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VW Passat: a driver’s car

Driving Volkswagen Passat sedan – the flagship 206TSi R-Line priced at $57,990. This is a 2.0-litre turbo medium sports sedan with all-wheel- drive, full leather trim, tri-zone air-con, an impressive 12.3 inch digital instrument panel, Sat Nav, 19-inch alloy wheels and an 8-inch colour infotainment touch screen. With six-speed dual-clutch automatic, an adaptive suspension and with five different driving modes it’s in many way a match for its dearer German premium competition – cars like the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. What stood out for me was the premium feel of the interior, very inviting and comfortable – high points : quality fit and finish, great paint and super smooth performance – the turbo 2-litre engine with 350 Nm of torque between 1700 and 5600 revs, the same engine fitted to the hot Golf R hatch, is a gem, a very satisfying performer and it works well with the dual clutch automatic which showed no hesitation in operation like earlier examples of this type I’ve tested. Of all the bad publicity Volkswagen received over the last 18 months since its diesel emissions scandal the local company has weathered the storm well with sales down 5.8 per cent in the first quarter.

Other European imports have fared worse – Audi and BMW are down around 15 percent, Peugeot and Citroen by around 41 per cent and Volvo by 20 percent. The VW Passat 206TSi R-line is a driver’s car, as I said it may not have then badge presence or cachet of the premium German cars but it’s a match for them in driving performance at a lower price. I’m David Berthon

 

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