The star feature has to be the Volkswagen Passat's Park Assist which, as the name suggests, will park the car for you. The technology can parallel park in spaces measuring less than one metre more than the car (to the left or right), and reverse park into spaces perpendicular to the road.
The Volkswagen Passat on test came with the 2.0 litre TDI 140PS diesel engine, mated to a 6 speed Direct Shift Gearbox, which is expected to be the best-selling model in the range. It offers a 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds, with a top speed of 132mph - or in the case of the test model, 131mph mated to the 6 speed DSG. The official fuel consumption figure on the combined cycle is 61.4mpg (54.3DSG) and CO2 emissions of 119g/km (135 DSG). We achieved a fuel consumption figure of between 40-50mpg during our time with the Volkswagen Passat.
We found the acceleration very smooth and lively when required, there is plenty of power available whether pulling out from a junction, from standstill or accelerating mid-range from 40 - 60mph up a hill; we were never left without ample power to complete the manoeuvre.
How It Drove - Ride/Handling
An enhanced version of the lightweight strut-type suspension with low-mounted wishbones and control arms at the front and a four-link rear suspension system is carried over from the previous generation Volkswagen Passat, and is combined with an electro-mechanical power-assisted steering system. This set up provides good overall handling capabilities; we were able to take on some nice bends with the car staying well composed. The steering is direct enough to provide feedback, without feeling too heavy.
As an option, the Volkswagen Passat can be ordered with Volkswagen's ACC adaptive chassis control system, enabling the driver to choose between three selectable suspension set ups - Normal, Sport and Comfort. As would be expected, the default mode is Normal, where the system is tuned for all-round general use, and is ideal for situations such as town driving. In Comfort mode, the damping is softened and steering assistance is increased. This mode is aimed at providing a comfortable ride at cruising speeds, such as on the dual carriageway or motorway. Finally, there's Sport mode, where steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and throttle responses are sharpened - during our time with the car, we generally kept the Volkswagen Passat in Sport mode due to it being the most rewarding and enjoyable driving mode.
Three sensors are responsible for monitoring the vehicle's behaviour up to 1000 times a second during braking, acceleration and cornering, reacting almost instantaneously to provide chassis agility and comfort. Alongside the chassis and suspension configurations, the Volkswagen Passat's electro-mechanical power steering will vary the feel and weight of the steering to suit the situation. For example when driving through town or during parking, the steering is light and easy to manoeuvre. At the other end of the scale, enthusiastic driving will result in firmer and more weighted steering. The system also includes a self-centring action which helps in situations such as crosswinds and steep road cambers.
Ease of Use
The star feature has to be the Volkswagen Passat's Park Assist which, as the name suggests, will park the car for you. The technology can parallel park in spaces measuring less than one metre more than the car (to the left or right), and reverse park into spaces perpendicular to the road. In order to complete the task, sensors are mounted at the front, rear and side of the Passat. When you are looking for a space at speeds less than 18mph, driving past a suitable location will activate the system, and you are notified to drive into the calculated starting position. Once there, you are told to engage reverse gear and then all that is required from you is to let go of the steering wheel and then just accelerate and brake as instructed. The manoeuvre generally takes around 15 seconds to complete.
Volkswagen Passat Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Volkswagen Passat SE 2.0 TDI 140|
|Colour||Island Grey metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||131 mph|
|Transmission||6 Speed DSG|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||62.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBC|
|Warranty||3 years / 60,000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 27/06/11)||£23,590|