Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hi-Tech and Affordable

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hi-Tech and Affordable

Article excerpt

Byline: BRUCE BOOTH

IT'S quite amazing just how far car technology has moved on in the last couple of decades or so.

Advanced systems such as traction control, electronic differential lock, hill descent, advanced braking systems, adaptive cruise control, lane control, automatic parking, not forgetting sat nav and highly-sophisticated infotainment systems. How did we manage without them? Then a couple of years back, Volkswagen really turned the screw on the highly-competitive family-sized car market with the introduction of their all new Passat, which came in both saloon and estate variants.

For these beauties were then the most refined and highly-technical vehicles ever to be produced by the mega German brand.

Who would have thought less than 10 years ago, when the seventh-generation Passat was first hitting the streets, that its replacement would offer items such as predictive pedestrian protection using a camera to detect pedestrians and which would automatically activate a full emergency stop if someone walked off a pavement in front of the car.

Or what about trailer assist, which would steer a caravan or trailer into a given space without any input from the driver, other than them controlling the vehicle's speed.

Then there's traffic jam assist, which would take over control of the car in stop-start traffic at speeds up to around 40mph, slowing the vehicle down to a complete stop when necessary, while also preventing the car from "wandering" out of its lane.

Another first for the Passat was the emergency assist, which would activate should a driver become ill.

If repeated requests from the lane assist system for the driver to resume control failed to have any effect, the system would take over and ensure a controlled stop inside the lane in which the car was travelling.

Highly-technical stuff indeed, and all available in a mass-produced, affordable family vehicle, not in a hand-built luxury machine. …

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