The all-new Volkswagen Passat turned out to be a real performer and much deserving to be called the 2015 European Car of the Year. This we got to prove during a recent ride and drive event hosted by Volkswagen Philippines wherein the motoring media drove the different variants of the mid-sized sedan from Manila to Anilao in Batangas using the long way around.
Flagging off from the VW Showroom at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the convoy of five “Business Edition” and top-of-the-line “Highline” headed toward the South Luzon Expressway via C5 Road. The early morning rush forced the convoy to move at a snail’s pace. However, the Passat’s spaciousness and entertainment system made the slow ride very enjoyable.
To have the drivers and passengers experience more of the Passat’s features, the convoy took the MCX highway leading toward Daang Hari in Cavite for the long way round Cavite and Batangas toward the famous diving Mecca in Anilao. The route took the convoy through 200 kilometers of tight but well-paved roads of Gen. Mariano Alvarez, Trece Martires, Ternate, until reaching the Kaybiang Tunnel in Cavite, then crossing over toward Nasugbu, Lemery and then Mabini in Batangas. The long route was carefully selected to highlight the Passat’s class-leading characteristics of passenger and cargo space, refined and quiet ride, powerful engine and top safety features, all of which earned for it the 2015 European Car of the Year.
Inside the cabin, passengers are afforded with generous headroom (989 and 964 millimeters in the front and rear, respectively) and legroom (1,045 and 973 millimeters) that provides utmost comfort throughout the trip. The rear seats with extended leg support enhanced the comfort of the rear passengers.
At the back, the Passat has a surprisingly roomy cabin. And despite that, VW engineers still manage to provide the sedan with a very large luggage compartment space. Opening the boot, one can expand the Passat’s cargo volume from 586 to 1,152 liters, with its 60:40 folding rear seat backrest and center armrest load-through hatch. The Passat’s luggage compartment could load even bulky scuba diving gear, ideal for the day’s destination. The luggage compartment also comes with its own 12-volt socket, so batteries for underwater cameras and lights could be charged even while in transit.
Athletic yet demure
The Passat, even when fully loaded with passengers and cargo, performed like its small but powerful cousin, the VW Golf GTi (the Passat and the Golf GTi are powered by the same engine). The car, which looks demure, led the pace along the undulating roads of Cavite and Batangas, and skillfully managed the twisty, hilly sections of the route.
The power and German-tuned responsiveness of the Passat Business Edition’s 2.0-liter TSI (Turbocharged Stratified Injection) engine mated to the six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) was most evident in these rolling sections of the route. The powerplant’s maximum power output of 220 PS (217 horsepower) in the 4,500-6,200 revolutions per minute range, and maximum torque of 350 Newton-meters in the 1,500-4,400 RPM range was more than adequate to keep the Passat drivers confident behind the wheel.
The confidence level was heightened even more with the Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) with Drive Profile Selection that allows the driver to choose different driving modes: Sport, Comfort and Normal. Plus, the Electronic Differential Lock (XDS), an extension of the Electronic Differential Lock function, responds to the unloading of the front wheel on the inside of the corner when cornering fast, thereby giving more control to the driver during tight turns.
The Passat’s occupants also enjoyed a quieter ride, what with the reduced noise characteristics of the 3-Zone Climatronic Air Conditioning System, which features improved acoustic properties of the heater/air conditioning unit, the configuration of the air distribution and blower control according to the driving profile, broad air nozzles, and a special mix of materials. Indeed, all the occupants heard were the music of their iPods or smart phones emanating from the eight-speaker audio system connected to the Discover Pro premium infotainment system, Passat’s latest in radio and navigation systems highlighted by a larger screen size, expanded connectivity, expanded range of functions, and significantly operated computation performance.
The Discover Pro combined with the Active Info Display central digital instrument cluster that features configurable graphic panels for displaying navigation, driving assistance functions, consumption and range offered drivers an even more extensive sense of control in all aspects of the ride and drive experience.
The panoramic sunroof also gave the Passat’s occupants a dome-like view of a sky as well as the perfect access for taking photographs of the line of Passats following behind.
Engineed for the executive
The new Passat, which is now on its eighth generation, is designed and produced from Volkswagen in Germany straight to Volkswagen Philippines’ showrooms. It is engineered and designed as the ideal executive car, complete with luxury appointments such as LED premium headlights and taillights with light scenes, 18-inch alloy wheels, 12-way electric front ergoComfort seats, rear view camera, park distance control, and “Keyless-Go” Entry (KESSY).
The Passat was the perfect ride to bring the participants to the exclusive La Chevrerie Resort and Spa. After a day of pampering at the resort, the trip back to the Volkswagen BGC showroom provided the well-rested participants more of the power, space, and luxury of the new Passat as the convoy zipped through the Star Tollway and SLEX, just in time for some late afternoon snacks at V by Ilustrado in the Volkswagen BGC showroom.
The Passat Highline 2.0 TSI DSG is priced at P2.253 million while the 2.0 TSI DSG Business Edition sells at P2.759 million, with available exterior/interior color combinations Crimson Red/St. Tropez, Oryx White or Iridium Grey Metallic/Titanium Black, and Deep Black Pearl or Black Oak Brown/Natural Brown.