Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Quality Car Should Not Be Passat By

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Quality Car Should Not Be Passat By

Article excerpt

Byline: By Malcolm Robert-Shaw

The emergence of large MPVs such as the Renault Espace, Ford Galaxy and VW Sharan was thought by some to signal the beginning of the end for the estate car.

In fact, rumours of the demise of the traditional load-lugger proved foundless, with car makers following the line of those established wagonmasters Volvo and continuing to produce ever more comfortably accommodating station wagons.

One of my favourite examples of the estate car genre is the Volkswagen Passat, which has recently had something of a facelift in an attempt by the Wolfsburg car maker to fend off ever-increasing competition in this hotly contested family and junior exec marketplace.

Quality abounds in this sector, with the likes of the Vauxhall Vectra, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis, Mazda6, Honda Accord and the new Peugeot 407 all highly accomplished. Now Volkswagen has cranked the bar up even higher by offering more value for less of the folding stuff in a Passat range which is available in both saloon and estate car guise.

The latest addition to the line-up is the Passat Highline, which has been created to fit between the SE and Sport derivatives and, while the new kid on the block is pounds 150 dearer than the SE Estate, it does come with some pounds 1,780 worth of extra standard kit, which includes full leather upholstery with heated front seats, air con, CD autochanger, heated windscreen washer jets, rear parking sensors and special 15-inch alloys with anti-theft bolts.

All this is in addition to the generous standard kit levels provided on board the entry-level Passat Estate S, which weighs in at pounds 17,540 and includes electronic climate control, eight-speaker sound system, multi-function computer, electric windows all round, electrically adjustable and heater door mirrors and the rest.

The test car was the range-topping Passat Highline TDI, powered by the VW 130bhp 1.9 diesel engine, a powerful and economical piece of kit which will take you and yours from 0-62mph in under 12 seconds and return, depending upon individual driving styles, just under 40mpg over the combined driving cycle.

Mated to a Tiptronic five-speed automatic transmission, it gives you the best of both worlds ( effortless smooth-switching auto gear-changing or, with a flick of the lever across the gate, clutchless manual sequential selection in Formula 1 driving style. …

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