In our new feature ‘A week with the’ we drive a popular luxury car for eight days. Unlike our test drive runs we do not take it out of the city during the wee hours of the day but instead use it as our regular car, driving it to office, meetings, shopping, movies and so forth. This gives us a comprehensive understanding of how the car takes on Mumbai, be it the traffic, bumpy roads, tight parking spots and the rare sprints on the sealink or the highway.
We better way to start this feature than with a quintessential German automobile the 2017 Volkswagen Passat. After driving it for a week here are five things that impressed me –
Power dressing that stands out – Volkswagen gave the 8th generation model a thorough styling update replacing the previous-generation Passat’s curvy and round design elements with much more attractive sharp, straight lines. However, it has retained the elegantly understated look from the old Passat, with styling cues that make it instantly recognizable as a Volkswagen. The fascia is dominated by the beautifully shaped three-slat grille which moulds across the entire front end with the sleek-looking headlights integrated into the design. A chrome strip on top runs edge to edge while the thin DRLs contouring the bottom of the headlamps augment the simple yet classy frontend of the car. The strong and prominent shoulder line extending from the front fender to the taillights is the most eye-catching feature of the car’s profile. The tail section has a clean, minimalist look with thin tail lights and a big VW badge in the centre.
Easy to drive – The 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine in the Passat is mated to a six-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG). The dual-clutch transmission is extremely quick and smooth helping the engine feel peppier than the average 2.0-litre diesel unit. The steering-mounted paddle shifters in the manual mode add to the sportiness; however, it doesn’t mess with Passat’s quintessential mid-size executive sedan character. When in auto, the gearbox is simply fantastic in reading the throttle input and changes gears almost telepathically. There were rarely any moments during the entire time with the car when it felt like it was in the wrong gear.
Smart technology – The Passat features a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a simple and very intuitive interface. In addition to usual USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity, it also comes with app-connect feature that helps connect with your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Google Android Auto, depending on your phone’s OS. The touchscreen is flanked by a set of handy buttons for easy access to frequently used functions, adding to the functionality and usability of the system. It also has a proximity sensor that displays commands on the screen when it senses a hand reaching for it. What makes the infotainment system even more pleasing to the eye is the rich and crisp resolution of its display.
Why should only luxury cars have all the fun – The Volkswagen Passat comes with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which along with five different driving modes can not only tweak the response of the gearbox but also alter the suspension set-up – a segment first. The system constantly adjusts the suspension characteristics to match the road surface and the driving conditions. Along with delivering excellent high-speed stability and comfort, the Passat tackles the road imperfections and smaller potholes with ease, giving the sensation of floating over bad roads. Even in the most dynamic mode, the suspension set-up inclines towards offering a supple and comfortable ride.
Safety first – In terms of safety features, the Volkswagen Passat comes packed to the rafters. It is fitted with 9 airbags to provide optimum protection to the driver and passengers. The new Passat also gets top-notch equipment like semi-auto park assist and a 360-degree view camera, that comes in handy while trying to park the car in tight spaces. Additionally, Volkswagen has given the Passat more safety features as standard equipment that include hill start assist and auto-hold function, tyre pressure monitoring system, ABS and electronic stability control, and anti-slip regulator.
|Engine||Diesel - 1968 cc, 4 cylinder|
|Top speed||220 km/hr|
|City fuel efficiency||6.5 kmpl|
|Highway fuel efficiency||8.5 kmpl|
|Safety||ABS, EBD, ESP, EBA, ASR / Traction Control|
|Price, ex-showroom (Mumbai)||Rs 40 lakh|