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“If it is so good why don’t we see more of them on the road,” asked my wife the other day as we were sailing down the expressway in the Volkswagen Passat. Fair question, and the obvious answer is the price. With cars like the A4 being heavily discounted and the transaction price between the Volkswagen Passat and the Audi A4 being so close, it’s little wonder that potential buyers are left scratching their heads, and not putting down their money at Volkswagen dealerships.
Well, there’s good news. Just as Ashok, Volkswagen’s jolly press-department driver arrived at the office to take back our long-term test Volkswagen Passat, my Inbox pinged with a press release on the Connect variant of the Volkswagen Passat. I’ll get to the telematics stuff in a bit, the thing that caught my eye were the prices. Obvious call then was made to the press department inquiring about the features that have been taken off the car, except nothing has been deleted.
So here’s the good news — the Volkswagen Passat now gets a telematic suite where, via the Volkswagen Connect app (on Android and Apple) and a dongle plugged into the car, you can track trips, fuel consumption, driving behaviour, make SOS calls, remember where you parked your car and, the best bit, it all costs four lakh rupees less than before. The Comfortline is now Rs 25.99 lakh while the Highline, that has been my ride for the past five months, is now Rs 28.99 lakh. And having lived with it I can tell you, taking four lakh rupees off of the sticker price does make the Volkswagen Passat a compelling buy in this segment.
Good things on the Volkswagen Passat? Comfort that doesn’t come at the expense of an enjoyable drive. The ride quality is brilliant for our Indian roads, letting you keep triple-digit speeds over our typical highways where the surface keeps varying and potholes jump at you without warning. At the same time the handling is also top notch, letting you carry solid speeds; the punch of the diesel engine making for great drive out of corners when you’re in the hills. Some colleagues have remarked about it being unexciting but then again this is a front-wheel drive car that has to do front and back seat comfort equally well. It isn’t an RS and the blend of the Volkswagen Passat’s abilities does place it at the top of the heap in its class. That said the DSG gearbox is very quick but there are times when an automatic will be smoother.
Other plus points? Good space. Great seats. Excellent refinement. Kick under the boot to open it. Very good fuel economy (one tank is good for two Pune-Mumbai-Pune runs). Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. A very good tone for the horn (doesn’t irritate you, makes others move off). And everything you’d want in terms of features, except I’d have preferred the cooled seats of the earlier Volkswagen Passat to the massage ones on this new one. Also, the headlights aren’t great, especially in the wet.
The biggest drawback was, of course, the price and now that it has been corrected I’m sure we will see more Volkswagen Passats on the road.