In 1973 Volkswagen launched the very first Passat into the global market. Six generations later, over 15 million versions have been sold worldwide. To launch the new seventh generation Volkswagen looked at their Phaeton luxury sedan for inspiration. The result is a more muscular and better looking Passat. It is still available in three distinct trim levels, the entry level Trendline, the mid-range Comfortline and the must have Highline.
Stand in front of the new Passat and the Phaeton looks slowly begin to sink in. The highlighted four crossmembers chrome grill gives you the first hint. Next are the new dual headlights which can be fitted with bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights. If I was to make a suggestion here please go for the bi-xenon headlamps. They not only have better illumination but also give the car an appealing face that is sure to turn heads. A stylish body-coloured bumper is also visible. To ensure that your eyes remain fixed at the bumper some classy chrome-plated winglets. The winglets house the lowly placed fog lamps.
|Previous VW Passat|
Order the luxury Highline or midrange Comfortline version and another chrome strip is added to join the front air splitter and the side winglets. The front end blends into the side profile via the side contour of the V-shaped bonnet, in the style of the Phaeton, and the car’s distinctive wing panel lines. At the side of the Trendline version is a black strip visible in between the two flared wheel arches. Comfortline and Highline versions get a chrome strip. A new side mirror is also visible that helps channel air smoothly at the side of the car. This helps to reduce interior noise. Various wheel design and tyre combinations are available. Behind the rear wheel arches is another strip that runs to the rear of the car. At the rear one notices that the wedge shape of the outgoing model has been reduced to give the rear a more appealing appearance. The lights have also been restyled and now feature LEDs.
Under the bonnet are 10 unique engines. The petrol engines of the Volkswagen Passat output 120hp (for the 1.4 TSI engine), 158hp (for the 1.8 TSI engine), 207hp (for the 2.0 TSI engine) and 295hp (for the V6 engine). The top engine has six cylinders, while all other petrol engines are charged four cylinders. Four turbodiesel engines are being offered at three power levels; the four cylinder engines output 103hp (for the 1.6 TDI engine), 103hp (for the 2.0 TDI and 2.0 BlueTDI) and 168hp (for the 2.0 TDI engine). The 103hp engine uses only 4.2litres of fuel to cover 100km. This engine is fitted to the Passat BlueMotion. Another new ecofriendly engine is also available. Except for the TDI with 103hp, any of the other engines of the new Passat may be combined with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG).
|Styling inspired by the VW Phaeton|
This is a six-speed or seven-speed DSG, depending on the engine’s torque. Both DSG versions are characterised by maximum economy and dynamic shifting performance never before realised to this degree. Besides differing in the number of forward gears, the two DSG units also differ technically in the types of clutches used. While two dry clutches operate in the seven-speed DSG, the dual clutches of the six-speed DSG operate wet in an oil bath. This is true of both gearboxes: Even highly experienced drivers cannot approach the shifting speeds of the DSG gearboxes. More than any other automatic, the dual clutch gearboxes also have the potential to reduce fuel consumption and thereby emissions. Compared to an automatic with torque-converter clutch, this advantage may amount to up to twenty percent depending on the engine. The car rides on front MacPherson suspension and four-link rear suspension setup.
|Powerful TDI engines|
Open its restyled doors and you soon realize that the interior has not changed that much. The air vents, dashboard design and steering wheel are similar to what found in the previous model. In the In the Trendline base version, “Matt Chrome” decorative inserts are used. For the first time, door trims of the VW Passat are treated with special accents. Four other decor types are available for the higher versions Comfortline (standard: “Iridium Printed”) and Highline (standard: “Brushed Aluminium”).
|First Passat Model|
Genuine “Walnut” and “Zebrano” wood accents are offered on the Passat Comfortline at extra charge and as a selection on the Passat Highline. Always designed in brushed aluminium is the centre console aboard the Passat Comfortline and Highline. In between the speedometer and tachometer is a new multi-coloured TFT display with similar graphics found in the Phaeton and Touareg. The new multifunctional display has a multi-colour layout and animated menus similar to those of the complex graphics of the top of the range RNS 510 radio-navigation system. On the upper level of the dashboard is an analogue clock. The area surrounding the gearshift lever has completely been redesigned. The gearshift lever for both the manual transmission and dual clutch gearbox (DSG) now has a sportier position in the hand.
|Now with a center analogue clock|
Now positioned in an ideal ergonomic location on the left side of the panel is the button for the electronic parking brake (previously to the left of the steering wheel). Then there are buttons for Auto Hold, ESP and – in versions with Keyless Access – the start button for the engine. Integrated on the right side of the gearshift lever is a control key panel for activating the rear sun shade, DCC adaptive chassis control, Stop/Start system, tyre pressure monitoring and Rear Assist (acoustic / visual parking assistant) and Park Assist (automatic parking assistant).
|Movable cargo floor|
New to the Passat is ambient interior lighting. The light strips are placed in the optional fine wood or aluminium accents in the doors. The brightness of this indirect lighting is continuously variable and is adjusted by the control knob for interior lighting. This illumination is offered as part of an Ambience Pack (includes 2 lights in footwell and entry/warning lights in the doors) together with the related accent strips. The styling and covers for the seats were also modified. Four different versions are offered here, depending on equipment options. The Passat Trendline is fitted with fabric seat covers in “Conte” design. In this version, the driver and front passenger seats already have standard height adjustment.
|Large rear boot on the Saloon|
At the next higher equipment level (Comfortline), seats in “Matera” design are used. The seat surfaces and lateral sections are designed with different web types. Standard features on the Comfortline include electrically adjustable lumbar support and driver’s seat backrest. As an option, the Comfortline seats can be ordered in the climate version (include fan cooling). In this case, the seats are upholstered in “Nardo” style fabric that has been coordinated with the ventilation system. In addition, Volkswagen offers the Comfortline seats in a “Vienna” leather version (including seat heating), which can also be ordered in a climate version as an option.
Leather is the standard material on the comfort seats of the Passat Highline. The lateral seat supports and surfaces of the centre armrests are upholstered with “Vienna” leather; Alcantara is used on the seat surfaces (heated seats in front). Also standard here: electrically adjustable lumbar support and driver’s seat backrest. Essentially, the last expansion level in comfort adds electric 12-way adjustment for the front seats. In addition, the electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors also fold electrically here and are equipped with surroundings lighting; the mirror on the driver’s side automatically dims in response to strong incident light from the rear. From the Comfortline, the front head restraints are now not only height-adjustable, rather they can also be adjusted horizontally. In the rear seating area, the new Passat impresses with three ergonomically contoured seat positions, as well as ample headroom and legroom. The standard rear bench seat is asymmetrically split and folding, and it is equipped with a centre armrest with storage compartment.
|Side profile of the VW Wagon|
On the Passat Estate, the seat itself can be folded forward; this creates a level, continuous cargo floor. From the Comfortline equipment line, two extending drink holders are integrated in the centre armrest. Also standard on the Comfortline and Highline equipment lines: a large pass-through opening that can “swallow” four pairs of skis. The bootspace of the saloon has an astonishingly large cargo capacity of 565 litres. Chrome tie-down eyes make it easier to secure luggage. Two bag hooks on the side help to organise loads after shopping. For the more practical Estate there is now a movable cargo floor. It can be shifted forward and rearward any amount in the area of the cargo surface. It can carry as up to 100 kg of goods with ease. The Estate has a total boot space of 603 litres. Fold the rear seats and the boot increases to an impressive 1,731litres. The Estate version is fitted with Keyless Acess that lets one to open the boot using a specific foot motion under the rear bumper. Both the Estate can carry an impressive 689 kilogram of load.
|Rear profile of the VW Wagon|
Both the Trendline Estate and Saloon are fitted with a stop start system on all diesel models. Petrol versions come with battery regeneration mode. In the case of the smallest petrol engine, battery regeneration and the Stop/Start system are optional. Safety features include six airbags, daytime running lights and the ESP electronic stabilisation programme. Its recognizable exterior features include 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers in the look of alloy wheels, black painted radiator grille with chrome strips on the fins, black accent strips on the side windows and a chrome strip on the boot lid.
|Available as a Saloon or Estate|
Also standard: LED flasher lights in the door mirrors, add-on parts painted in body colour and noise-insulating front windscreen. The Passat Estate is also equipped with black roof rails. The interior standard features include climate control system (Climatic), electromechanical power-assisted steering, electric window lifts all around, outside temperature display, electronic parking brake with auto-hold function, automatic boot lid opening function, central locking (with RF remote control), Multifunctional Display Plus (including call-up of driving data and adjustments for numerous convenience functions) as well as the RCD 210 audio system with MP3 playback capability. The VW Passat Trendline is offered with engines with a maximum power level of 147hp.
|Stylish 17-inch wheels|
The mid-range Comfortline is offered with standard equipment such as 16-inch wheels, chrome strips on the side windows and in the area of the side sill and bumpers. Its interior comes loaded with upgraded features such as decorative inserts in “Iridium Printed” and elegant seat covers in “Matera” fabric. In addition, there are comfort seats in front with pockets on the seat backrests, manual lumbar supports and electric backrest adjustment (driver’s side).
|VW Passat Estate|
Multifunctional leather steering wheel, leather gearshift grip and woven floor mats are also part of the standard programme. The RCD 310 radio-CD system with dual and digital tuners as well as MP3 playback function and 4 x 20 Watt power, AUX-IN multimedia port, automatic running light switching, automatically dimming rearview mirror, Park Pilot for front and rear areas, safety-optimised head restraints with additional longitudinal adjustment and rain sensor complete the Comfortline features. The VW Passat Comfortline is offered with engine with a maximum power level of up to 208hp.
|Doors open wide for easier access|
The top of the range Highline version comes fitted as standard with large 17-inch “Michigan” alloy wheels, chrome strips in the area of the lower air intakes and glossy black roof pillars. In addition, chrome-framed front fog lights with static turning lights, heated windscreen washer nozzles and tyre pressure monitoring indicator offer a plus in safety. The Passat Estate Highline can be recognised by its silver roof rails. Its interior features decorative inserts in “Brushed Aluminium” (or genuine wood), “Premium” Multifunctional Display with multi-coloured display, stainless steel door sill plates with “Passat” signature, electric lumbar and backrest adjustment on the driver’s seat, seats in Alcantara / leather with seat heating in front and automatic climate control (Climatronic), which perfect the car’s ambience and comfort. The VW Passat Highline can be ordered with any engine in the lineup.
Optional equipment an all versions include new panorama tilt/slide sunroof for the Estate (Saloon: tilt/slide glass roof or solar roof), assistance systems (such as ACC plus Front Assist with city emergency braking function, Dynamic Light Assist, Lane Assist or Side Assist), navigation systems (RNS 315 and RNS 510), the audio systems “Dynaudio Confidence” (600 Watt) and “Volkswagen Sound” (300 Watt) as well as TV reception for the RNS 510 radio-navigation system. Another plus when it comes to convenience is offered by the DCC adaptive chassis control (saloon and Estate) as well as the fully automatic ride leveling (Estate). Providing for proper organisation of the bootspace are the Cargo Management Pack and Cargo Space Partition Pack. The Travel Comfort Pack is a chapter in itself. It includes a 230-Volt outlet in the rear seating area, folding door mirrors, anti-theft warning system, four reading lamps with chrome bezels, automatically dimming rearview mirror, automatic running light, Park Assist, rain sensor and noise-damping front side windows in composite safety glass.
|With stylish new LED Bi-xenon headlamps|
Prices for the Saloon start at £18,170 (Kshs 2.5 million excluding taxes) to £22,000 (Kshs 3.2 million excluding taxes) while prices for the Estate start at £20,030 (Kshs 3 million excluding taxes) for the entry level to £24,280 (Kshs 3.5 million excluding taxes) for the top of the range model. In Kenya the new Passat Comfortline Saloon is on sale at a price of Kshs 4.7million.