Volkswagen Passat – Takes the strain

Ian Lamming lets the new Volkswagen Passat take the strain.

THE Great North Road. Teatime. Just the place you never want to be and generally plan to avoid. Today, it’s unavoidable.

Three lanes of red tail-lights stretch over the horizon and the trip computer tells me it has taken an hour and ten minutes to travel 19 miles.

Hey you! Yes you! You in the white A1 (ironic, or what?). Give it up. Can you not see what I see? Clogged roads and no prospect of progress. Stop swapping lanes, stop pushing in, stop cutting people up.

If you cause a shunt things will get even worse, particularly for you as the road rage mob beat you senseless with your own TFSI badge – oh, they won’t need to, you are already senseless.

Times like these you simply have to go with the flow, even if that flow has no go and you know what? I’m fine. The weather outside is frightful but inside the new Passat is delightful.

Lashing rain, buffeting from the gales, wintry temperatures, all fail to impact on the environment of the latest estate car from Volkswagen.

New doesn’t particularly extend to the outside – it looks like a Passat. But the interior is better equipped with more lovely technology.

The wonderfully supportive leather seats have the heating elements cranked up to the max, the climate control is keeping all the glass clear from mist – one of my pet hates – the wipers are shifting the torrential rain. It’s horrible outside but the Passat is more than capable of dealing with it.

An inaudible 2.0 diesel propels what is a big car forward with alacrity, thanks to 190PS, via the simply brilliant DSG automatic box, once we getting going and the slow progress has at least allowed me to play with the virtual dash, infotainment centre and excellent sound system, which ranks among the best.

The estate is huge, more than big enough to take a small tree and well-shaped to maximise volume. Tailgate is electric to keep your pinkies free from grime.

Passat is never going to get the tastebuds tingling but for a certain market, the long distance, load-carrying, workhorse brigade, it is a peerless and comfortable way to travel. It makes mincemeat of the worst conditions and still allows you to have fun when it’s quiet.

It provides sanctuary from inclement weather and idiot drivers, keeps you calm when all around is madness and delivers you home feeling relaxed and in control.

Fact File

Volkswagen Passat Estate TDI

Engine: 2.0 diesel

Power: 190PS

0-62mph: 8.1 secs

Top speed: 144mph

Combined MPG: 47.7

Transmission: seven-speed DSG

CO2 g/km: 120

Price: £34,475.00 �7n9

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