It’s a launch mired in an unfolding diesel emissions scandal. However, Volkswagen are hoping that their all-new 2016 Passat range will be the first success to help them move past a difficult 2015.
Attractively-priced from the mid-$30,000s, the Volkswagen enters a crowded field of high-quality family sedans and wagons. It’s a group that includes the segment-leading Mazda 6, the Ford Mondeo, the Subaru Liberty, and the Hyundai Sonata.
The B8 Passat is an all-new generation for the familiar badge, though the looks are more evolutionary than revolutionary. It’s more handsome than ever before, particularly in wagon form.
Both body styles have among the best practicality in the mid-size class. The sedan’s boot is cavernous—larger than a Commodore’s, at 586 litres. That’s short of the wagon’s 650 litres with the rear seats in place; without those, it expands to an enormous 1,780 litres for all sorts of hauling capability.
With the entry-level Passat now $4,000 cheaper than the old car, it shouldn’t be hard for Volkswagen to convince buyers to jump into one of the two engines. The first is the 132TSI—a 132kW single-turbo 1.8-litre petrol making 250Nm of torque through a seven-speed DSG double-clutch automatic.
Diesel power is also available with the 140TDI. This diesel engine is brand new and has nothing to do with the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal. The donk makes 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque through a six-speed DSG.
The base 132TSI ($34,990 for the sedan; $36,990 for the wagon) is well-equipped. There’s satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Impressively, the base car gets three-zone climate control, while it runs on 17-inch alloy wheels and sports daytime running lights.
Stepping up to the mid-range 132TSI Comfortline is a $5,000 premium for both the sedan and wagon. Power is unchanged, while inside it sports a larger 8-inch Discover Pro media system and leather seats. The Comfortline also sports advanced safety technology, in the form of autonomous emergency braking (from a high 65km/h), blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and active cruise control.
Forgetting the navigation and leather, you can add those safety features to the basic Passat for $1,800. All Passats enjoy a five-star Euro NCAP crash rating and nine airbags.
The 140TDI diesel ($45,990 for the sedan; $47,990 for the wagon), is only available as a range-topping Highline model. For the additional outlay, you receive additional chrome detailing outside alongside LED tail lights and 18-inch alloys. Inside, the Highline steps up to Nappa leather with heating, and a multicolour instrument display.
Stepping up to the 132TSI Comfortline is a $5,000 premium for both sedan and wagon. Engine stays the same; new equipment includes the 8-inch Discover Pro multimedia system, leather, auto brakes from 65 down (good), blind spot warning, lane departure warning, RCTA, active cruise. Cheap for all that.
Those safety features can be added to the 132TSI base line for an additional $1,800.
The 140TDI diesel (45990 sedan 47990 wagon) is only available as a range-topping Highline trim. The Highline gets additional chrome styling outside, LED tail lights with different graphics, 18s, Nappa leather + heating, multi coloured instrument display.
2016 Volkswagen Passat: Australian price
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