I've been dying to test the Passat. Last week I went to VW Cars Jln Pinang, they said demo car only available in January. So today i decided to head on to VW Wearnes Bangsar which shares the same office as Volkswagen Malaysia HQ. They have the Passat, GTi and Toureg. Lets get on to business.
In my opinion, the Passat has a very distictive front and side profile. I would say a kind of conti meets Japanese look. The back however is very Japanese. I think it is the current continental design cue. personally i dont quite fancy the back but i dont know it might grow into you sort of thing. need a little getting used to i suppose.
The interior on the other hand is very nice. It is spacious for both front and rear passengers. The seats are plush, wide and very comfortable.
the controls are all within reach and the dash is informative and practical. A typical VW/Audi trait. It also has loads of storage space: 2 storage trays on the dash, storage bay on driver side, a big storage under the armrest, back seat armrest, side door storage and a presentable glovebox. the only thing missing is perhaps a storage tray underneath the seats.
The boot is also humungous. it can easily accomodate two golf sets and a suitcase to boot.
The upholstery comes in two trims; beige and black. personally i prefer black. The walnut panel on the dash also adds to the luxury of the interior (unlike the cheap looking wood panel you would find in Hondas and toyotas) and goes well with beige. but i personally prefer if they would have a brushed aluminum panel which goes well with the black interior and adds to the sportiness of the car.
There is also a 12 volt socket on the centre console at the rear and also i was told, in the trunk as well.
The back seats can be folded and also lockable as well. The rear arm rest is huge with two cup holders incorporated into it. There's also a sunglases compartment near the rear view mirror.
One thing that makes this car different from all the other marques are the little small things that comes in the package. The umbrella storage is well thought of.
The 2 zone climatronic airconditioning is also a plus point although a lot of other makes are going into that.
The front loading 6 CD changer is also a plus. I didnt really have the chance to test the CD audio, but FM radio sounds good. Its not Bose but i can live with it. The only bummer is it doesnt come with iPod connectivity. I was told that if you realy want it, they can provide the cable for an extra RM700. I'd rather use headphones, thank you.
The Bi-xenon headlights are cool, coupled with washer/wiper system and dynamic cornering light. Automatic turning light and the "coming home, leaving home" illumination are also thoughtful features incorporated in the car.
The car also comes with powered rear sunblinds and also if im not mistaken manual sunblind for rear passengers. The car is also equipped with double sunvisors with illuminated mirrors for both driver and front passenger.
The electronic front seats, i was told, also have massage function. i didnt tried it out but i guess it would be helpful during the long festive drives.
Sitting on the driver's seat gives you a nice unrestrictive commanding view of the road ahead. It is very comfortable and the driver's seat is equipped with electronic controls with memory. Starting the engine is via press and drive start function. Press the bakes and release the parking brake via the parking brake button.
The engine is a typical 2.0TFSI found in the Audi A4 and the VW GTi. It purrs during start up but roars when pressed. However, I must admit that the response is not as punchy as the A4 or the GTi. Perhaps because the Passat weighs more that the two. There is also a notable lag in transmission which i didnt notice in the A4. although not as laggy as the BMW 325, one would notice it. If you want response drive it in sports mode. Perhaps a DSG transmission would address the issue?
I did ask wether there are any Passats with DSG. Unfortunately the only Passat fitted with DSG is the TDi version which will not be coming to our shores.
Handling was excellent. Although the active steering does feel a
bit light but i have no qualms about that. I took the car on the windy
roads near Sri Perdana and the car handles brilliantly. another cool
feature is the auto hold function which i tested o a slope on jalan
maarof. it needs a little getting used to but its the little thing that
makes like easier for you. We were joking that if one were to drive the
car, after sometime you would forget how to drive a manual car.
While the ride on the driver's seat is impressive, the same cant be said for the rear passenger. I felt that the suspension is a bit too firm for the back passenger. Not as stiff as the A4 but one can feel that it is kind of hard. Perhaps it was the 17" wheels. A more comfy suspension (at the back especially) would be perfect.
I would say it was a satisfying test and the passat is THE mid sized family car. It is user friendly and im sure you'll get pampered by it. The only downside (for me personally) is the back profile, the laggy transmission and the stiff ride for the rear passenger. Other than that all is perfect.
for RM230,000 it is a bit too out of the league for most people. I
suppose if VW could lower the price to the reigon of RM 200k on the
road WITH insurance, im sure a lot of people would be interested
especially those currently eyeing the 2.4 Camry and Accord, and also
the Volvo S40/V50/S60. Im sure they can afford to do that if and when
they decide to have CKD units.
But if the budget is within your range and you are looking for a nice continental car which will not cast a bomb, i would highly recommend it.
for me its a toss between the Passat and the A4.
This post was first published on Club Audi Malaysia Forum