Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI 272 R Line 4MOTION 5dr DSG
No surprises. Solid, safe and sensible is the name of the game here. You’re somehow already predisposed to expect a high-quality drive, and the new Passat doesn’t disappoint. Handling is ultra-reliable, body control faultless: it’s not at all playful but is completely predictable and stable.
Saying that, it’s not perfect. The popular 150bhp diesel isn’t quite up there with the best, and there’s a bit of thump from the suspension on bigger wheels. We noticed a bit of wind whistle too. Oh, and while the suspension is probably actually tauter than a Ford Mondeo or Mazda 6, you get more feel for what’s going on in the rivals. You’ll probably enjoy driving those more.
Oddly enough, the least sporting Passat is the best one to drive – the Alltrack. It rides 20mm higher, but stays flat with cornering and its taller tyre sidewalls take the edge off the ride’s harsher edges. It’s a great hidden gem of a car. It's only available with the dependable 2.0 TDI engine, but it feels utterly fit for purprose here. Try it once and don’t ever think twice about a Tiguan again. The Alltrack might actually be the best car that VW makes right now.
On the other hand, the Passat that purports to be the sportiest – the GTE – is the least satisfying to drive. Punch the GTE mode button and you’ve got 218bhp on tap and 0-62mph in a very un-Passat 7.6 seconds. The engine makes pleasant growly noises and there’s a proper sense it’s being assisted by the instant punch of electricity. The gearbox shifts imperceptibly. It feels stout and punchy enough for overtakes that would make a 320d sweat.
Problems? Obviously it’s heavy. Weight isn’t confirmed yet but expect not much change from 1.8 tonnes. No car I’ve driven this year emitted so much tyre squeal in the corners from such low speed. The steering’s nicely weighted and the GTE turns in flat, but it’s out of sorts being hustled. The hybrid is all about the running costs, you see. Stay tuned for the owning section. But first, a look inside.
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