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Easy driver!

As far as nice, comfortable saloon cars go, you really could not do much better than the Volkswagen Passat.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: February 24, 2008

The Volkswagen Passat
The Volkswagen Passat
This is the sixth generation of the Passat and ever since Volkswagen introduced the car back in 1973, it has sold quite a few million of them.

And along the way, the car has spawned several “children”, like the Skoda Superb, which was based on the last-generation Passat. But this is the real deal, and driving it around the streets of Delhi, it felt comfortable.

There was no pants-on-fire performance; this is a car that does the job of getting you from point to point extremely comfortably.

The Passat comes with a choice of two 2-litre TDI engines from the Volkswagen stable, and pumps out 140 horsepower. While the engines are rather good at low-and mid- range engine speeds, they do tend to taper off at higher engine speeds.

But it is not the engine that amazes you. It is the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission that does. While in start-stop city driving you let the car change gears, when you want some performance or economy, the paddle or lever shift functions beautifully.

Passat comes with imposing looks
Passat has imposing looks

There is next to no delay in changing up or down, and you sometimes feel that you could even fancy a crack at the car’s claimed top speed of 206 kmph. But we wish VW had brought in a couple of its FSI petrol engines to India as well.

The interiors are rather good. In many cars with “metallic” trims, they usually dab cheap metallic paint on cheap plastic. Not on this car. The stereo is also rather good, and once you manage to pair your mobile device (it has to have Remote SIM mode on Bluetooth) you are set.

Rear legroom could be better
Rear legroom could be better
And the point about comfort means that you can spend a lot of times driving this car and not feel any worse for the weather— great ride quality helps that. Rear seat comfort is, well, okay. Not bad, but you do think you could do with a bit more space. Much better than some of the competition though.

The biggest problem with the Passat is the ‘badge’. The car does compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes CClass, and though some people might prefer a German badge to an East Asian one, which German one is the question? We think that this is still better value than any of the other three, priced at between Rs 22.35 lakh and 24.35 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it isn't cheap but it is good!

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