Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI Highline: Fashionably Luxurious
The old Volkswagen Passat echoed the traditional design of the marque’s line-up – the boxy and squarish look that floated right from the flagship Phaeton down to the baby Jetta.
But Volkswagen’s eighth generation mid-range luxury sedan sees nothing like its predecessor. It blends in with a tinge of sleekness and aesthetic appeal, especially when you see it from the front.
So since it looks sleeker (and better), has its drive and ride comfort improved from the old Passat? We took a drive recently to find out.
It’s still boxy, isn’t it?
Yes, the new B8 Passat still retains a certain angle of boxiness from the family’s line-up, but features many design aspects that are bound to win over the business executive.
For starters, the new Passat sits close to 15 mm lower than its predecessor, sporting a more aggressive stance with its nose angled forward. Together with Volkswagen’s daytime running lights, the Passat comes complete with sweeping LED signals, which undoubtedly will boost its aesthetic appeal to even the common bystander.
The rear of the car retains the same edgy look, but houses a new tail-lamp assembly. We thought it looked a little plain from the rear, given that all that’s present is the two lamp assemblies and a badge. But take a wider look and you’ll realise it fits perfectly with its side and front profile.
The interior looks extremely comfortable for a mid-sized sedan.
We have to admit that the new Passat now runs up almost on par with its German competitors.
Our test car was a Highline variant, and the interior felt extremely posh, with its seats wrapped in premium Nappa leather. It appeared much refined and upmarket compared to its predecessor, not discounting the fact that a beige interior would mean higher maintenance costs.
Up front, the Passat Highline presents you with Volkswagen’s “Discover Pro” infotainment touchscreen system, allowing you the comforts of integrated navigation, Bluetooth capability, as well as a reverse camera.
But what really caught our attention was the brushed aluminum finishing found on the door and dash trims. Chrome lines run across the width of the dash, meeting in the centre and leading it into a stylish clock that almost reminded us of the IWG in Mercedes’ C63S.
And to add on a touch of luxury, the Passat Highline offers you the comfort of a massaging seat (driver’s side only) with its egroComfort seat function. Not as detailed and stress-relieving as your masseuse from Kenko, but might just suffice for a short 30-minute window to ease that back knot.
So after that much talk, does it drive better than the old Passat?
In general, we thought that the steering responsiveness and cornering ability feels about the same (if not better) than its predecessor.
What stood out for us were perhaps the torque delivery, as well as the ride comfort. The B8 Passat, powered by just a 1.8-litre TSI turbocharged plant, puts out 178 horses and 250 Nm of torque.
While 250 Nm doesn’t seem too much for a mid-sized luxury sedan, the Passat gains speed faster than what you would expect, smoothly and seamlessly, of course.
These, paired with its seven-speed DSG transmission, allowed for quick and aggressive gear changes when we blipped the throttle in dynamic mode. But if you’re in the mood for a leisurely cruise, the B8 Passat delivers as impressively, allowing you to just sit back and enjoy.
From the passengers’ point of view, the new Passat is a huge improvement over the old sedan. The ride is seemingly smoother and more cushioned than before, exuding comfort and luxury with its excellent damping over rougher roads.
And to ensure that you can carry on a conversation without being disturbed by road noise, Volkswagen’s engineering of the Passat now ensures that wind and road noise are kept to a minimum.
And who would buy a Passat?
You have to admit that the Passat has never been an exhilarating ride, but it does stand alone as a sensible choice of sedan, and has its own appeal.
Yes, there are many options for a mid-sized luxury sedan out in the market, especially at the price range of approximately 155 grand.
But what sets the Passat apart from the rest would perhaps be the ergonomics of the car, as well as the sheer comfort it provides. It does stands out as fashionably luxurious for something in its class.
It would, perhaps, be the new face in the family sedan market that one should seriously consider.