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First drive: New Volkswagen Passat in Langkawi

By RIZAL JOHAN | 3 November 2016


Members of the media were whisked away to the island of Langkawi on Tuesday and got a taste of the new Passat sedan which is due to be officially launched in the middle of November.

Three variants of the new Passat B8 sedan will be made available at the launch featuring two TSI direct-injection turbocharged engines with BlueMotion Technology. However, only two variants - the mid range Comfortline 1.8 litre and the range-topping Highline 2.0 litre - were available for the drive event in Langkawi.

READ MORE: VW Passat order-taking starts
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The entry-level Trendline variant was left out.

As soon as we landed at the airport, a fleet of the new Passats were waiting for us, which is not unusual as drive events go but this time around, we were chauffeur driven instead of driving the cars ourselves.

Before getting in the car though, we got a good look at the exterior design of the all-new Passat.

The front fascia immediately grabs your attention as the chrome grille slats extends all the way to the LED headlamps which also feature LED daytime running lights (DRL).

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This gives it a wider stance and a commanding presence. The new Passat also sits lower than the previous generation, exuding the right amount of aggression too.

While the new Passat did not change much in its exterior design, there is a more muscular stance to it with the more prominent creases on the sides and hood.

At the rear, the boot-lid protrudes slightly giving it a “natural” wing. The Highline variant has dual chrome exhausts which differentiates it from the rest.

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The Passat in Highline trim gets a digital meter cluster, a growing trend among car makers. Below is the Passat in Comfortline with traditional analogue meters.
2016 VW Passat Comfortline4


Inside, sitting in the rear while being driven to our destination, the Four Seasons Resort in Tanjung Rhu, we were taken with its spaciousness, as the rear offers ample head and legroom.

The leather-wrapped seats were comfortable and the rear air-con vents kept us cool throughout the ride.

Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels were minimal although the tyre noise did creep through.

We arrived at the resort in time for lunch and then were briefed about some of the specs of the new Passat before heading out to drive the car ourselves.

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There were no detailed specs sheet for any of the Passat variants nor was there a physical sheet itself.

The finer details including the price would be available closer to or at the official launch scheduled for Nov 16.

What we do know is that the new Passats are assembled in Pekan, Pahang.

The range-topping 2.0 TSI Highline is fitted with the Mk7 Golf GTI powertrain albeit tuned to produce 217hp and 350Nm of torque mated to a six-speed DSG twin clutch automatic transmission.

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The Trendline and Comfortline variants share the 1.8 litre engine from the previous generation Passat but tuned to produce 178hp and 250Nm torque and is mated to a seven-speed DSG twin clutch automatic transmission.

The Comfortline and Highline variants we drove have a long list of features such as keyless entry and push start, auto start-stop, reverse camera with park assist and sensors, three-zone climate control, paddle shifters, cruise control, a 6.5-in touchscreen, electric parking brake with auto hold, and powered tailgate among others.

The 2.0 Highline however sets itself apart with the Active Info Display which is an entirely digital instrument cluster which mirrors Audi's virtual cockpit and 18-in wheels while the Comfortline is analogue with an information display and is fitted with 17-in wheels.

2016 VW Passat Comfortline
The Passat in Comfortline trim. All pix below refer to this trim.


Now for the fun part - driving the new Passat. We hopped into the 1.8-litre Comfortline and drove up Gunung Raya, a windy stretch of mountain road.

The result was surprising. This D-segment sedan was well-planted as we pushed it through corners and bends.

The Passat oozed confidence with dynamic throttle response, sharp steering and spot-on braking.

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Gear shifts were smooth and the raspy exhaust note it produced made it even more likeable.

With a low seating position and an expansive view unobstructed by the A-pillars, this new Passat is secretly a weekend warrior with executive clothing.

We were, of course, overtaken by the 2.0-litre Highline but if we had this much fun on a mid-level trim then the writing's pretty much on the wall for the range topper.

2016 VW Passat Comfortline
2016 VW Passat Comfortline2


 

 

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