If you want to buy an entry-level, midsize luxury sedan in India and love the unadulterated torque that a diesel engine offers, there are four clear choices—Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE.
If you want to buy an entry-level, midsize luxury sedan in India and love the unadulterated torque that a diesel engine offers, there are four clear choices—Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE. The diesel models of these cars are priced upwards of Rs 40 lakh, with the exception of the XE, which has a variant priced a shade under. However, there are two more cars that offer you almost similar luxury features and yet are priced about Rs 10 lakh lower—Skoda Superb and Volkswagen’s new Passat. We drive the latter from Udaipur to Jaipur in Rajasthan.
What is a Passat?
The Passat is one of Volkswagen’s most successful cars globally, even though it had a poor run in India. It was earlier launched in 2007 and discontinued by the end of 2013, due to muted sales. The new Passat, however, is an altogether different beast. It is based on the company’s new MQB
platform, which, among other benefits, allows the company to lower costs through standardisation.
How is the design?
The Passat has a sleek and sophisticated look. The side windows come with chrome moulding and bumpers have a decorative trim. The full LED headlights and tail-lights provide better lighting performance with low energy consumption. Overall, the design has a very premium feel.
How big is it?
It is 4,767mm long, 1,832mm wide and 1,456mm tall. Its long wheelbase of 2,786mm ensures huge cabin space. The boot capacity is 586 litres (all seats up) and 1,152 litres (rear seat folded).
How good is the engine?
It’s equipped with the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine mated to six-speed automatic DSG transmission. The engine delivers peak power of 175bhp and torque of 350Nm. Its fuel efficiency is 17.42kpl (as per ARAI) and a fuel tank of 66 litres. There is no petrol engine on offer.
How does it drive?
The wholesome torque of 350Nm is available from as low as 1500-3500rpm, so as soon as you press the accelerator, the car shoots ahead like a cat possessed. The entry-level Comfortline variant rides on 215/60 R16 tyres, while the Highline rides on 215/55 R17 tyres. The Passat glides quietly on smooth roads, and even on bad roads the ride is decent. At high speeds, it drives sticking to the road. It’s not just a driver’s car, the rear seat is comfortable too, and space is a given—you can easily sit crossed-legged.
Does it have any futuristic features?
There are many. One that deserves a mention is Park Assist, which assists the driver by automatically carrying out the optimum steering movements in order to reverse-park on the ideal line. All the driver has to do is operate the accelerator and the brake, while the steering movements are undertaken by Park Assist.
How safe is it?
There’s nothing called ‘safe enough’. Any car is only as safe as you make it. Yet safety features are important, and the Passat offers numerous such features, such as nine airbags, electronic stability program (ESP), anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control system, hill-start assist, auto-hold, and tyre pressure monitoring system as standard equipment.
How much it is priced?
There are only two variants. The Comfortline which is priced Rs 29.99 lakh and the Highline priced at Rs 32.99 lakh, ex-showroom. It’s available in six colours: white, deep black, black oak brown, silver metallic, blue metallic and grey metallic.
Who are its competitors?
Skoda Superb diesel and Toyota Camry (which is also available as a hybrid) are its direct competitors. As far as features are concerned, the Passat has almost all the features found in more expensive cars such as the A4, C-Class, 3 Series and XE.
So, is it a better buy than, say, the A4?
Not necessarily. The A4, and other luxury brands, are more expensive because they have more bells and whistles, plus higher brand value. You just have to ask yourself, whether you want to be seen getting driven in in a Passat (comparatively logical buy) or an A4 or other luxury brands (more of emotional buys)?