2017 Volkswagen Passat Road Test and Review
The mid-size passenger car market is showing some signs of growth and the Volkswagen Passat is definitely a competitor worth considering.
I had the most expensive and sportiest of the four wagon variants of the Passat - the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line.
Priced from $59,990, the R-Line delivers a great mix of fun and practicality.
Under the bonnet you will find a turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol engine that delivers a hefty 206kW and 350Nm.
Power comes on nicely and the Passat is certainly no slouch, particularly in the easy to select ‘Sports Mode’.
It also makes for a lovely tourer for long highway drives with the torque ably helping to propel the Volkswagen wagon up the hills at speed, even with a full load of adults on-board.
Easy is the word for this vehicle, driving it really is a simple affair.
The six-speed dual-clutch auto is also a good accompaniment to the engine and provides assistance when required and holds the different ratios nicely when more acceleration is required.
Perhaps the only noticeable negative with the transmission was a slight pause when finding reverse - a characteristic noticeable when trying to complete a quick three-point turn.
While I thought the engine stop/start system was a touch too enthusiastic with the Passat ‘switching off’ even while the vehicle was still moving.
This means when crawling forward while waiting for a gap in the traffic you need to wait that second (or less than?) for the engine to kick back in.
The stop/start system though can be easily turned off via the centre console button.
I’ve always been a fan of Volkswagen‘s steering feel and the Passat R-Line didn’t disappoint.
There is a sporty ‘drivers car’ feel across most of the German car brand’s vehicles and the sportiest Passat certainly carries that across nicely.
The 19″ alloy wheels on the R-Line variant come with 40 series tyres and these do tend to feel quite firm on the bumps and cracks.
From the driver’s seat the visibility in the current-edition Passat is excellent.
The A-pillars (the ones either side of the windscreen) carry a swept-back type shape that helps to maximize forward 3/4 visibility.
This is also aided by the front 3/4 type windows that allow for the wing-mirrors to be placed back slightly on the door.
Legroom and headroom throughout is also up to scratch for a mid-size wagon, as is the cargo space in the rear.
The Volkswagen Passat cabin has a quality feel and nice finish throughout and all the controls are nicely placed.
The highlight though is the fully digital instrument display or ‘virtual cockpit’.
Allowing you to select (via steering wheel controls) what you see in the large centre screen area is a handy feature that works really well.
Getting used to the controls, especially on the go, takes a bit of practice, so just be careful not to be distracted.
I also like the height-adjustable centre console armrest, that’s a nice feature as it allows you to set the height at just the right spot to maximize comfort, rather than a one-size fits all height that is usual in cars.
The lack of digital radio in this top-spec model was a disappointment, the access to all the other digital stations isn’t available even as an option.
Conversely, this grade of Passat carries an extensive list of standard features and this makes for a good value buy.
Summing it up; this is a very nice car that offers a great mix of sporty feel and dynamics with comfort and more than a touch of prestige.
The pricing seems a little high at first, however there’s no lack of standard features built in and this makes the 2017 Volkswagen Passat a genuinely good option for mid-size car buyers.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 206kW/350Nm (Euro 6 compliant)
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch auto
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $59,990