2018 Volkswagen Passat Review
Car Tested: 2018 Volkswagen Passat; Road Test No. 877; Test Location: Udaipur
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 35.42 – 39.07 Lakhs
The Volkswagen Passat is definitely a capable and practical German premium sedan but a tad too overpriced
Volkswagen currently sells mostly mass-market cars in India like the Polo, Ameo and Vento, but we all know that the German automaker entered the Indian market more than a decade back with offerings like the Passat that were slotted in the premium segment. While the company replaced the older Passat with the new generation after some years, the premium sedan was then discontinued from the market owing to lack of sales, largely due to a lot of competition in the same price range. Now, VW is back in the premium segment with the 8th generation Passat which has just been launched in India. But, is it as exciting as the older one? Does it even stand a chance in the market now? Time to find out.
Motor Quest: The Volkswagen Passat is now in its eighth generation and has come to India a couple of years after the older generation was discontinued. Volkswagen had showcased the sedan at the 2016 Auto Expo but it somehow took them 1.5 years to launch it here and the Indian market gets only the diesel variant, at least for now.
Exteriors – The exteriors of the eighth generation Volkswagen Passat exude a sense of simplicity and no-frills styling. The face of the sedan combines sharp looking LED headlamps and fog lamps with the bold, familiar VW grille. The bumper gets chrome inserts which lend a premium feel, and the lower part of the bumper gets a slight tinge of sportiness. The side profile is rather plain, with a thick crease running across the waistline, while the C-pillar looks noticeably large.
The alloy wheels don’t look as boring as some of the newer offerings from the VAG group, thankfully. The rear is typical VW fare, with a bulky bumper and boot-lid showcasing the car’s rather generous dimensions. The design of the Passat isn’t something that’ll get your heart racing. It is the most suitable for those who like a minimalistic approach, while people who want to make a bold and youthful statement might not fancy it.
Interiors – The same sense of premiumness and simplicity is carried forward to the cabin. The dashboard again has a functional design but what catches the eye is the styling of the upper part of the dash which looks strikingly similar to some newer Audis. The steering wheel is similar to the one found on the Polo, Ameo, Vento and Tiguan, and I feel Volkswagen could’ve at least provided a differently styled wheel. However, I’m not complaining, because this wheel itself feels good to hold and is pretty intuitive to use. All the controls are within easy reach of the hand and the quality of most interior components is classy and feels rich.
The infotainment system on the Passat is high-tech and gets some cool tricks
The front seats offer extremely good levels of comfort and support, with lower back and under thigh support being very nice. The driver’s seat gets a memory function along with a massage function while both the front seats get a heated function, which I doubt anyone will use in India. The rear seat has more than enough knee room for two passengers, while the middle passenger will obviously face discomfort due to the large transmission hump. Shoulder space is decent enough, but if you’re really going to stuff 3 adults at the rear, they might not be very pleased, because the bolstering at the edges of the rear seats seems to be designed in a way that would suit 2 people sitting comfortably at the rear. I even found the under thigh support at the rear to be just about average. While the AC chills the front in no time, I found the rear AC vents taking their sweet own time to chill the cabin.
On the equipment front, the Volkswagen Passat gets a touchscreen infotainment system which churns out good quality audio and the display itself is very fluid. You also get a Park Assist feature which is useful because this sedan is pretty long. Other features include a sunroof, start-stop button, keyless entry, LED headlamps which have a very good throw, LED tail lights, gesture-operated trunk lid, multiple safety features which we’ll discuss in the latter part of the review and of course the 60:40 split rear seats which allow you to store a lot of cargo in the cabin, in addition to the already large boot.