Published on January 13th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez2
Volkswagen’s NEW Passat test driven with an open mind
Ok people, we all know about the many issues surrounding the Volkswagen brand globally and also here in Malaysia. Yes, we have all heard about the many 1.4L and 1.2L TSI engine issues/failures, the hundreds of 7-speed DSG breakdowns and the familiar ‘Christmas’ lights on the instrument cluster just as you start driving away.
Like Samsung and their exploding phones and washing machines, Volkswagen has to continue to run their business and so they have looked closely at all the issues mentioned above and set their engineers to task to rectify and address all issues beyond their call of duty or take a walk.
Why? Well it has to be business as usual as the VW Group has millions of people directly and indirectly involved in the Volkswagen business and they all need to continue working and feeding their needs and families.
Now comes a brand new Volkswagen Passat. The 8th generation model. For Malaysians, we have only seen the 6th and 7th generation.
This new Passat comes with a long list of new technology features, safety features, drive equipment and comfort features that will NORMALLY put nearly all of its competitors under a shade of worry. However, with the Volkswagen brand still reeling from its worrying past, no competitor is the least worried, not even Audi who has the all new A4 having almost the same length of equipment and features mentioned at a much higher selling price of RM249,800.00 (more than 90 units have been sold since its launch and this Passat only a very small fraction to date due to the brand image and not the product). The all new Passat TSI 380 we are test driving sells for RM199,000.00.
The Passat – including its derivatives is the most successful car of the brand and the Group with over 1.1 million units produced.
This Passat is roomier with its wheelbase lengthened by 79 mm to 2,791 mm. The front wheels were shifted 29 mm towards the front bumper, and the rear wheels 17 mm towards the rear bumper (the occupant cell was lengthened by 33 mm). The result: shorter body overhangs (67 mm less at front, 13 mm less at rear). At the same time, the Passat was made 14 mm lower (1,456 mm) and 12 mm wider (1,832 mm).
Volkswagen developed an entirely new lighting design for the eighth-generation Passat. The car is being offered with halogen and LED headlights.
With this Passat, the cargo capacity has been increased by 21 to 586 litres.
The Passat sets new standards with an unladen weight that has been reduced by up to 85 kg and its fuel economy figures that have been improved by up to 20%.
With this Passat, Volkswagen is launching an instrument cluster that has been designed as a full interactive display: the Active Info Display. All instruments are implemented virtually via software. Only the icon lights at the lower border of the display are still implemented in hardware. Navigation information can be shown in 2D or 3D views on a 12.3-inch display. Its resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels enables extremely precise, high-quality graphics and interactive display of all details. Take the Navigation mode, for instance: Here the speedometer and tachometer are relocated to the sides in order to create more space for the map. Information on driving, navigation and assistance functions can be integrated into the graphic areas of the speedometer and tachometer as needed.
Park Assist enables semi-automatic parking in parking spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. It can also back the car out of parallel parking spaces.
Progressive steering lets the Passat driver steer with smaller steering wheel inputs and fewer turns of the steering wheel to achieve a desired bend radius in turning. This means that the driver does not have to reach over the steering wheel as much in tight turns. In the new Passat, progressive steering is being offered in combination with a sport chassis or dynamic chassis control (DCC). With progressive steering, it takes 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to reach the end position; without the optional system it is 2.75 turns. Progressive steering enables more precise and relaxed driving in the middle steering angles up to high speeds.
Driving this new Passat
So how does this new Passat feel on the road? Well, it actually feels more like the previous Passat CC in its dynamics, with firm, secure road handling even in comfort mode. It has very little noise intruding the cabin at speeds between 110-140km/h. The pickup, mid-range acceleration and top speed feel almost like a current Golf GTI but with some reservations due to its added weight and larger rear end. In ‘sports’ mode, the engine works very well with the 6-speed DSG with no hesitation. You can chase up to the more expensive competition from Germany (Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class) and keep up with the BMW around corners and even better the C-Class at times. Its ‘cousin’ the Audi A4 has a few more bells in its arsenal but this Passat at below RM200k carries enough equipment and drive feel to sit side by side. All that is left is badge snobbery.
This all-new Passat comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty……this is a full VW factory warranty for the complete 60 months of ownership.
Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI Specifications
Engine: 4-Cylinder Twincharged
Power: 220bhp @ 4500-6200rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 1500-4400rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Direct Shift (DSG)
Top speed: 246km/h
Price: From RM198,990.00