The eighth generation of the Volkswagen Passat mid-sized sedan and wagon, coded as the B8 series, arrived in Australia late in 2015. We have just spent a couple of weeks living with a Passat 132TSI station wagon in Comfortline format, and have come away impressed with its practicality and ease of use.
New Passat uses the Volkswagen MQB platform which we have already experienced in several others in the latest VW range. The platform reduces weight and permits for a large number of vehicles to be built at the same factory. This reduces costs and VW Australia has been able to trim Passat prices by up to $4000.
Our test car had the $3500 Luxury Package with a huge panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and daytime running lights, ambient interior lighting, and folding door mirrors.
Volkswagen Passat has a modest, timeless look of the sort that has appealed to VW owners for generations. The slim full-width three-bar grille stretches all the way to the headlights. There’s plenty of shiny surfaces on the grille and the large central badge leaves people in no doubt you’re driving a VW.
The interior has a sporting look to the instrument binnacle and an air vent that stretches across the full width of the dash makes a real styling statement.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The code ‘TSI’ in VW-speak indicates a turbo-petrol unit. The ‘132’ means it produces up to 132 kW of power from its 1.8 litres. It’s a significantly upgraded version of the previous 118TSI unit. Top torque remains at 250 Nm as in the old engine but now comes in 250 rpm lower than before, being on tap from an impressively low 1250 rpm.
A turbo-diesel Passat 140TDI, with torque of 400 Nm, is also offered. This is not the EA189 unit which is the subject of the emissions cheating scandal. Rather, it’s the newer EA288 unit, that we are assured complies with Euro 6 standards at all times.
Both engines are mated to DSG dual-clutch transmissions, seven-speed with the 132TSI and six-speed with the 140TDI. Drive is through the front wheels, a Passat Alltrack AWD will be added to the range in February, we have been invited to the media launch and will report on it immediately afterwards.
All Passats have App-Connect USB interface (Apple and Android); satellite navigation; and Bluetooth connectivity. The 132TSI uses the Discover Media system and displays on a 6.5-inch colour touch, the Discover Pro in the Customline and Highline has additional features on an 8.0-inch screen.
The latest Passat safety features include nine airbags; enhanced ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist and auto hold; ESP with traction control; rear view camera with multi-angle views; and IsoFix child seat anchors on the outer rear seats.
The use of a driver fatigue detection system is important because fewer and fewer drivers are paying attention to what they’re doing these days.
Standard in the Comfortline and Highline models, (an $1800 option in the Driver Assistant Package in the 132TSI) are Adaptive Cruise Control with stop/start; Front Assist with City Emergency Braking; Lane Assist; Side Assist; and Rear Traffic Alert.
Engine performance is very good and turbo lag has been kept to a reasonable level. There’s the usual VW DSG slow-response at very slow speeds, something that we thought would have been sorted out after all these years.
Fuel consumption is impressively low for a big petrol unit. About five to six litres per hundred kilometres in motorway cruising. This climbs to seven to ten litres around town.
The interior is spacious with a surprising amount of rear seat legroom, almost putting the Passat into the limo class.
There’s 650 litres of luggage space in the sedan in the wagon. This expands to 1152 and 1780 litres when the rear seatbacks are folded, this can be done either through the back doors or by levers near the rear of the wagon’s load area. Some boot depth is lost due to the installation of a full-size spare wheel, but we’ve seen worse.
Passat’s seats are well-shaped and supportive and their height makes them easy to get in and out of. The solid feeling that has been a traditional in Volkswagens for decades remains. Indeed, the B8 Passat series has taken it one step further. You really do feel isolated from everything the road is throwing at the car.
Similarly, noise reduction has been also been enhanced and you get the sort of interior sound levels that would once have demanded a $100,000+ German car.
Handling is reasonably sharp, though aimed more at driving comfort than at sports wagon lovers. There’s neutral cornering behaviour at normal speeds, changing to safe understeer when pushing hard. Our review car was fitted with sensible 17-inch wheels, which make more sense than the stylish big-diameter unit that can upset the ride.
In very sunny Gold Coast conditions during our mid-summer driving a fair bit of heat came through the shade screen under the sunroof. Try for yourself if you’re in the northern areas of Oz.
Volkswagen Passat’s station wagon is big, practical and offers excellent driving comfort. It’s certainly worth adding to your list of possible purchases if you’re not locked into the current fashion of macho-looking SUVs.
AT A GLANCE
Passat 132TSI four-door sedan: $34,990 (DSG)
Passat 132TSI Comfortline four-door sedan: $39,990 (DSG)
Passat 140TDI Highline four-door sedan: $45,990 (DSG)
Passat 132TSI five-door wagon: $36,990 (DSG)
Passat 132TSI Comfortline five-door wagon: $41,990 (DSG)
Passat 140TDI Highline five-door wagon: $47,990 (DSG)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Passat 132 TSI 1.8-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.798 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 132 kW @ 5100 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 1250 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 137 g/km
Seven-speed direct shift automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4767 mm
Wheelbase: 2791 mm
Width: 1832 mm
Height: 1477 mm
Turning Circle: 11.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1483 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / unlimited km