Volkswagen aims to take over the world’s number on car maker tag from earlier Toyota and now General Motors. However for this they need to make big time amendments and deliver thrilling vehicles like the Volkswagen Sirocco. However in a bid to Americanize things, Volkswagen have lost their touch. A classic example is the 2012 Volkswagen Passat. In a bid to make this car seem more American rather than German, Volkswagen have made it look like the mighty Camaro. Well, don’t believe me? Take a hard look at the Camaro and then the Passat and you would come to know what I am talking about. Today, I have got the 2012 Volkswagen Passat for a review and here is the report of the same.
The 2011 Jetta has vastly influenced the design language of the 2012 Passat and that is for sure seeing the heads on design language. However the Passat looks a lot more wider than its smaller sibling. The head lamps have a bluish tinge to them and are much bigger than the Jetta’s unit. The grille is overshadowed by the big Veedub logo. The fog lamps are placed higher above the lip spoiler and they are of the bisecting kinds. There is a bigger glass area as also a white faced glass. The wing mirrors are big and have the turn indicators embedded in them. From the side profile, the Passat looks like the same old earlier Passat right down to the alloy wheels. For the rear profile. Inspiration has been taken from the Audi A4, for its tail lamps. A single chrome lining cuts the rear bumper. However having a single tail pipe is a disappointing feature for a vehicle which would go heads on with the Accord.
Oh well, the interiors aren’t Americanized and hence this is a big relief that the Passat maintains its roots somewhere or the other. Whilst the Jetta resorted to cheaper quality materials, the Passat has thankfully retained its earlier high quality plastic. The Passat designers were briefed that this car should have a soft touch to all the surfaces that would be constantly in touch with the driver or occupants. Hence the upper surface of the dash as also the ones near the door pads and front leg room feel ultra rich and smooth. However run your hand under the steering wheel and the plastics show that they are of the cheap variety. The multi function steering wheel in itself is leather wrapped as also tilt and telescopic. The Passat’s wheel base has also increased by 4 inches and all this extra length has gone to ensure that the rear seat passengers are the most comfortable lot in the house. The half wood trim in the central console emits a glare which can be quite distracting while driving with the panoramic sunroof open. Whilst the front perforated seats wouldn’t elicit any complaints, the rear ones are the ones to be seated, that is for the long journeys. Loads of legroom and perfectly angled seats ensure that you aren’t left wanting for anything in this car. As opposed to its regular suppliers, this time around Volkswagen have got Fender to design its sound system. The 400 watts sound is amplified via 9 speakers and is a fantastic unit. Earlier on, the Passat used to offer more than 130 different options however for the 2012 version, there are only 16 optional features. Boot space is still the same old capacity of 15 cubic feet.
Handling and ride quality
The earlier Passat wasn’t a great handler and the newer one doesn’t seek to remedy any of this either. Instead it focuses on giving the best ride quality in its class. The suspension is one of the costliest ones in this segment and is of the independent types with 4 links to it. It delivers the feeling of not being overtly soft or even incredibly harsh. Since this is being touted as a family sedan, the handling takes backstage spot whereas the ride quality is put at the pedestal. Its steering wheel has got the right amount of feel however when enthusiastically going around a corner, one would definitely feel that this car rolls a fair bit. Its calm and composed manners ensure that things don’t have to be hurried around. NVH is also on the lower side of things and it would take a really enthusiastic hand to get the 2012 Volkswagen Passat to cry its lungs out.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
There are three engine options on offer for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat. There is a 2.5 liter 5 cylinder gasoline engine which makes 170 Hp of power and 177 pound feet worth of torque. Second engine option is actually a first for this segment and it is VW’s famous 2.0 liter TDI engine. This oil burner makes 140 Hp of power and torque worth of 236 pound feet. The third engine is the biggest one in here and it is the 3.6 liter V6 which makes 280 Hp of power and 258 pound feet of torque. While the diesel engine gets both a 6 speed manual and a DSG option, the other two gasoline engines make do with a 5 speed manual or DSG option. The larger V6 is offered only with the DSG option. The one I checked out was the 2.0 liter diesel with its DSG gearbox and what a fine combination it is. Initially, on papers, the power figures may seem lower however did I ever tell you that the peak torque kicks in as early as 1750 rpm. This means that the diesel is much fun to drive on the crowded San Diego streets. The diesel has a quickness which quickly hides its 3400 pounds kerb weight. The shifts from the DSG are the best to be experienced from any gearbox.
As far as brakes go, they are fantastic and reign in all the power that this motor makes. Coupled by ABS, EBD and also ESP, they shed power more rapidly. However the All wheel Motion or rather 4 wheel drive has been omitted from the equation. Safety features are also up there with the competition, though the 2012 model is yet to be crash tested.
Fuel efficiency of 44 mpg on the highway is what Volkswagen claim that one would achieve with the 2012 Passat model however EPA is yet to test this claim. As far as price goes, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat price starts from $19,146 for the base variant whereas the one with all the bells and whistles comes in under the $30k mark. Fairly priced as compared with the competition, I would say.