We welcome a new long term test model to the crankandpiston fold: the Volkswagen Passat.[Not a valid template]
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It wasn’t until I jumped into our new long-term Volkswagen Passat that I realised that legendary American guitar manufacturer Fender also does car stereo systems. But now I know, and our new Passat has one of them fitted. And for this guitar-playing rock fan, it’s a pretty darn good way to start off a relationship.
The Passat replaces our old Golf GTI, which was universally acclaimed by all here at crankandpiston.com, to the point where this writer has bought one and another member of the team is seriously considering doing the same. So the Passat has quite a tough act to follow. To be fair though, it’s a very different kettle of fish to the Golf, and has very different priorities. Where the Golf focused on a balance of performance and comfort, the Passat is much more geared towards the latter.
Ours is a US-spec car, with Candy White paint, and comes with a five-cylinder 2.5-litre engine, which has 170bhp and drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not a bad lump, providing good pull and a sound that’s more layered and interesting than you’d get in, for example, a 2.0-litre turbo. After getting used to the excellent DSG found in the GTI, and in the previous mk7 Golf we ran earlier this year, the auto ‘box feels a bit sluggish, but it does a decent job for what it is, and again, superfast changes aren’t really a priority in this car.
Looks-wise, the Passat is fairly conservative, reflecting Volkswagen’s current desire to focus on selling as many cars globally as possible and transition to becoming the world’s largest manufacturer. You don’t want crazy, out there designs alienating customers, so the Passat is smart without pushing too many boundaries. It’s well equipped though – we’ve got a sunroof, leather and Alcantara electric seats and the usual excellent build quality that we tend to accept as a given when it comes to VW.
Other mod-cons include keyless entry by stroking a sensor on the door handle, keyless start via a button on the transmission tunnel and a rear view camera, which is useful. No beeping parking sensors though – a gadget I’ve become rather accustomed to and miss when they’re not alerting me to a bollard or how close I am to the car in front when parking. That Fender sound system has a Bluetooth system built in, so I can stream tunes from my phone wirelessly, but if anyone that borrows the car doesn’t have such smartphone tech, they can also plug in an iPod through an interface cable.
I’ve already settled nicely into the Passat, the only issue so far being the terrible weather in Dubai that has sullied the nice paintwork and necessitated several trips to get it cleaned. Here’s hoping it stays a bit more sparkling over the next three months.
|Inline 5-cyl / 2480cc
|170hp @ 5700rpm
|177lb ft @ 4250rpm
|Six-speed tiptronic transmission
|McPherson struts with lower wishbones / anti-roll bars front and rear
|Four-link suspension with separate spring and shock absorber arrangement / anti-roll bars front and rear
|Disc brakes front and rear / front discs ventilated / ABS / EBPD / brake assist system / electromechanical parking brake
|18in Bristol alloys front and rear
|235/45 R18 front and rear