years available (and strongly recommended). 3 year paint warranty & 12 year anti-corrosion perforation warranty is standard.

• 2 year roadside assistance is standard. Owners can purchase extensions for another 1 or 2 years.

• Downside to the 'auto-hold' feature? Owners will be paying through their noses when the electric brake motors will need replacement 5-6 years down the line!

• The Highline variant comes with 'Park Assist' which aids the driver to steer the car into and out of parallel parking spots using only throttle and brake inputs. The system can be overridden by the driver at any time.

• As is the norm with all current generation VAG cars, a host of settings can be tweaked at the dealership level or using the VCDS software (related discussion here).

• Disclaimer: Volkswagen invited Team-BHP for the Passat test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Gannu_1 24th January 2018 15:51

10 Attachment(s)
The Smaller yet Significant Things

The driver-side ORVM dims automatically in conjunction with the IRVM to reduce glare from trailing headlights:
Attachment 1700893

LED puddle lamps (underneath the ORVMs) are really helpful in the dark:
Attachment 1700887

MID alerts the driver if the bonnet is left open. This is useful - most cars have ajar warnings for the doors & boot only:
Attachment 1700889

Oil temperature is displayed on the MID, which is a very nice add-on! Not many cars in this price bracket get this. Oil temperature readings are usually available only on serious performance cars (which the Passat isn't):
Attachment 1705201

The boot can accessed from the rear seat by folding the plate behind the armrest. It has a robust hinge mechanism. This can be useful for carrying long objects like golf clubs or skis:
Attachment 1700890

For the interior lighting, Volkswagen has switched from glaring red to a pleasing white backlight for all the switchgear:
Attachment 1700891

Mounting points for a roof rack - just in case you're lugging some extra luggage:
Attachment 1700892

Passat comes with factory-fitted tinted windows:
Attachment 1700894

TPMS valves & valve covers by Alligator Ventilfabrik GmbH:
Attachment 1700895

Sweet looking keyfob with boot release button in the middle:
Attachment 1700896

Aditya 24th January 2018 16:31

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives Section. Thanks for sharing!

V.Narayan 24th January 2018 16:54

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Very clearly a handsome stately looking car with a touch of subdued regalness to its looks and colours. It will appeal to many. Thank you for a detailed review.

GTO 24th January 2018 16:59

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Great review guys! Thanks for sharing.

I didn't expect it to, but the Passat left quite a positive impression on me after I took it out for a drive. This is a full-size luxury sedan and, as Ajmat said elsewhere, why would anyone buy an Audi over this (similar to A4 vs Jetta / Octavia). I think the Passat is an incredibly elegant car on the outside & inside, both. The build quality is SOLID - far more than I've experienced in any MQB car. Was also pleasantly surprised as to how aggressively the DSG is tuned; it was allowing me downshifts even at higher rpm levels. Liked the suspension and love the fact that it gets adjustable damping (although you can expect seriously expensive suspension jobs in the future).

I'd pick this over the Superb as the Skoda feels like a long limousine to me, it doesn't get the adjustable dampers & I'd much rather deal with VW dealers than Skoda's. Found the Passat "tighter" to drive than the limo too. I like the new Superb's styling, yet not as much as I was drooling over the VW's. On the other hand, if I were a chauffeur-driven owner, I'd pick the Camry Hybrid which IMHO still offers the best backseat experience.

All this doesn't make a difference though. Due to the lack of a "badge", its styling (which many will find boring) and the fact that the 'Superb' is better established in India than the 'Passat' (which has been a consistent failure), this car won't go too far. My Jetta-driving brother was very impressed with the Passat, but when I asked him if he'd upgrade to it, pat comes the reply = NO. If & when he upgrades, it'll be to the Audi / BMW / Mercedes family.

Still, one heck of a sedan :thumbs up. Loved it.

P.S. Friendly Mod Aditya also drove it, fell in love with it and was one of the few BHPians to vote for it in the Team-BHP COTY.

Sankar 24th January 2018 17:12

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Superb looks a lot better than the Passat and a better deal for the chauffeured. Passat and the new Virtus reminds me of cars of the dystopian future as seen in some hollywood movies, too subdued and almost boring.


Originally Posted by Gannu_1 (Post 4344786)
The Highline variant gets 17" London 10-spoke alloy wheels shod with 215/55 section Hankook Ventus Prime tyres. They are rated at 94W (W = maximum speed of 270 km/h). The Comfortline variant gets 16" Aragon alloys with 215/60 section tyres. While the alloys don't look boring, they aren't CNC machined and lack that shiny metallic appearance:
Attachment 1700914

Ouch! Those brake discs reminds me of the problem batch in the Polo and the Crysta.

Santoshbhat 24th January 2018 17:44

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Thanks for the fantastic and detailed review.

This seems to be an amazing package for the price. I have always loved understated VW designs and the Passat is no different. The interiors too look extremely classy with all those dark colours in there. Quality of materials too look to be very good from the pictures. One can easily become a fan of VW build quality.

Sadly this car falls in no man's land. At this price people in India either want a butch SUV or a premium brand. The Passat is the pick of the segment for me. But I don't think the sales charts will agree with me.

Zigor 24th January 2018 18:31

Re: Driven: Volkswagen Passat
Top-notch review - like that's a new thing for this portal :)

Simple Is Better.

I guess that's the philosophy for modern VW designs. The body cuts on Passat are classy with no extra decoration - with none of that over the top fashionista language that most carmakers happen to choose these days.

The only problem is the there are far better options available at this price range. Passat should only attract VW lovers or someone trying to avoid those flashy German products. Honestly, I'd still pick the Passat over anything else in the price range. I drive a Polo and love VW designs which are something familiar in an expected, finished form that I’m an absolute sucker for.

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