A German best seller, Volkswagen’s Passat has a stature of its own. But would it be enough to carve a niche in the premium saloon segment especially in a market like India is what we are here to find out?
The premium car segment in India is primary dominated by the Japanese (Honda with the Accord and Toyota with Camry) while there is a Czech in the picture (Skoda Superb) and then there is this one (Volkswagen’s Passat). That said, can a German besides Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi grab the imagination of an aspiring Indian consumer is exactly what we intend on finding out with the recently re-introduced Volkswagen Passat.
With a whole lot of history behind it, the Passat has enjoyed its fair share of fan following globally however when it comes to a market like ours it somehow has not been able grab the attention that ideally it deserves. To change that Volkswagen India with a boarder perspective in mind have gone along and brought in the 8th Generation Passat. Launched last year, the Volkswagen Passat is all about elegant lines and a stately stature.
I still recollect the previous generation of the Passat that looked quite similar to its younger sibling the Volkswagen Jetta. The front was something that we had seen earlier while the rear with its distinctive design compensated for the similarity. But come 2017, that aspect has given way to a new design as the New Volkswagen Passat has sleek nose up front that comprises of a chrome grille, full LED headlamps with running DRL’s, fogs lamps and a muscular bonnet. Onto the sides, smooth lines form the focal point out here. Presence of 17inch alloy wheels further enhances the appeal. Meanwhile the rear in sync with the rest of a the propositions stands to provide LED tail lamps with a simple boot lid below which is a slightly carved out rear bumper. Overall in relation to the previous design, the new one will be much more appealing to those who would like to seek this particular sedan.
There is something really classy about a VW. This can be seen in terms of the way the cabin is designed. For that, the 2017 Volkswagen comes with an all black interior that boosts of superior built quality. Be it plastics or the fit and finish, the consumer is ensured to get their due for the price of this one. In this, I like the treatment given to the dash for example the single air conditioning vent running right across is a major highlight to look out for. So is the touchscreen infotainment system with its 8 speakers ensures that the users get un-compromised sound quality. Features like Bluetooth, Aux-In, USB port alongside Android Auto and Apple Car Play make it to the Passat. To add more to the list, this screen also doubles up as a navigation device and a reverse camera. In case you’re the kind who is concerned about the sheer size of your vehicle and its safety then the Passat offers front and side cameras that provide a 360 degree view while being on the move. In fact the Dynamic Chassis Control on this sedan allows one to tweak the suspension as per the terrain requirement. Options to choose from include modes like Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sports and Individual.
From a comfort point of view, the black leather upholstery looks and feels great. Personally since I prefer driving myself, I really liked the snug fit seats that hold your body in one position rather than sliding away especially while take those tight corners. Flat bottom steering wheel which has now become a common sight in all Volkswagen’s sold across the country feels well weighted as well as responsive. Space wasn’t really an issue earlier and this time around too there is ample of head, shoulder and legroom for occupants seated upfront and towards the rear. With a panoramic sunroof thrown in there are nine airbags on offer and so is ABS, ESP, Park Assist, Hill Start Assist, Auto Hold Function among others as safety features. For short and long getaways the Passat offers 586 litres of luggage space with a unique boot open function which can be operated by a mere shake of the leg.
What about performance you might ask? Well the 2018 Volkswagen Passat comes fitted with the tried and tested 2.0 litre TDI diesel engine, which is capable of producing 175 bhp with 350 Nm of torque. Unlike before, Volkswagen has done away with “Blue Motion Technology” which was supposed to advocate the German automakers outlook towards a safer and a green environment. With that not being there, the 1968cc 4 cylinder Turbocharged Common rail direct injection diesel engine is quite nice to drive. The burst of power comes the moment you cross 1500 rpm and it goes all the way up to redline that is 4,500 rpm. With world renowned DSG (direct shift gearbox) on board, the Volkswagen Passat offers a great drive with seamless gearshifts. This can further we spiked up via the use of pedal shifters that allow the driver to extract more power from the power plant as per their preference. However one draw back in this entire scenario is the engine noise which was un-heard of earlier but now is very much prevalent as it can be heard inside the cabin the moment the engine is held by its neck for out right power.
That said for a greater driving pleasure, there is Dynamic Chassis Control that allows one to choose from Economy Mode to Comfort, Normal, Sports and Individual depending upon the need of the hour. The ride quality feels a bit harsh especially while taking on uneven and broken surfaces where the suspension can be heard making a noise significantly. Those who are concerned about fuel efficiency, then let us tell you that this particular 2.0 litre unit is known for it mileage figure that stands at 17.42 kmpl as claimed by Volkswagen India. We were not able to calculate the exact figure due to its short stint with us however we believe that it would be around that much.
Almost a year gone by since its introduction, the 2018 Volkswagen Passat has been reviewed by many publications. Having gone through rigorous testing what actually pulled us towards it was the looks and comfort. However the actual icing on the cake was its engine performance. Up against the likes Toyota Camry, Honda Accord Hybrid and Skoda Superb, the Passat has its own image to run by subtle and stately. In our view a sedan of this type would be well suited to those who like being driven around town. For them the odd out station trip becomes an excuse to get behind the wheel to enjoy the actual potential of this machine on an open highway. While on a day-to-day use travelling in comfort is the wisest thing to do.
Coming back to the original question is the Volkswagen Passat worth buying? Well to answer that question let us take into account the all-important aspect that is pricing. Out of competition, the Skoda Superb is cheapest with a price range INR 25.34 – 32.73 lakhs followed by Toyota Camry INR 29.75 – 37.22 lakhs then Volkswagen Passat INR 29.99 – 32.99 lakh while the Honda Accord Hybrid is the most expensive at INR 43.21 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). Closest of the two Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat although belong to the same family but have very different traits each of which would have their respective set of takers. But for now, we are sold on the Passat and feel that it will be able to carve a niche for itself in the Indian car market.