Published on July 28th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


Volkswagen Passat Trendline Review: Difficult To Beat At RM150K

Not too long ago, we compiled a short list of reasons why some B7 Passat owners were holding off on the B8.

While that article covered how some of our friends and family members felt about moving from the old Passat to the new one, this article covers our assessment of the new Passat, particularly the entry level Trendline model.

We picked up our unit with a full tank of petrol from Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia. In 6 days we covered about 1000km with the car which included a trip to the author’s hometown via the PLUS highway.

Let’s get a few of the basics out of the way first. The Passat B8 comes in three variants: the Trendline, the Comfortline and the Highline. The Highline is a completely different beast. It has a different engine, gearbox, interior trim and accessories. For that reason, it’s priced at over RM200,000.

The Trendline and Comfortline are the more mainstream models. They have revised versions of the 1.8-litre TSI engine and 7-speed DSG. We’re not sure what VPCM’s official position is, but the Comfortline feels like a direct replacement to the outgoing model. The equipment is either matched or upgraded in this vehicle, but the price is kept around the same (RM174K vs RM180K for the new one).

If you hurry and get the Trendline PLUS for the same price, you’ll have nicer, larger rims then these

The Trendline is a whole RM20,000 cheaper than the Comfortline. In fact, you can get the Trendline Plus (which has nicer rims) for just RM145,000 now. At that price, you have to really start asking what you’re missing out on.

So what kind of equipment do you lose out on for an RM35,000 saving?

Let’s start with the cosmetic things you’ll miss out on.

You have to give up the fine Vienna leather upholstery for some decent fabric seats. Not too bad so far.

The smaller (5 inch vs 6.5 inch) infotainment touch display is also not such a big deal since it functions the same.

Now for the gimmicks. These are nice to have, but you’ll probably forget about them after a year, and they’ll probably be a liability after a decade of use.

On the Comfortline, there’s a powered boot that can be opened with a kicking motion.

The self-parking features are lost too. Cruise control doesn’t make the cut either.

Now for the not so ignorable.

Halogen headlights.

In 2017, a D-segment car (or ANY sized car for that matter) with nothing but halogen bulbs at this price is really out of place.

But, they work. The Trendline’s halogens were surprisingly bright and the cornering lights are still present. Plug halogens are way cheaper to replace.

No paddle shifters.

The one thing the Passat (and most Volkswagens) do better than their rivals is drive well. Without paddle shifters, that performance aspect is a little compromised.

But, you still have a tip-tronic style gear shifter. So you can get into manual sequential mode. And with the DSG as smart and quick as it is, it’s better to just shove it into ‘S’ and let the computer do the thinking for you.

To be honest, there are only two absentees that we really longed for.

No reverse camera.

The B8 Passat is a large car. It’s longer and wider than its predecessor and shorter too. This can be a pain when you reversing. There are still parking sensors and the display does a decent job of showing you where the obstacles are. But a reverse camera, even something from the bottom of the VW Group parts bin would have been nice here.

No power-adjustable driver seat with massage and memory function.

You can imagine how awesome and useful this feature would be.

Final Verdict

So yes, RM35,000 sounds about right for the amount of stuff you’re missing out on. But think about this: you’re not missing out on performance, safety, or options.

The Trendline is still sold in 7 colour variations. The limited edition Trendline Plus has the 17” Istanbul rims. The TSI+DSG combo is still amazingly efficient and powerful. And you’re still protected by 6 airbags, ESC, ABS, and a 5 year manufacturer warranty.

In conclusion, the Passat Trendline has some solid fundamentals. You’re getting an extremely good package for the price. You’re getting one of the best driving D-segment vehicles and that in itself is a lot to think about.

Seriously, performance in the new Passat is no joke. Yes, on paper it looks like not much has changed under the hood, but you can’t ignore the fact that it weighs more than 100kg lighter than the outgoing model and has 20 more horses to play with. The compression ratio has changed too, so you know some major modifications have been made to the engine.

It’s also difficult to ignore the Passat’s build quality. Yes, it’s a more ergonomic cabin with softer touch points than the B7, but it’s still the same Volkswagen construction. Large slabs of high quality materials absolutely bolted down with precision. And the ride quality too, is something to behold. It’s super quiet, super comfy. Almost unbelieveably so.

Of course, as pointed out in our previous article, B7 Passat owners may not see the point in upgrading. But those coming the previous Golf TSI, Jetta or Polo Sedan might see the Passat Trendline as a very compelling package. In fact, if you’re coming from any Japanese, Korean or Malaysian make, a test drive of the Passat Trendline might show you just what you’ve been missing out on since you started driving.

Volkswagen Passat Trendline Specifications
Engine: Inline 4, 16 Valve, DOHC, TSI
Capacity: 1798 cc
Power: 178hp @ 5100 RPM
Torque: 250Nm @ 1250 RPM
Top Speed: 232km/h
Acceleration: 7.9 seconds

Selling Price: RM144,990


About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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