We typically associate the Volkswagen Passat’s competitors being cars like the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, Honda Accord, and its sister car, the very similar Skoda Superb. But with the level of luxury and premium features on offer here - in addition to the superior build quality VW is known for - and the argument to justify that price hike for an Audi A4 becomes quite flimsy indeed - ironic since Audi themselves (and Skoda) are a part of the Volkswagen Group.
The B8 Passat, despite that designation, is technically only the 7th all-new version of Volkswagen’s larger sedan as the B7 that first showed up in 2010 before it was actually an evolution (i.e facelift) of the B6 that was introduced in 2005.
It’s pretty much an all-new car over its predecessor, and Volkswagen has aimed high. It has a far more attractive exterior design, impressive reserves of performance, improved handling, more room inside, and is considerably lighter as to aid in fuel economy.
Introduced globally in 2014 before arriving in Australia the following year, this Passat is the car that fellow contenders in this space should be paranoid about losing ground to. Locally, the range kicks off with the base 132TSI, followed by the 132TSI Comfortline, 140TDI Highline, and finally the sportier 206TSI R-Line.
“Cosmetically, R-Line adds a unique front grille, a sports front bumper with bigger air intakes, and side skirts – among other styling tweaks.” - Whichcar
Over the previous Passat, this one is far and away the more elegant; starting with its single frame grille meshing neatly into the swept back headlamps that flank it. This VW makes a strong first impression, particularly in wagon form.
It’s still a large car, mind you, and one that is only marginally different in height than the version it replaces. That’s cleverly masked with its subtly flared wheel arches, tapered roofline, and a prominent shoulder crease that runs pretty much the length of the car - helping it seem lower and squat than it actually is.
Of the four grades, the lower two receive 17-inch alloys while 18-inchers and optional 19s are reserved for the higher-end duo, respectively. All come with LED daytime running lights but, disappointingly, only halogen front illuminators come standard in everything but the 206TSI or otherwise the optional Luxury Pack ($3,500) be selected for the Comfortline or Highline grades - something we recommend.
As a consolation, the headlamps do turn on automatically when the light levels dip and, joy of joys, there are standard LED tail lamps too. Though, if you’d like some LEDs to illuminate the way forward, you’ll have to opt for that Luxury Pack which also adds dynamic cornering lights which also can also automatically switch from low to high beam if it senses a clear road ahead or from high back to low beam when another car is incoming.
Engine and Drivetrain
“There’s plenty of urge for overtaking, the steering is accurate and the car sits securely on the road, rounding up nicely when pushed enthusiastically.” - CarsGuide
No matter which motor is chosen, it’s unlikely you’ll be wanting for pace. Even in base form, the B8 Passat offers ace levels of performance, and it peaks with the R-Line’s powertrain packaged lifted straight out of a Golf GTI.
Every engine is turbocharged and manages to return relatively frugal consumption numbers too - paired, of course, with VW’s DSG dual-clutch transmission in either 7- or 6-speed configurations. No manual option is available.
Two petrol engines are available starting with the same 1.8-litre turbocharged TSI engine carried over from the older Passat. The German automaker has a happy habit of tying in the engine output to variant name. Hence, the 132TSI produces 132kW and 250Nm of torque from as low as 1,250rpm.
At the other end of the spectrum, the more powerful petrol sits under the bonnet of the most expensive Passat, the 206TSI R-Line. As stated earlier, this is more-or-less a collection of the Golf GTI’s oily bits, and thus dishes out 206kW and 350Nm of torque from 1,700rpm.
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