The upper medium class of sedan or saloon was the big segment in our market 20 years ago. Think of the 5 series BMW, the old E class Mercedes, the Valiant, Toyota Cressida, Ford Granada and Chev’s Constantia and later 4100 based on the Opel Record. In the intervening years people have bought down or smaller cars. Recently manufacturers have put a lot of effort into this sector. As a result the brilliant Sabaru Legacy, Mazda 5 and VW Passat have made their appearance in our market. These are brilliant cars, none better than the new Passat.
The first impression is one of space, refinement and style. The boot is huge. The new Passat also has all the new technology. It is fitted with six airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system), Electronic Stabilisation Programme, hill hold control and whiplash-optimised head restraints as standard. The options list is comprehensive, but beware it all adds up alarmingly quickly.
The business class interior is built up of soft-to-the-touch plastics forming the dashboard, a simple analogue clock in the middle, with brushed metallic accents. It is VW interior design at its best. All the normal higher end cockpit tools are found in the new Passat. From multi function leather trimmed steering wheel to a very good sound system and optional satnav in the car we drove. The seats are very adjustable and comfortable, including warming and cooling. Very smart.
The TopGear gang had this to say about it: “It’s quiet, comfy, economical, beautifully built and safe. And strangely enough that doesn’t actually make it boring to drive.” I really enjoyed driving it on the mountain passes in the Boland and even the slightly dodgy gravel roads of De Hoop. This Passat handles everything with unflappable aplomb. If you are looking for car with space, both for the passengers and in the boot, look no further.
This car is much better than you expect. It really delivers more and it feels solid.
The Passat costs about what the smaller Golf TDI highline, Honda Civic CTDi VXi, Audi A4 1.8 FSI, Volvo S40 D2 or BMW 120i costs. For the same money you get to drive a roomy, comfortable, well built, smart car that enjoys more than adequate power, good balance and very good handling.
Also look at the Mazda5 and the Subaru Legacy.
An average fuel consumption of around 7 litre/100km can be expected dropping to 5.3 on the open road for the petrol model. The diesel is even more frugal with an average of around 6 litres / 100km achievable.
Prices start at R196 900 for the TSI manual to R327 600 for the TDI DSG, but watch the optional extras.
Passat comes with 3 year/120 000km warranty, service plan of 100 000km/ 5 year and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty.