Volkswagen has been expanding its product portfolio in India quite rapidly. Recently, it added the Ameo and Tiguan to its portfolio. The company has now launched the eighth-gen Passat in India. Even though the car was first unveiled in the 2014 at the Paris motor show, it took three years for the company to bring it to India. The delay probably has to do with the face that it’s a low-volume segment. Passat is based on the same platform (MQB) as the Superb. Despite the same underpinnings, the car looks nothing like Superb. The Passat also happens to be the Volkswagen’s most premium offering in yet in India. Volkswagen price in India puts it in direct competition with the cars like Skoda Superb, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord etc. Volkswagen Passat variants on offer include Comfortline and Highline.
EXTERIOR AND STYLE
Depending on which way you look at it, you’ll either find the Volkswagen Passat elegantly understated or just ordinary. But either way, it doesn’t really have any bad angles. At the front, the headlights and grille are styled into a single panel running across the width of the car. There isn’t much by way of design flair but the full LED headlights with DRLs at the bottom edge look sharp. And lending a bit of a sporty touch is the lower edge of the bumper that’s tapered inwards; this treatment is given to the sides and rear bumper too. The profile of the Passat is characterised by a strong coupé roofline and a prominent, deep shoulder line. LED tail-lamps complete the rear. On the whole, the Passat looks classy but it lacks any sort of flair or panache.
Things on the inside are in the same vein. The interior colour scheme is dark and is livened by the exquisitely finished wood panel on the dash and doors that brings in a subdued richness. Like the headlight-grille mono panel, the dashboard too has a single panel housing the AC vents, broken in the centre by an analogue clock. The steering wheel is the familiar VW unit from the Polo, while the controls like the HVAC unit, door handles and window switches are from the Jetta and Tiguan.The wood inserts, Nappa leather upholstery and the soft-touch areas on the dash all feel like they belong on a more expensive car. All around, the feel of the cabin, or ‘haptics’ as VW prefers to call it, is simply top-notch and high on quality.
The understated elegance is carried over inside too. The dashboard is flat and simple looking but uses high quality materials to offer a rich, premium feel. The dash is split horizontally across its length by a matte-finished strip of wood, at the centre of which sits an analogue clock. Above the wooden strip are air-conditioning vents which look like the ones on the Audi Q7, with faux vents that connect them from end to end. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is the same as the Tiguan’s and so are the clocks and the Passat offers a familiar feel from behind the wheel. Interiors are finished in black including the leather seats to offer a sporty feel, while the roof is beige-hued and offers a sense of airiness.The Passat is no match for the limousine-like space offered by the Skoda Superb, but there’s plenty of space at the rear and I cannot possibly imagine anyone complaining about lack of legroom. The seats are plush, particularly the rear bench, which also gets a wide arm rest with cup holders.
The Passat’s feature and equipment list is extensive. It gets a 12.3-inch TFT display that integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The infotainment system also offers staggering amounts of information about the car, like the ‘Think Blue Trainer’ we first saw in the Tiguan. It rates your driving style, giving you marks out of 100 depending on how efficiently you drive. The Passat also gets five driving modes, and apart from customising the engine and gearbox responses the modes alter the suspension setup too, a segment first. The new Passat gets semi-auto park assist and a 360 degree view camera too. Then there’s the easy open and close boot a wave of your foot under it will open the boot, pressing a button will shut it.Boot space is massive at 586 litres, and should you ever feel the need for more space, you can drop the rear seatbacks by pulling the levers placed conveniently in the boot. Both front seats can be adjusted electrically, and the driver’s seat gets memory and massage functions too. Front seats are heated, though we would have preferred cooled seats given that our warm conditions. There’s three-zone climate control on offer as well, but oddly the rear controls only let you adjust the temperature and not the blower speed. On the safety front the Passat gets 9 airbags, while ABS, EBD, ESP are of course part of standard equipment.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
In India, the new Volkswagen Passat gets only 1 engine option which is the very familiar 2.0-litre TDI, 4-cylinder oil-burner, which is thankfully offered in the higher 177 HP and 350 Nm tune, unlike the Tiguan. Mated to this engine is the 6-speed DSG gearbox. The Passat doesn’t really disappoint on the mechanical front. The diesel engine offers good driveability and power is also adequate for the sedan. The engine does sound noisy and the noise is heard inside the cabin too. The Passat is quick to respond to throttle inputs and turbo lag is managed well by the DSG gearbox.
As the revs increase, there is a good wave of torque and the Passat pulls effortlessly and power delivery goes all the way to 5400 RPM. The DSG responds quickly most of the times and downshifts a cog or two swiftly when you mash the throttle, however, I did notice in city driving that sometimes it hesitates before downshifting and that leads to a delay of a couple of seconds along with some jerks. That aside, the Passat feels genuinely good to drive and the diesel motor is pretty efficient too, delivering 10-13 kms to the litre.For quicker shifts and an aggressive driving pattern, you get a Sport mode on the gearbox along with steering-mounted paddle shifters. Along with that, the sedan also gets driving modes like Comfort, Auto and Sport which alter the steering, engine and damper response. Also, the vehicle gets the Think Blue Trainer which is a cool piece of tech that advises you on better driving patterns to maximise the efficiency from the diesel engine.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Confident and comfortable, that’s how the Passat feels like to drive and to be driven around in. Steering it around fast bends, it always surprised with its composure. No doubt the electronic differential lock helps it keep a neat line. The steering, although on the lighter side in all modes other than Sport, gives you the confidence to wriggle through traffic or carve up ghats. In Comfort mode, the Passat will gobble up poor roads, and as it isn’t overly soft, you can use this mode for almost all conditions. Body control remains well in check here too. Sport mode of the DCC firms up the suspension significantly and it is best reserved for smooth highways.
Being a luxury family sedan, this car deserves some best safety treatments to make the ride of the occupants safe and secure, which Volkswagen did without letting any complain. The automatic LED headlamps come with reflector technology, along with separate daytime running lights, “Leaving Home” and manual “Coming Home”. The car also comes with several other safety features like 3 point front and centre rear seatbelts in with height adjustment and belt tensioner, anti theft alarm system, backup horn, interior monitoring and towing protection, auto dimming interior mirror, automatically heated washer nozzles, curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers including side airbags, dark red tail lamp assemblies in LED technology, Electronic Stability Control, ABS with brake assistant, ASR, EDL, EDTC and trailer stabilization, front windshield wiper with intermittent control and rain sensor and Rest Assist (drowsiness detection).
VW describe this car as the quite, confident guy, one who doesn’t show off. And if that appeals to you then the Passat is simply perfect. Its negatives like the audible suspension and engine can be overlooked in the face of its many talents. The Passat is well equipped, spacious, rides well and is adequately powered, and it doesn’t command an unnecessary premium. Trouble, however, is, while it ticks all the right boxes, most people buy cars with their hearts instead of checklists and that’s where the Passat lacks the sense of occasion. Many won’t find it to be exciting; it basically comes down to tuxedos and suits. If you prefer the flair of a tux then look elsewhere, but if it’s the simple elegance of a suit that you like, the Passat is your perfect bet.
Volkswagen Passat Ex Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 29,99,000/- (Passat Comfortline) to 32,99,000/- (Passat Highline).Volkswagen Passat has 2 Variants of Diesel are available in India. Volkswagen Passat comes in 5 colours, namely Tungsten Silver,Harvard Blue,Deep Black,ORYX White,Black Oak Brown.