2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport | road test

Posted on Feb 13, 2014 by
2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding
AEDAED 90,999 - 120,000
  • 0/5 Avg. User Rating

  • Rated 0 stars
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  • Sport
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 10, 2014
  • Exterior
    Editor: 70%
  • Interior
    Editor: 80%
  • Quality
    Editor: 80%
  • Features
    Editor: 90%
  • Performance
    Editor: 85%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 90%

Review Summary:

The VW Passat might not be the most obvious choice for a large family car or executive saloon, but look beyond the flat styling and you will find that this car ticks all the boxes. It's an untapped gold mine of driving pleasure and practicality.

Pros

Extremely reasonable price tag
Brilliant fuel economy

Cons

Walnut interior trim

Introduction and summary

There are some cars that have about them a certain je ne sais quoi, cars that when you see one you go weak in the knees and proceed to drool all over your shirt. Cars like the Ford Mustang, Golf GTi, and BMW M3 are but three members of this exclusive club. They are cars that when you hear their names you go “Yeah”. Of course for every car that makes this list, there are 10 that don’t. They are just anonymous appliances that were designed, produced, sold, rescinded, and forgotten. Historically, one of these cars was indeed the very one you see here; the Passat. An affordable executive saloon-cum-large-sized family car that got nobodies pulses racing at all.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport front

With flat styling and no real sense of character, the Passat was as anonymous as the Invisible Man, coasting up the middle lane blissfully unaware of even its own existence. Until now…

Comfort and practicality

Before you have time to inspect your material surroundings and investigate how many secret compartments there are, the first thing you do in any new car is judge the driving position. This goes beyond simply adjusting the seat, you have to make sure all is well with regards to reach, steering wheel distance (especially if there is no telescopic adjustment) and so on. The Passat was, in this regard, perfectly faultless. Without being able to explain exactly why, the driving position seemed to have been designed with me specifically in mind. The part-leather seats are ferociously comfortable, and there are acres of space in both the front and back.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport interior

On a practical level, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport is easy to park, thanks to a rear-view camera and the boot space is large enough for a months worth of shopping; 450 litres.

Features

The various instruments are similar to that of Touareg, with elegant chrome detailing running and hither and thither. There are plenty of features on offer, as you can imagine, and they are all operated with ease. There is nothing original about the location of the switches and knobs, but why change what works? Cruise control is operated from the tip of the indicator stalk and you can choose what information you want to have on display between the speedo and rev counter.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport side

The satellite navigation system is brilliant. If you are looking for somewhere but don’t have the exact address details, you can scroll around the map and point to where you want to go with your finger. The touchscreen will then calculate the route.

Volkswagen has gone to a lot of trouble to make the inside of the Passat as peaceful as possible, tricks such as an acoustic film being integrated with the laminated safety glass makes a difference.  My favourite feature in this area was the wind breaker that pops up when you open the sunroof, the wind noise that it cuts out is simply staggering. It’s one of those simple bits of engineering that makes you ask why it didn’t exist in the 1980’s.

Performance, ride, and handling

I was let loose with the range-topping Passat Sport, which boasts a 2.5 litre straight-4 engine with 170 horses squeezed into the cylinders. Statistics claim that 0-100kp/h can be done in 9 seconds; I had it dealt with in 8. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Passat is a superb car to drive. The suspension is firm, yet deals with road humps as if they weren’t there. The power delivery from the engine is rapid and smooth, and if you really give it the beans it lets off a coarse roar as well.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport rear

The latest Passat has a slightly longer wheelbase than before, and usually this would dampen a car’s handling characteristics; not here. The Passat deals with all manner of corners in much the same way as the Golf. Without wishing to sound like some mad sycophant, its drives like a dream.

Cost

Before we look at the price of the Passat, let us have a brief discussion about fuel economy; a boring yet increasingly relevant factor in the car-choosing process. Volkswagen claims that the Passat will use 7.4 litres of fuel every 100km. Well, I can tell you first hand that that figure is wrong. Try 6 litres. Yep, I drove it like I stole it, thrashing it (sorry, VW) as much as the law would permit. I used the manual override to long shift and red-line as much as I could and still it refused to waste fuel. In the four days I had it I filled it once, and even then it still had some left. Economically speaking, this car is immense.

2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport badge

The entry S model, aimed at the more corporate customer, will set you back a reasonable AED 90,999. With this you still get a lot of goodies, including Bluetooth with voice command, ABS, and curtain airbags. The Sport, as tested here, is closer to AED 120,000, still a reasonable price for the car you get.

Verdict

The Passat is in a very tough category of car, especially in the Middle East. Here in the UAE the majority of rival saloons on the roads are the Honda Accord and the hateful Toyota Camry. These Japanese rivals are much cheaper when you compare the top of the line models, but they are, frankly, nowhere near as good as the Passat.

Nothing’s perfect, and in the Passat there were one or two things that I didn’t particularly like, such as walnut interior trim. I also could not get the Bluetooth to work with my phone, and the cable connector provided was for a different iPhone to one I have. But forget that for a moment. Here we have a car that, although it will never be a classic, looks fairly good, handles and drives fantastically well, is more spacious than you can imagine, is packed with standard features, is reasonably priced, and has the fuel range of an Airbus A380.

It might not have the looks of a Mustang or the popularity of an M3, but by thunder will you be happy with it.

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