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Owner Review

2010 Volkswagen Passat R36 review

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Dear wife,

I have bought a family car. As we discussed, it is a sensible and mature car. The VW Passat luxury wagon has an auto box that makes it easy to drive, and it has memory seats with heating, and has active lamps. And I got it for the budget of $25k, as requested...

Thats how the conversation goes, people. The wife says, "Okay, good job!"

Little does she know that this is VW's most powerful naturally aspirated engine to date.

The journey of taking the kids to school, or the dash to the Post Office, is simple as pie; put it in drive and you're good to go - duties are done.

The R36 is a funny thing. You start finding reasons to go the long way to your destination, even if the sat nav nags at you about an alternate route being confirmed. If the occasion ever arises (and it does) and you feel a worthy opponent needs to be told; a quick flick of the paddles drops a gear into Sport mode and it's on like Donkey Kong. The bellow of a half-cut banshee comes to life from the tightly-wound 6-cylinder, the dual clutch changes faster than a middle eastern pot snake and it's over; total and utter annihilation.

But back to Miss Daisy.

Lets live in the moment. This car can do everything you need and will do it well - not brilliant, but well. Ten years on and a lot has progressed since then, with the Passat sharing quite similar traits from its big cousin, the RS4. Yes, she gets thirsty but if you decide poaching small saloons (with an SS stamped on the back) is your thing, well you brought on the fuel consumption yourself.

Running up and down the freeway is done with ease. The seats are comfy, while the suspension is stiff but firm.

Maintaining the beast; look, pay the Pied Piper. Simple. You want results from this girl, and you want her to deliver, you need to take care of her and if you skimp on fuel, well you will be chasing your butt from filters to injectors.

The beauty of this car, moreso the wagon, is that it hides in plain sight. No massive wings and no massive bright fluro calipers; it sits and observes and just does it with ease and with no complaints. It does it's chores as asked.

The R36 is armed with big brakes, deep bucket seats, firm suspension, wide rubber, climate control and the usual high-end VW standard kit. Lastly, it sounds cranky AF if disturbed - and it truly delivers.

The power being delivered in a 40:60 split ensures that the traction is on your side. Be smart and don't switch traction off, but if you feel you have skills, it will quite happily let you know the PlayStation is where you belong. For some unknown reason, the VW boffins got excited and said, "Lets put launch control in now" and as good as this sounds, I like the transmission in one piece, and not like an 80's puzzle.

VW really did a fine job in building this tough. I personally lug three kids around plus a fur baby. Sure, it is a workhorse, but let her out of the paddock and she always brings home the bacon. If you're chasing something comfortable, fast and that does the Sunday Bunnings run, this is something to consider.

Overall, I only wish VW brought back something similar with the "wolf in sheep's clothing" design in mind.

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