Next up in the three vehicle VW spread is the Passat, the changeover from the Jetta taking place in Ipoh. Jumping in from the latter, the shift in presentation with the seventh-generation B7, as its designated, was distinct.
The interior, as befits the car’s D-segment executive sedan status, is naturally the most polished of the three. The material and trim ups the luxury level a fair bit, with brushed aluminium inserts for the centre console and Iridium deco inserts on the dash and doors helping things along, but there’s no denying that it’s all accomplished in VW fashion, presented more matter of fact – and very cleanly so – than with flair and elan. Indeed, there’s nothing ostentatious about all that familiarity, which is undoubtedly in line with how the suits, which are the target market, like it.
Full story after the jump.
Cabin kit on this one includes a RCD 510 6.5-inch touchscreen, six-disc CD changer and eight speaker audio system, black leather Vienna upholstery, three-spoke leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, a press and drive comfort start function and electric-adjustment front seats.
Also to be found are an analogue clock, cruise control, electric parking brake with auto-hold function and hill-hold control, PDC for the front and rear, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a rest assist drowsiness detection system, which is seen for the first time in the Passat.
As expected, build quality and finish is tight for the German-assembled car, though it is when you go through it and the Jetta’s interior on a comparison basis that you find the latter’s fitment a little bit less rounded. Which is not to say that Pablo cannot build a car as well as Hans, of course.
The exterior follows the process – the facelift from B6 to B7 has brought about a slight change in dimensions (it’s 4 mm longer, 2 mm lower and has a 2 mm longer wheelbase than the older car), but looks-wise retains the sturdy sensibility expected of it. I’m not quite sure about the back, especially when viewed dead-on centre; the plainness needs something to dress it up, at least to me it does.
So, nothing too dramatic with this one, because there’s the Passat CC to take care of those looking for more splashes of dash and flash. On the item list are bi-Xenons with integrated LED daytime running lights, LED-equipped tail lamps, multi-spoke Minneapolis 17-inch alloys and 235/45 profile rubbers, six airbags and the usual host of three-letter acronym electronic driver aids. Ten exterior colours abound, three solid, four metallic and three pearl effect shades making up the complement.
The 1.8 TSI turbocharged engine on the RM184,888 offering has 160 PS at 5,000 to 6,200 rpm and 250 Nm from 1,500 to 4,200 rpm for output numbers, and the block is mated to a seven-speed DSG box. Performance figures are a 0-100 km/h time of 8.5 seconds for the 1,517 kg vehicle, and it gets all the way up to 220 km/h.
From a drive performance viewpoint, civilised would best describe the Passat. The output numbers are the same as that of the Jetta, but the tune coming off the 1.8 litre mill is aimed squarely at linearity and progression rather than punch. It isn’t bereft of heft, and is rapid enough getting to highway cruising speeds and shuffling along at even higher ones, but it’s all tinged with a definite modicum of restraint getting there, not just from the midband up.
So, you go along in generally unhurried fashion, as you should. In urban use, for the exec crawling his way to and fro work through morning and evening traffic, with the occasional mild sprint when the road opens up, it’s simply dandy. And on long haul runs, the strong cruiser element in it makes it the most winsome of the trio for the job.
Much of the appeal of the last comes from the ride, which plays ably to the workings of the powertrain. The honour of having the softest take of the trio in terms of ride comfort goes to it, and not the Cross Touran, which, as it turned out, offered the firmest take on things.
The Passat’s suspension is still very much anchored in ‘Continental’ fashion, but there’s less edge to the nuggets of information from the chassis and feedback coming off the rack compared to the Jetta. Most importantly, you perish any thought of doing the dirty with it in the twisty bits, such is how its character is – I simply didn’t bother.
Still, based on what I can remember of it, it’s firmer than that of the Peugeot 508 in its standard MacPherson strut layout – it’d certainly be interesting to toss both up along with something like the new EcoBoost-equipped Ford Mondeo to see what comes about. There’s a thought, then, eh?
In all, the entire direction of the Passat’s presentation falls in line with what’s expected of a car working this particular route. Sturdy and dependable, in a no-nonsense manner, the Passat is the strong and silent type, the one who gets the job done every time, with nary a peep or hint of fuss. The German answer to the likes of the Camry? Absolutely.