By AZLAN RAMLI
WHEN the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat (B8) was officially launched in Malaysia back in November 2016, it came with a slogan: “As Advanced As You Are”.
I had no idea what that slogan actually meant, and I was too lazy to ask the perpetually-stern Volkswagen people.
Maybe I didn’t understand it because I am an old-fashioned(ish) kind of guy. Maybe it’s because I still buy DVDs. Or maybe it’s due to my still not knowing how to use TikTok.
Alamak, maybe it’s all of the above!
Anyway, let’s look at this Passat featured here today (the Highline variant, specifically). It is still is as fresh today as it was three years ago, and five years after its European launch.
It may not be as flashy as many of its rivals, but I’ve always seen and by now, believed, that the understated, simple-but-tasteful designs last much longer than those looks that follow current trends and tastes.
Even better, the Passat not only is nice on the outside. Like what VW Malaysia boss had said back in 2016, that the current Passat is the “perfect embodiment of style and performance”; its design combining exclusivity with exceptional dynamics, whilst its performance comes with the perfect balance of power and practicality.
There’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with a six-speed direct shift gearbox (the same pair in the Golf GTI, by the way), combining to produce 217hp and 350Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,400rpm, with a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.7 seconds.
Due to the kind of hardware and power it has, this car has that wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing qualities. It may look like a dull, “normal” saloon, but step on it and it moves and handles like a long and a bit pudgy Golf GTI.
It’s just the car for those who have to stick to a saloon, but still have that fire in them for the occasional spirited drive.
The Passat’s infotainment system gives drivers diverse connectivity options and easier navigation.
The cutting-edge Active Info Display system has a high-resolution, completely digital instrument cluster in place of the traditional instrumentation, is interactive and fully customisable.
There is a pre-set of five different themes and different modes tailored to the driver’s personal needs – Classic, Eco Mode, Driving Assistance Mode, Fuel Consumption Mode and Navigation Mode.
Other features include a wide range of connectivity options through a touchscreen display, while the head unit also supports the rear-view camera interface and complete car menu and infotainment system.
A MirrorLink system simplifies smartphone operations for added driving convenience.
This Passat has a Start/Stop function, regenerative braking and aerodynamic design as part of its superior fuel efficiency package.
By now, we all know what the Start/Stop feature is about.
Regenerative braking recycles the lost energy by storing it and using it for acceleration.
Low rolling resistance tyres are fitted to give the Passat overall energy and fuel efficiency.
All that power (again, same engine-gearbox combo as in the Golf GTI) are useless and/or simply reckless without the safety features to complement our varied driving skills.
Therefore, the Passat is equipped with a long list of safety features: Adaptive Chassis Control, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA), Anti-skid Regulator (ASR), Anti-theft alarm system with immobiliser, interior monitoring and towing protection, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Driver Alert System (Rest Assist), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Differential Lock (XDS)*, Engine Drag Torque Control (EDTC), hill-hold control, Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), lane assist, speed-sensitive electro-mechanical power steering, tyre pressure loss indicator, six airbags, anti-pinch power windows and Isofix anchorage points for child seats.
*Someone from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Germany explained it: “For XDS, one needs to know a bit more about the technology’s German background.
“In German, Electronic Differential Lock is Elektronische Differential-Sperre. The extended version is called Elektronische Quer-Differential-Sperre. Quer means ‘cross’ (and is often abbreviated with an ‘X’, even at Volkswagen Germany) – and there we have the XDS = Cross-Differential-Sperre (Lock).”
The Passat B8 was the first Volkswagen vehicle in Malaysia to have “Easy Open”, a keyless sensor-controlled boot that opens automatically by detecting your foot. The height of the boot opening can be adjusted as desired.
First of all, it’s very spacious for four adults. You don’t have to be an amputee to sit at the back, behind long-legged front occupants.
There is an assortment of aesthetic and functional features such as keyless entry and push start, leather multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters for easy manoeuvring.
Other features include auto-dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, auto power windows, “Climatronic” air-conditioning system with three-zone temperature control, that cool robotic Park Assist feature, Brilliant Pine-finished wood decorative inserts, “Vienna” combination leather seat upholstery, height adjustable armrest with rear air-cond vents and 12-way driver electric seat.
There are 18-inch “Dartford” alloy rims, and adaptive LED headlights too. The latter enhances the drivers’ view in all-weather conditions. An addition to this system is the headlamp washer system for convenience and improved visibility.
Like what Volkswagen Malaysia boss said then, the current Passat is the “perfect embodiment of style and performance”; its design combining exclusivity with exceptional dynamics, whilst its performance comes with the perfect balance of power and practicality.
Yes, this RM196,412 (on-the-road, excluding insurance) car really is “advanced”, by itself; nevermind me.
For that price – inclusive of five years warranty, three years free maintenance and five years roadside assistance, those impressive list of safety features, performance and looks; the Passat Highline is definitely worth considering.
Me, I’m seriously considering learning how to use TikTok now...