Friday, October 7, 2016

The Passat may be passe'

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL
  • ENGINE: 1.8-liter turbocharged I-4 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 170 hp @ 6,200 rpm/184 lb.-ft. @ 1,500 rpm  
  • WHEELBASE: 110.4 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.9 x 72.2 x 58.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P235/45R18 
  • CARGO: 15.9 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/38 mpg highway/23.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,263 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion 
  • STICKER: $35,090 (includes $820 delivery) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Volkswagen Passat is a very nice mid-size sedan with few outstanding features, and at a premium price. 

            I found it hard to be enthusiastic about the Volkswagen Passat. It has all the attributes of a nice mid-size sedan. It is quiet at speed, except for some tire noise on concrete and worse road surfaces. It has good power from its 1.8-liter turbocharged four, although the engine is buzzy on acceleration. Handling is very good thanks to a front suspension that features damper struts with robust lower control arms, coil springs and an anti-roll bar; and a four-link independent rear suspension with telescopic shocks and an anti-roll bar. And it has a comfortable ride.
            I think it’s the styling that doesn’t turn me on. While it has a new front and rear design with a four-bar chrome grille, I still think it’s bland. There are no exciting lines. In a sense it reminds me of my ’01 Buick. It does the job well, but look at it took long and you might fall asleep. There is a horizontal character line that extends from the head- to tail lamp, but there is no panache.
            Front seats are very comfortable with good side support for the back and lower back. The support isn’t enough for racing, but it’s fine for spirited driving. 
            Rear seats, while nominally for three, really hold two passengers, albeit with very good legroom. The outboard seats are similar to the fronts with good side support and are heated. There’s also good rear seat visibility with wide windows in the doors. In addition, the rear seats have their own HVAC controls and a USB outlet. The pull-down armrest has a pair of cup holders and a small console.
            The driver sits behind a flat-bottomed steering wheel with all the controls. The Passat is equipped with a push button start and stop. The exterior mirrors fold in when the doors are locked. 
            There’s a clear instrument panel with a tachometer, information panel, and a speedometer. The infotainment screen is clear, and the navigation system is easy to program after a short learning curve. The audio system has the standard assortment of choices. We chose SXM and iPod.
            Interior storage consists of a nice fold-out cubby by the driver’s left knee with change slots; a cubby at the base of the center stack with outlets for 12-volt, USB and AUX; two cup holders and a small cubby to the rear of them. There’s a deep center console/arm rest with another 12-volt outlet. In addition, there is room for water bottles in all four doors. Four assist handles aid in entry and egress.
            As a mid-size, you need a good trunk, and the Passat doesn’t disappoint with 15.9 useful cubic feet. The rear seat backs also fold to increase trunk capacity,, with the releases in the trunk.
            With the rear seats folded, it is possible to fit a small- to medium-sized dog crate for animal transportation. Our tester had leather seating surfaces which would be fairly easy to clean in the event of accidents. There are also carpeted floor mats. 
            While our Passat had no options, it still came with a healthy $35,090 sticker price, which to me was exorbitant, maybe $7,000 over a reasonable price for the car. 
(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

No comments: