Volkswagen Passat has been a globally successful model for years and continues to be a best-seller in multiple markets till date. In India, though, the Volkswagen Passat was stopped a few years back and has finally been reintroduced in the market. The key reason why the Volkswagen Passat has been a success in various markets is the high level of comfort, features and safety offered at its price-point across its various generations. We recently got a chance to drive the new 2017 Volkswagen Passat from Udaipur to Jaipur, covering a distance of more than 400 kilometres. Over this distance, we drove through some scenic roads in Rajasthan and also encountered broken and bad roads passing through multiple towns. The idea was to find out if the Volkswagen Passat still retains the core values it is known for or does it compromise that character in favour of simply catching up to the competition in order to compensate for its late entry. Read on to find out.
The new 2017 Volkswagen Passat is positioned as a luxury sedan and it's imperative for a car in this segment to have sophistication and elegance. The Passat doesn't disappoint as it has a design language that follows a minimalistic yet charming approach. The sleek grille with chrome is flanked by full-LED headlamps with DRLs that looks premium. The bumper too has few creases and goes well with the overall simple yet elegant design. On the side, the long hood coupled up with 17-inch alloy wheels (Highline variant only) and a strong shoulder line give the new 2017 Volkswagen Passat a stately stance. The LED tail lamps further add to the tasteful design.
Overall, the good thing about the new 2017 Volkswagen Passat is that it's a car one could cherish looking at for years as it would age well. The flip side for some could be that it looks similar to other Volkswagen cars with a homogeneous design language.
The cabin of the new 2017 Volkswagen Passat is a place that will leave you spoiled when it comes to comfort. Upfront, the soft-touch dashboard in black with wooden-finish inserts and AC vents that run along the width of the dashboard injects a premium feel. The touchscreen infotainment system is easy to operate and offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Touch response is good with a simple interface, making it easy to operate. Beyond the regular data, one can also view interesting data such as power and torque being used at any point by the engine along with a lateral G-force gauge.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel with audio, phone and cruise control buttons feels good to hold and can be adjusted for rake and tilt. The instrument cluster has analogue speedometer and tachometer, while rest of the information is displayed in the central digital screen.
Front seats offer excellent cushioning and ample side support, making them a comfortable place to be in if you choose to go for a long drive. With most cars in this segment being chauffeur-driven, the Passat had a critical test to pass and pass it did with flying colours! Rear legroom is more than ample and even people taller than 6 feet will never struggle for space. Headroom again is impressive and the backrest incline angle of the seat itself is quite nice, making the Passat a comfortable car to be driven in after a long board meeting. Utility too has been addressed well inside the cabin and there are ample spaces to easily store water bottles, smartphone, wallet, sunglasses, and coins.
In a nutshell, the new 2017 Volkswagen Passat offers everything one would expect at its price-point but what makes it different is that it just looks and feels to be plusher than others out there.
Powertrain & Handling
The new Volkswagen Passat is presently being offered in India only with a 2 litre TDI turbocharged diesel engine that develops a healthy 177 ps and 350 Nm of torque. Off the line, the Passat picks up without any lag and there's very little turbo-lag as you increase momentum. One can shuffle between driving modes and Sports seemed the best option to extract the maximum from the powertrain. Complimenting the engine well is a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission that offers reasonably quick shifts in normal mode and things become quicker once the stick is slotted into Sports mode. If that doesn't suffice you are still left with the option of using the paddle-shifters that further improves the driving engagement. Our run was mainly on highways with a generous use of throttle and manual shifting and still, the Passat managed to return 13.8 kmpl, which is good given the size of the car.
Ride quality is quite good on the Passat and despite inclined slightly towards the firmer side, occupants remain isolated from most surface undulations. The slightly stiffer setup proves to be a boon at high speeds as the car remains stable at higher triple-digit speeds too and doesn't have the floaty sensation that some other cars in this price-segment exhibit. Around corners, the Passat is a confident car as long as one respects its size and positioning. Mc Pherson setup upfront along with a multi-link setup at the rear lends the Passat with a great balance between comfort and handling.
At the end, when you factor in all the discussed aspects you get a car that will cocoon you in luxury when being driven and can be a treat to drive when you're in the mood to get behind the wheel. Unlike some other cars in this price-point, the Passat is a car that balances handling and comfort in an impressive manner and this, precisely, is what makes the Passat different from the rest.
The new 2017 Volkswagen Passat scores high on safety and comes equipped with nine airbags even on the lower Comfortline variant. In addition, ABS with EBD, Traction Control, Hill Assist programme and a 360-degree view camera add further to the safety quotient. The fact that Volkswagen hasn't reduced safety features for the lower variants left us impressed.
The new 2017 Volkswagen Passat impressed us in almost every aspect we tested it on. It offers a well-rounded package of comfort, luxury, elegance, driving pleasure, and connectivity. True, one could complain that there are cheaper cars that offer almost the same features for a lesser price. However, one needs to consider that the richer interiors of the Passat along with impressive dynamics offer a balance better than other cars in the segment. The sheer quality of the cabin can only be understood when experienced. People could differ with me on this but I truly think the new Volkswagen Passat offers German luxury at Japanese prices.