2016 Volkswagen Passat: VW Patriarch Makeover

Passat

Prices range from $23,295 (1.8TSI Trendline model) to nearly $40,000 for the high-end Execline.
(Photos: Stéphane Quesnel)

Volkswagen invited media-types to the launch of its 8th generation Passat, the favoured ride of many business executives, last October 23rd.

As late autumn snowflakes dotted the Vermont skyline, Volkswagen officials explained how it applied subtle styling cues to rejuvenate its stodgiest family member. By sharpening the Passat’s body creases and lines, Volkswagen hopes that the majority of North American buyers will be attracted to this ʺbeefierʺ version of the popular sedan.

As for Europeans, they are being treated to a sportier upgrade, which evolved from the CC, a model launched on these shores back in 2006. For those looking for a less ʺconservativeʺ ride, VW expects to launch its sporty ʺRʺ version next spring. This aggressive upgrade is perfect for young executives who wish to look the part.

The presentation that followed featured the designer responsible for the Passat interior, who proudly explained his contribution to the instrument panel: a combination of quality materials, resulting in an overall impression of luxury that can be seen and felt.

Quiet, Reassuring Ride

In these types of events, automotive journalists pair-up to share the wheel for some 100 kilometers or so. We cruised the scenic Vermont mountain roads, which were in full fall-colour mode, without raising our voices. The vehicle competently tackled the endless curves and switchbacks without a hitch, instilling driver confidence with every move. Without going as far as saying the Passat is in sport-sedan territory, the crisp, precise handling, adds to the overall pleasurable driving experience.

As for those who are looking for the latest and greatest on the technology front, Volkswagen’s newest technology offering is worthy of its own in-depth review. It all starts with a complete infotainment system as standard equipment, including a 6.3-inch screen and the capability to synchronize two phones, view photos, install apps, and listen to satellite radio… Each model version upgrade includes its own connectivity and convenience features, including navigation.

In addition to the equipment of the Comfortline and Highline versions, the top-of-the-line Execline version, which includes a 3.6 litre 280 horsepower 258 ft-lb torque VR6, LED headlamps, daytime running lights and tail lights, as well as numerous safety features such as Lane Assist, Park Assist and Park Distance Control, tops out the list at $38,295.

Volkswagen has added several innovative new safety features to this Passat. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System automatically prevents the car from veering into traffic or other objects and causing subsequent crashes. The system uses the airbag sensors to detect the initial accident and apply the brakes.

TECHNICAL SPECS:

Make: Volkswagen

Model: 2016 Passat

Engines: 1.8 L/3.6 L

Power: 170 hp/280 hp

Torque: 184 ft-lb/258 ft-lb

Transmissions: 5-speed manual or 6-speed auto./6-speed dual-clutch auto.

Estimated fuel economy ratings: 9.4 L (city) 6.4 L (highway)/11.9 L (city) 8.5 L (highway)

 

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