The latest Volkswagen Passat, internally coded as B8 is the 8th generation of the the German automaker's D-segment sedan. It is a contemporary design tribute to the B1 originally designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro; he is also known for his work on the Golf, Jetta, and Scirocco.
The B8 is based on the VW MQB platform, which also underpins the above-mentioned models, as well as the Tiguan and Touran; albeit on a slightly stretched configuration. Volkswagen has also re-identified the Passat as a premium executive model from its former large family car designation.
On the outside, the Passat has been styled with much emphasis on slim horizontal lines very evident on the front fascia. This creates a sense of seriousness and dynamism. The rear is finished off with a pair of trapezoidal-shaped tailpipe finishers. Illumination consists of LED projectors up front with LED daytime running lights as well. It sits on 18-inch wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 tires.
As you step inside you will see that designers have cleverly incorporated the grill design with the dashboard and the air vents, which extend to the upper part of the sidings. The interior color though (exclusively paired with the Crimson Red exterior color) is primarily off-white with a dash of black and hints of aluminum. Get an Oryx White or Iridium Gray Metallic Passat, and the interior color is Titanium Black. The Black Oak Brown or Deep Black Pearl Passat gets a Natural Brown interior.
As with every VW car, controls are very ergonomic and straightforward. Seats are well-bolstered and comfortable, mixing grain leather and Alcantara, giving a sporty yet elegant character.
For entertainment, the MIB II (modular infotainment platform 2) based system allows MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay connectivity as well as Android Auto compatibility. However, an inherent Apple related bug hampered seamless connectivity using my device so I opted for a USB connection instead. Audio quality is very good with rather precise playback from its 8-speaker system. It also comes with a moonroof, however you might be discouraged to pop it open due to the rather dusty local environment and off-white interior.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter TSI (turbo direct injection) engine similarly found in the Golf GTI, rated at 220 PS and 350 Nm. It promises both efficiency at lower speeds, and fun at a more active pace. The potent engine is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Firing it up with the push of a button produces a light rumble which hints at its potential.
Turbo lag is quite minimal and moves well off the line rather quickly as compared with similarly classed V6 powered models. Weighing in at 100 kg less does have its advantages after all. Out on open roads, the 2.0-liter TSI easily propels the 1,500 plus kg executive car up to a spirited pace in good time.
On corners, it takes on the road well, with German precision, with a slight amount of body roll as the car needs to be comfortable as well. Being capable of dynamism, the car is surefooted and pliant at high speed, be it on straight lines or bends. In the city, suspension is configured well enough to handle uneven road conditions, absorbing bumps and potholes on the road with ease.
As the former VW chairman put it, the 2016 Passat is a "premium car without the premium price". While it still does carry a slight premium (PhP 2,759,000) over Japanese competitors locally, the Passat Business Edition does present a serious alternative with its modern infotainment and lively powertain, while giving a more "German" driving feel. Most might find the Passat in Highline trim at PhP 500,000 less, more attractive.