Reviews

2016 Volkswagen Passat Driving Impressions


It’s true that this made-for-and-in-America Passat is a little softer than its European counterpart, something that’s provoked a bit of disdain by some of the hotshoes at enthusiast magazines.

It’s true that feline responses are an advantage in emergency situations, but not every car has to be a track star; this is a family sedan, after all. Ride quality is supple, and there’s a little more body roll than you’d get in a BMW 3 Series, for example. On the other hand, there’s autobahn development in this car’s heritage, and it’s readily apparent, with the kind of stability required for running at 120 mph.

Of course, you’re not likely to be doing 120 on your daily commute, or carting the kids to school. But stability is as welcome at 60 mph as it is at autobahn speeds. Moreover, while the suspension is tuned toward the comfort side of the ledger, the Passat’s responses in quick maneuvers are prompt, braking performance is stronger than most cars in this class, and interior noise is low at all speeds.

Power from the 1.8-liter turbo is respectable, sufficient for the cut and thrust of daily commuting as well as passing on two-lane highways. If you have a need for speed, the VR6 trims 0-to-60 mph times, albeit at a pretty hefty price.

About the only dynamic element that could use a little work is the electric steering, which is vague and over-assisted below about 50 mph. But that’s a criticism that applies to many contemporary sedans, a trait that drivers adapt to with familiarity.

In the main, the Passat is satisfying to drive, inspiring confidence as the miles accumulate and providing comfort in any run, short or long.

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