Cars - Volkswagen

Road tests and reviews of the latest Volkswagen models available in South Africa

2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI

2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI

By Franky Johnson

From the front, the new Passat is identified by a new radiator grille with four chrome bars which bend inward towards the headlights in a trapezoidal shape. The lower most chrome bar of the grille is continued into the headlights.

From the rear the cab has a strong inward sweep, and at the bottom it transitions into the wide, flared shoulder section. The rear lights are considerably wider and leaner, while the new Passat has a larger boot lid surface, and a distinctive crease beneath the rear lights.

The side view shows that the new Passat has larger 10-spoke alloy wheels, which on the press vehicle was shod with 215/55R17 Pirellis, and thus extend out further, enabling the car’s overhangs to be significantly shortened.

The new Passat is two millimetres shorter than the previous model, while the wheelbase is 79 mm longer making the overhangs significantly shorter. It’s also 14 mm lower and 12 mm wider. The passenger compartment’s shift to the rear and the elongated appearance of the bonnet re-enforces the modern look.

However, although the exterior dimensions are actually marginally smaller than before, interior space has been improved, offering more leg- and head-room, as well as more luggage space.

Two trim levels are offered: Comfortline and Highline but it’s the latter equipped with the DSG automatic transmission that we feature in these road impressions.

Moving inside the central design element of the dashboard is a functional yet decorative innovative air vent that extends across the entire width of the interior, and the centrally mounted analogue clock.

The new Passat comes with a high level of standard features with highlights including Multi-Collision Braking System, Fatigue Detection, Park Distance Control front and rear, LED taillights, full leather upholstery, multifunction leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, three-zone Climatronic air-conditioner, electric parking brake with auto hold function, and fold-in exterior mirrors. The press vehicle came fitted with a string of options which included items such as a sunroof, keyless access, park assist, auto boot close, Pro-navigation with a fully configurable interactive 31 cm TFT active info display and electric driver’s seat.

Interior space is quite generous, with ample leg, head and shoulder room both back and front. The front bucket seats are well shaped, very comfortable and the driver’s seat is fully adjustable making it easy to find a suitable driving position.

The boot at 479 litres is enormous – more than enough to swallow the family luggage when on the annual holiday, but if more space is required, the rear seatback splits in a 60/40 ratio and can be folded down. Oddment storage is provided for with four cup-holders, front door pockets, a lidded box on the console and a fair sized cubby.

Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, six airbags, and the new Passat was awarded the maximum rating of five stars in the Euro NCAP ratings.

The Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSi Highline DSG is powered by the BlueMotion Technology 1 798 cc petrol engine making 132 kW at 5 100 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 1 250 rpm with drive to the front wheels through VWs 7-speed DSG transmission. It also features VWs start / stop and Brake Energy Recuperation systems.

In performance tests, with the autobox in Sport mode and holding the revs right up to the 6 800 rpm red line, the Passat 1.8 TSi Highline DSG covered the 0 to 100 km/h dash in eight seconds after two gear-changes with top speed given as 232 km/h. The only negative with the automatic is that in quick starts there is a bit of turbo lag between the time you floor the accelerator to when the car takes off, but this is not noticeable in Sport mode.

Volkswagen claim a petrol consumption figure of 5.8 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle, which proved to be somewhat optimistic as the trip computer gave me a reading of 7.8 lt/100 km. The tank holds a useful 66 litres.

Seated inside the car, there’s no doubt that the Passat has taken a large step up market with a more luxurious interior and higher quality fittings , and a more luxurious ambience. The cabin is well insulated with just a bit of tyre noise coming through on concrete road surfaces

On the high way, the Volkswagen Passat is impressively quiet and comfortable, effectively ironing out bumps large and small, while in the corners it displays very good grip. The steering is reasonably precise, but as in most electric systems there’s not much feedback from the road.

The 1.8-litre engine is quick and smooth and the DSG transmission is outstanding, providing impressively quick downshifts in freeway passing situations. For a sportier drive, selecting sport mode and manual gear changing using the paddles behind the steering wheel, converts it into a pleasant sporting saloon. Travelling at a steady 120 in 7th gear the motor spins at 2 400 rpm and at just 3 200 rpm at the 160 mark.

In A Nutshell

The Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSi Highline DSG is a well specked mid-luxury saloon, economical to run and with a relaxed atmosphere for both town and country driving. The basic price without the options is R457 500 which includes a 3 year/ 120 000 km manufacturer warranty, 5 year / 100 000 km Automotion Maintenance Plan with service intervals every 15 000 km.

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr