VW Passat 1.8 TSI Highline DSG
The Volkswagen Passat is a large, classy family saloon that delivers great refinement and quality in an accomplished, discreet package the UK Auto Express summarises this car as. I could not agree more. They continue to say the only negatives they can think of are: Understated styling, not much fun to drive, lacks premium image of rivals. I don’t quite agree. I like the styling of the Passat, but it is subjective of course.
I think its pleasant to drive but perhaps not quite up to the standard of the Ford Fusion or Honda Accord. The cabin is just stunningly good.
Do not forget the boot. You can fit three golf bags, or a pram and a folding cot. It’s really big.
If you have just over R400k to spend and you want or need a bit of space and a big boot the Passat or Fusion is a much better buy than 3 Series, C-class or A4. Lets just look at what you get.
This car has one of the smoothest most efficient gearboxes out there in the 7 speed DSG box and when coupled to the turbocharged 1.8 petrol engine delivers a top speed of 232 km/h. Do you need to go faster? Not only that but it will get to 100km/h in 7.9 sec and VW claims using only 5.8 litres/100km, although I got 7.4L/100km on average the week I drove the car. Not too shabby.
The interior of this car does not hit you with its brilliance. Rather you come to realise just how well designed and made this cabin is. You could live with it for years as it is ergonomic, spacious, comfortable and cleverly designed. There is quite a long list of optional extras, so you could kit it out to your heart’s desires. Basically you could get a fully kitted Passat for the price of a base, very sparsely kitted out Audi A4 which probably has the identical engine, gearbox and much of the underpinnings.
The Passat range is well equipped as standard, better than most VW models. It includes intelligent cruise control, park distance control, flat tyre monitoring, climate control, heated front seats, electronic stability control, fog lights and a good infotainment centre. All the essential stuff.
Options fitted to our test unit include sunroof, DiscoverPro navigation, ambience light package, adaptive cruise control, electric front seat, Nappa leather seats and LED headlights. Nice to haves, but not necessary, except for the adaptive cruise control which I consider a great safety feature.
The Passat will probably surprise you if you take it for a test drive. It is, like the Ford Fusion, a seriously commodious, comfortable, complete package.
The price of the 1.8 TSI Highline DSG as standard is R457 500. The range starts from R432 000 and tops out at R518 000. The car as tested had around R50 000 extras.
Warranty is 3 years or 120 000km, but the maintenance plan is 5 years or 100 000km.
Other cars in this size range include the previously mentioned Ford Fusion (R424 000) and Honda Accord (R434 600), the more expensive but not really better MB C-class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and the exciting Mazda 6 and Volvo S60.