One of the most impressive highlights of this premium sedan is its ride-handling balance. Let’s face it, not many SUVs can give you the driving pleasure of a sedan. After all, that low centre of gravity counts for a lot dynamically. The obvious advantage of the body style aside, the Passat’s suspension is also setup slightly on the firm side. During our test, when we pushed the car around the circuit, it was extremely well behaved – especially for a premium sedan focused on luxury.
While the handling is impressive, it does compromise a little on the way it rides on rough roads, but not enough to make it a concern. The steering, although light, has better feedback than some of the other cars in the segment. The Passat feels equally fantastic from the rear seat. Not only does it have acres of space at the back but also a large 586-litre boot that can easily gobble up luggage for a week-long road-trip. Neatly designed and well built, the cabin is luxurious and sophisticated.
Years of developing the Passat’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is clearly evident, as it’s extremely refined and quiet – so-much-so that you can barely hear it in the cabin. There is slight lag at low revs, but once you get past that it feels quite eager. A lot has been said about Volkswagen’s DSG gearbox. It’s easily amongst the best automatic gearboxes in this price range, period. Driving, and living with, the Passat for a few days was indeed a wholesome experience. Entry-level luxury sedans are few and far between these days, but cars like the Passat are flag-bearers for sedans – a reminder of how a car can do almost everything right and still make it seem effortless.