The Passat has moved the game forward with its new common-rail engine which simply outclasses similar engines in key areas like performance, refinement and efficiency
The styling is a good start and unlike the conservative approach of the earlier Passats, the new one looks a lot more interesting. It still doesn’t have the flair of the 3-series or the street cred of a C-class, but the Passat with its sculpted look and taut surfaces does provide an air of sophistication. The Passat, known as the PQ46, is actually a stretched version of the Golf or PQ35 platform. It uses an electric steering system, all-independent suspension, ESP and eight airbags as well as the more modern common-rail diesel engine.
VW’s long-running Pumpe-Duse (PD) direct injection diesels are being replaced by more modern common-rail engines throughout their range. The main reasons for the switch are lower noise, better control over emissions and smoother running. PD is considered to be a mechanical system which has reached its limitations as it involves using one cam-driven pump per cylinder. This imposes limitations on the number of injections per stroke, injection timing, which is cam position dependant, and consistent fuel pressure. CRDi motors use a common high-pressure rail driven by a single pump that is independent of the motor’s cycles. This allows freedom to inject whenever and as many times as desired, making common-rail a more precise system.
The interiors are classy; something we have come to expect from cars wearing the VW badge. The amazing plastic quality, the damped feel of the switches and even the way bins open and shut smack of superb build. Cover the badge and you could be in an Audi.
There’s loads of space with ample head, leg and shoulder room and the large overhang creates a whopping 565 litres of luggage space.
The front seats are almost perfectly bolstered and very comfortable, the rear seats get the job done but legroom, obviously, is not as much as the Superb. VW has added a few features to the Passat, the most notable being the touch screen with multi-commands.
The Passat’s cool red-and-blue lighting exudes a soothing ambience at night and there are quality touches, like the finish of the glovebox.
Performance & Economy
The 16-valve, 138bhp, 2-litre turbo-diesel provides adequate punch, especially in the mid-range where the torque flows in thick and fast though there is a bit of lag initially. The Passat’s new common-rail diesel motor is very smooth with a more linear power delivery. It has a broader powerband, almost pulling to 5000rpm and the motor doesn’t run out of steam completely at the top either.
What’s truly impressive is the refinement of the Passat’s common-rail engine. There’s none of the slightly muffled pneumatic drill-like PD clatter, something we had factored into the character of the earlier car. The motor revs smoothly and is almost inaudible when the car is cruising and this adds to overall comfort levels.
The Passat’s more linear power delivery also plays to its advantage because you’re not always mashing the throttle, waiting for the engine to respond. In the city cycle, the Passat gave 10kpl and 13.8kpl on the highway.
Ride & Handling
The Passat has wide tyres but the relatively softer suspension means the car doesn’t corner as enthusiastically. The steering, though direct, is light and disconnected, the softer front end bobs up and down a bit.
The car feels amazingly stable and secure on any surface at most speeds. Helping the Passat’s cause for low-speed ride is the tyre pressure that’s been reduced from the earlier recommended and absurdly high 42psi. However, the gentle drumming sound over bumpy roads at low speeds, which we feel is the result of resonance from the huge boot cavity, is still very much present.
The Passat has moved the game forward with its new common-rail engine which simply outclasses similar engines in key areas like performance, refinement and efficiency. Also the Passat retains its strengths of solid build quality and vice-free handling.
In fact, priced at Rs 28 lakh, the Passat will first face the ignominy of tackling the Superb, a car which, though more down market in the rest of the world, is a serious luxury player in India and on the face of it, still better value. However good the Passat is, it will have its work cut out here.
What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi) Rs 27.45 lakh
Warranty 24 months /50,000km
Installation Front, transverse
Compression ratio 16.5:1
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl, DOHC
Power 138bhp at 4200rpm
Torque 32.6kgm at 1750-2500rpm
Power to weight 89.61bhp per tonne
Gearbox 6-speed DSG
Chassis & Body
Tyres 215/55, R16, tubeless
Front Independent, MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, anti-roll bar
Rear Independent, four-link, anti-roll bar
Type Rack and pinion
Type of power assist Electro-mechanical
Front Ventilated discs
Rear Solid discs
Tank size 70 litre
Range at a glance - Engines
Diesel 2.0- litre