I’ve owned my Passat for about 2 months now and overall I am very happy with it. Coming from a Commodore, The Passat feels like a step up, even though it’s the entry level 118TSI Spec, It has an impressive standard equipment list, in fact the car feels anything but standard. The door’s give a solid thud when you close them, the cabin is well insulated from the outside world and the ambient lighting which bathes the interior in a warm red glow makes you feel like you’re sitting in something rather special. This all adds up to give the car a quality feel.
The car has lots of convenient features that aim to make your life that little bit easier, and safer, and I can report that they do. When you approach the car at night, puddle lamps under the wing mirrors light up the path surrounding the car. It also has some clever mirrors, the interior and exterior mirrors automatically dim when you’re driving along at night time if the car behind you has its headlights out of alignment or are on high beam. The wipers come on automatically when it rains and there’s a Driver Fatigue detection system, which alerts you if you show signs of falling asleep at the wheel, Thankfully I haven’t had to use that feature.
I have only ever owned Commodores, and going from the humble Commodore to the Passat is, well, a bit of a different choice according to some of my family members. The Commodore is rear wheel drive while the Passat sends it’s power to the front wheels, the Commodore is powered by a V6, mated to a 6-Speed Single Clutch Auto, while The Passat is powered by a 1.8 Turbo Four matted to a 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto (DSG). I thought this would feel strange, and while it doesn’t feel quite as dynamic as the rear-drive Commodore, The Passat does a good job of hiding its front wheel drive skeleton. It feels capable on winding roads and easily cruises up and down the freeway. Even though it only has 1.8 Turbo Four with 118KW of power, the car feels punchy, put your foot down and the car moves effortlessly. It really is an excellent engine-gearbox combination, I would even go as far to say it feels more lively than the Commodore.
The Passat also has a nice deep sound to its engine lower in the rev range. As you get higher in the rev range, you get the subtle turbo whistle which makes the car feel very sporty. It’s a pleasure to drive either way.
Some of you won’t agree, but I think the 7-Speed DSG gearbox is excellent, although, at slow speeds or in stop-start traffic, it can be a little awkward, however, take the car on a highway or put the DSG into sport mode and you get seamless gear changes with no interruption to power.
It’s not all good news though, In the two months I’ve owned the car, there have been some issues, the RNS510 Infotainment system is a little glitchy and the system lacks traffic alerts, surprising considering my previous car which was fitted with Holden iQ had lifetime traffic alerts at no additional charge.
The Passat’s interior is a nice place to sit, however there are a couple of interior trim pieces that are rattling, VW have already had the car back once and fix the interior trim rattles, but other rattles have started to develop which VW again have said they will fix at the next service.
Even though I have had a couple of teething problems, The Passat is an overall quality car and I am very happy with it. I will definitely buy another when the time comes to sell this one.
I bought the Passat because I wanted something that was economical to run and had similar equipment to the Commodore and the Passat delivers, I would recommend anyone wanting to trade there Commodore or Falcon to at least test drive the Passat. It won’t dissapoint.