PH Blog: Passat power



VW lent me a Passat estate over Christmas. It got me thinking about the role of the everyday car.

I have vacillated terribly on this subject for years, veering from championing the one-car-fits-all mantra in the form of Imprezas, M3s and the like, to thinking it far more interesting having something nuts for the weekend and plodding about in an ordinary tackle when the traffic is bad and there's little to be gained having big performance available.

The Passat obviously fits into the latter territory. It's about as exciting as wholemeal bread and doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: painless transport.

Harris in a Passat? You saw it here first
Harris in a Passat? You saw it here first
This one was a 2.0 TDi Bluemotion with the DSG gearbox. Have to say, I thought it was one of the most complete motor cars I've ever driven. Putting aside any emotional attributes, if I wrote down on a piece of paper what I wanted in an everyday family car, it would satisfy just about every requirement. The powertrain is a work of art. The motor is incredibly refined for a four-cylinder diesel, the transmission juggles the needs of response and fuel economy better than any human could manage and it doesn't appear to use any fuel.

On a stop-start 15-mile journey it did 42mpg. On a shortish motorway run, four up, it was in the mid-50s and climbing when we got back home. Oh, and it appears to have more rear legroom than a Mercedes E-Class.

I can't help myself trying to maximise fuel economy in cars like this. There has to be a hook to every motoring experience, normally getting the most intense flavour of what the particular vehicle you are driving can do best: just as you want to bruise your kidneys in a GT2 RS and see if a Defender will climb up that hill, so I always want to know just how miserly these new diesels can be. The answer is very.

It handles well enough (on winter tyres), the ride is too firm for UK roads, the interior is another demonstration of VW indulging in just enough design to stop occupants thinking they're in a municipal swimming pool changing room. The whole thing feels like it'll take decades of abuse.

But what you have to ask yourself about the Passat is this: how would you feel if this was the only car you could drive for a whole year? I think I'd need something else, just to keep me sane. Anything, a grotty hot-hatch - so long as you could rev the blighter and grab it by the scruff. Just to release some energy now and again.

How many of us grapple with this dilemma, running something efficient and bolstering it with an occasional toy - or remaining faithful to a single, juicy, high-performance everyday car?

I still can't decide what's best. Probably never will. If I landed on the former, the Passat 2.0 TDi would be my car of choice for the daily grind.

Chris

 

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  • FairfieldSteve 13 Jan 2014

    MadDog1962 said:
    We rented a 1.6 diesel Passat bluemotion about 2 years ago. Frankly the only things I didn't like about it was the length and the electric parking brake. It went so well that I had a hard time believing that it was only a 1.6! It was super spacious,very comfortable and handled well. We averaged well over 60mpg without trying. I'm even thinking of buying a diesel Passat here in Texas.
    You have to work it though.

    I have previously joined hoons in the Passat!

  • dscam 13 Jan 2014

    marc2 said:
    I ran a toy & an everyday for a couple of years- in fact I have done it twice now, about ten years apart & both times I have ruined it for myself- the toy had to go (on both occasions) I could always find a reason not to drag the toy out of the garage....car-parks (someones bound to ding it)... salt on the roads (must preserve it) Long run (save a lot of fuel in the daily) Really hot sunny day (The 20 year old red paint WILL fade & I bet the dash cracks!) Year two, I think I did about 600 miles in it... I know these examples are totally pathetic, but thats humans for you....crap design irked
    On the plus side, my paranoia kept them mint & with the most recent toy ownership I had the previously un-experienced (to me) phenomena of making money on a car.... smile
    As much as it pains me, I also fit this bill having tried the formula on a couple of occasions. It may be down to personal OCD etc when it comes to the 'fun' car but increasingly it's the demands of daily/family life that make using the garage toy less practical and therefore throws the whole plan down the toilet.

    I've now resigned to having one quality, reasonably involving daily driver to try and appease the dilemma and it's just about working...

  • MadDog1962 12 Jan 2014

    YesItsARover said:
    I have seen 80mpg in my 1.6d bluemotion saloon!
    We rented a 1.6 diesel Passat bluemotion about 2 years ago. Frankly the only things I didn't like about it was the length and the electric parking brake. It went so well that I had a hard time believing that it was only a 1.6! It was super spacious,very comfortable and handled well. We averaged well over 60mpg without trying. I'm even thinking of buying a diesel Passat here in Texas.

  • sider 27 Dec 2013

    An old post I didn't notice first time round.

    Sorry i'm in the other camp.

    Dull Passat 2.0 TDI Bluemotion just likes Harris' for me.

    Each to their own but life is indeed too short and i'd rather spend my hard-earned on the family. If your situation means you can afford to spend your hard-earned on the family AND have enough spare to buy yourself a toy - well fair play and well-done. I'm not quite there yet though so the Passat stays and costs me very little.

  • Stuart70 22 Dec 2013

    Vw golf gti dsg for the station and a Caterham.for the weekend.

    Wife has an xc90 and an mx5.

    All bases covered, but they should be with 4 cars.

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