• Practicallity and packaging
    • Offers great relative value
    • Great long-range cruiser
    • large-ish 19inch rims amplify road noise
    • Some interior panel buzzes and squeeks
    • While competent, it's no sports car
    5 Star

    About the Volkswagen Passat

    R A purchased this Volkswagen Passat used for $42,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2020. R A would buy this car again because: “The Passat Alltrack offers almost unparalleled practicality in a reasonably sized package while providing great levels of overall comfort. The extra ride height is reassuring on getaways when rutted dirt tracks are an eventuality. At the same time, the Alltrack still handles better than pseudo SUVs like VW’s own Tiguan. For these reasons, it really is an underrated value proposition in the market. “

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    After 40,000km, the Alltrack is without any mechanical or electrical faults. However, as this is one of the earlier builds, it does seem to have a few interior creaks and buzzes that can be quite infuriating.

    The fact they arise randomly, no matter the weather and sometimes in the middle of a long drive, it makes resolving the issue with VW basically impossible as service reps pull out the “I don’t hear anything” card…

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    12-month service intervals are great but Volkswagen’s staggered 3-year service guide is on the pricier side.

    Fortunately the car doesn’t seem to have any issues within that 12-month cycle and doesn’t churn through engine oil like VW’s petrol equivalents. Meanwhile, I’ll do my best to forget about diesel’s un-sustainability…

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    At around $40k on the used market for a low kilometre vehicle, it is over $20k less than a Tiguan R-Line with more-or-less the same creature comforts.

    Interior materials are also of a higher spec in the Passat: considerably softer leather and soft-touch plastics in the rear. Other features, like keyless locking/unlocking from the rear passenger doors is also present with the Passat, where it is omitted from the pre-updated Tiguan.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    The power and torque of the 140TDI are completely adequate in everyday driving and highway overtaking. Like VW DSGs of this generation, it is clunky in 1st and 2nd gear and can get confused at times; don’t even think about pulling out onto a busy road in the Eco drive mode… with your right foot to the floor, the 1st-to-2nd gear change will take seconds…

    The diesel fuel economy is also a big plus. On freeway drives to work with smooth flowing traffic, the Passat sips 5.6L/100km. Even in busier stop-start and suburban traffic the vehicle rarely goes beyond 7.5L/100km. So, expect to average 900-950km from a full tank.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    The digital dash and 8.2-inch centre display offer all the functionality needed in this day and age. The pixel density is low compare to the latest products but is perfectly usable with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

    A heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 360 degree camera, and a few more USB charge ports would have been nice – much of this is available with the latest facelift.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The overall ride is sublime with great body control over undulating roads. On ruttier roads, small bumps and divots are felt but reasonably rounded off. The suspension does crash quite considerably over those sharper edged speed bumps, however.

    Moreover, the 19-inch rims and relatively thin-walled tires do transfer more road noise than I’d like…

    Not being a crossover SUV, the Alltrack is also devoid of that high centre of gravity feeling that I honestly find disconcerting and uncomfortable. Overall handling is good with direct, predictable steering… albeit lacking any real feel.

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    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling8
    Price & Features8.6
    Performance & Economy8
    Ownership Experience8