vw1

It costs: $46,685.

It’s got: A 132-kilowatt turbocharged 1.8-litre with a seven speed auto.

We got: 10.8 litres per 100 km in the city, 6.8 in the country. The official combined figure is 6.

Consensus: Never mind the price, feel the quality.

 

 

Rod says:
I’m told by someone younger that the rise of SUVs and the fall of wagons is all about soccer mums and daggy mums. Daggy mums have wagons; cool, stylish soccer mums have SUVs. The only crossover is the occasional daggy mum in an SUV, there are no soccer mums in wagons. Soccer mums clearly out-number daggy mums.

vw2Were I female and driving a Passat wagon I’d put a bumper sticker on it: “Daggy and Proud.” If you’re looking for a wagon – and they’re rare these days – this is a ripper. It’s beautifully built and beautifully finished. It has the solidity of a BMW (the three-series wagon starts at $72k) with just as much performance. It drives beautifully and gets excellent economy.

Okay, it doesn’t get a third row of seats but there is a generous load area with a low floor, despite a full-size spare on a matching alloy wheel hidden underneath. It handles very nicely, especially for a wagon, and rides well.

It starts to lose attraction is when you pit it against a similarly sized Mazda 6 wagon. These start almost $4k less than the cheapest Passat wagon and they’re also beautifully built, finished and well equipped. The saving makes the Mazda highly attractive. Even a larger, more powerful Commodore wagon is cheaper.

Rod’s verdict:
It’s expensive for its size and specification, but the quality is obvious.

Sheryl says:
I can see why Volkswagens sell. It just takes a drive around the block and you’re smitten. There’s a feeling of solidity here that’s very reassuring. The steering is beautifully weighted and the wheel itself is fat and comfortable without a millimetre of free play. This and the integrity of the body add up to a compelling feeling of safety and security. You’re aware of the quality.

vw3The fit and finish in the cabin adds more to this. The surfaces are first class, everything works. The audio is a cut above and the CD player and a couple of SD card inputs are hidden in the glovebox. It’s a pity that a system sounding as good as this only accepts compressed music files.

The seating looks a little stark in a car approaching $50,000 but it turns out to be most supportive and remains comfortable over very long distances.

The Passat is also very well equipped with navigation and a reversing camera through a generous screen, and I liked the thought that has gone into the safety gear. For example the blind spot warning isn’t a tiny light at the corner of the relevant wing mirror, it’s a solid block of LEDs in the mirror housing that you can’t miss.

Sheryl’s verdict:
It’s the way it drives – safe and secure with plenty of usable power always on tap.

Published April 2016

 

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