A demonstration drive immediately impressed with the Passat's very quiet and smooth ride, surprisingly lively performance, effective handling, spacious cabin and capacious boot. At the time, the discounted drive away price included 3 years' free service, making the car a very attractive proposition.
The car has been almost faultless in over 50,000kms of mixed city, winding hills roads and long distance trips with an overall petrol consumption of 7.2 ltr/100km and country runs below 6 ltr/100km. E10 petrol is accepted in the hand book and has mainly been used in lieu of more expensive 95 ULP. E10 is supposed to be less economical so the 7.2 average may be bettered.
Original equipment Continental tyres are good for about 40,000km and, surprisingly, are cheaper than other major brands; and they have won Australian tyre tests.
The engine/transmission combination is very smooth with barely detectable gear changes and strong overtaking acceleration, all the while being very quiet and economical.
The equipment level is surprisingly high for the base 132TSI model and includes a very neat cargo safety barrier that can be adjusted if the rear seats are folded down, fully illuminated controls at night, effective Bluetooth connection, abridged sat-nav guidance between the speedo and tacho, USB, CD and RCA inputs to the 10 speaker entertainment system, 2 programmable speed alerts, full size alloy spare, individual controls for air conditioning including in the back seat, numerous systems being adjustable, electrically adjustable driver's seat, height adjustable passenger seat, 9 air bags, etc, etc.
Fit and finish of the car is high grade and only just below an Audi A4 but at a much lower cost. Triple door weather seals obviously work as wind noise is very low and full carpeting (including the spare wheel well) contribute to the overall quiet.
It's a pity the heated rear view windows don't fold and that 'free' sat-nav updates are so difficult that local VW dealers and a computer expert cannot download them. Extendable sun visors would also be an improvement for side low sun situations and RHD stalks would be good.
The Passat is the best out of 60 cars we have owned ranging from a Fiat 500 to a Jaguar XJ12.
NOTE: As a photo was not provided, we have used an official press photo for this story.