The Boss Says... | Volkswagen Passat

BY Joel Tam

Every now and then, we'll get some extra time with a car, that's when I'll get my chance to spend some time with it and give you my take. Last weekend, I took the wife and kids out in the Passat.

Back in July, Azfar drove this car (click here for his story) and felt that it was a good-value premium sedan that delivered on most points that buyers in this segment would look for. So I won't spend time on the specs and features, instead, I'll pen down my fresh experience from my time spent with the Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI over the weekend.

To be really honest, the Passat's looks are its downfall. I might be giving it away too early in this story, but the Passat is truly a great car to drive and own, I just wished it looked just as good. It is by no means ugly, but at the same time, it lacks a strong personality. It just looks bland - which I guess will work for those who don't want too much attention.

Things start to get much better when you swing round to the back though. The new rear lamps are distinctive in styling and they contribute to the rather handsome overall face. Just as well, as this is the view most drivers on the road will see, because the torquey 160 bhp turbocharged unit makes the Passat rather rapid - most will find no need for more power.

The Passat doesn't look very big from the outside, but it is in fact, a voluminous car. Much of the time spent with the car saw my full family of five packed into the large sedan, and no one had any complaints.

'Double layer' dashboard a nice detail and looks really sleek. Controls are nice to touch with a matt and smooth finish, but mark easily if your hands are sweaty or even a tad oily.

A trendy mix of aluminum, brown leather and soft plastics combine to make the interior a stylish place to be in.

Straight out from the Volkswagen parts bin, these are the same stuff you get in the Golf, which is a bit of a shame.

Rear passengers get a pull-down center tray with dual cup-holders. Passengers are swathed in classy alcantara leather seats, something usually found only on sportier model variants.

Nom, nom, nom! Huge boot will swallow prams, golf bags and more! I was hoping for an auto-close function though, as the boot lid is rather heavy.

Not just fast, it's smooth too, as my youngest boy will attest. Ride is acceptable on these 17" wheels with Continental tyres, and the handling is confidence-inspiring. Despite being sizable, you do get the feeling you're steering a smaller car, making it chuckable round the corners.

I won't lie. The Passat is not exceptional, it's not even special. But neither is it pretentious, and I like it because of that, because honesty appeals to me. It boasts some of the tech found in its more expensive competitors, and drives just as well, if not better. Now if only it came with a 1.4 TSi variant, that would make it even better value!