Volkswagen Passat

German Breed Made in USA

We as editors in the motoring industry, tend to classify the international launches we attend around the globe. This is a matter of fact but most people don’t have the guts to say it. At least I am here to say so. This one is the perfect location chosen by well-known German manufacturer, Volkswagen. Where? Somewhere pretty far from our Middle East home region: the United States of America.

Passat History Flashback
The success of this segment from Volkswagen, the Passat, goes back to 1973. It is the most popular large family car and mid-size sedan which sold more than 15 million worldwide. Today, the story is brought right up to date with the entirely new 2012 model which sets benchmarks in safety, technology, space and luxury.

Passat B1 (1973–1981)
The body types offered originally were two- and four-door sedans at that time. The Passat at first used the four-cylinder OHC 1.3 L and 1.5 L petrol engines.

Passat B2 (1981–1988)
Like the previous generation, the B2 Passat was mainly sold with four-cylinder petrol engines. Unlike its predecessor, however, top-of-the-line versions received five-cylinder Audi or VW engines of 1.9 L and 2.2 L.

Passat B3 and B4 (1988–1996)
At the time it was the first Passat to be built on a Volkswagen-designed platform rather than sharing one with an Audi saloon. The car, although designated B3 in Volkswagen's platform nomenclature, was based largely on the A platform as used for the smaller Golf model, but was stretched in all directions. Engine options were the 2.0 L engine, 1.8 L engine and Volkswagen’s new 2.8 liter VR6 engine. The VR6 engine gave the top-of-the-range Passat a top speed of 224 kph.

1993 Facelift (Passat B4)

The B3 Passat was heavily facelifted in 1993 and although it was designated B4, it was not an all-new model.

Passat B5 and B5.5 (1996–2005)
The car featured fully independent four-link front suspension, and a semi-independent torsion beam for front-wheel-drive models or a fully independent suspension on the 4motion 4WD models. 4WD was introduced in 1997 as an option for the 1.8, 2.8 V6 engines.

2001 Facelift (Passat B5.5)

B5 Passat models built after late 2000, also known as B5.5 models, received minor styling and mechanical revisions. A 4.0 liter W8 engine producing 275 PS (202 kW) was introduced in 2001 in a luxury version of the car that included standard 4motion all-wheel drive. It was discontinued in 2004.

Passat B6 and B7 (2005–present)
The B6 Passat was first displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005.

2010 Facelift (Passat B7)
The B6 Passat was facelifted and was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010. 

Driving Impressions
I landed in Atlanta in Georgia State for my first night there. Best desert at that night was the marshmallows on fire. Anyhow, next day I was given the key to drive to Chattanooga Plant located in Tennessee State. We had couple of hours and visited the plant and the production line of the new Passat and saw how it was manufactured. Then we kicked back to drive to Nashville, the City of Country Music!

After spending several hours behind the wheel on the roads between Atlanta to Chattanooga and finally Nashville, I think this sedan is best at its straightforwardness. This new Passat doesn’t have any unnecessary flaunts or hard-to-read buttons. Everything is controlled by a knob. Material quality looks good and every piece is steadily assembled.

It has sharp steering which is quick to take action. The brakes are firm, too, with a progressive pedal feel that makes them simple to adjust effortlessly.

What I personally noticed is the lack of wind noise but this made the tire noise a little more clear within the cabin. It's a nice and good-looking cabin. Both driver and front passenger seats are eight-way power-adjustable on the SEL while base models get similar adjustments with manual controls. The car is really spacious and the A-pillars make it fine for visibility.

The Passat's interior is simple enough as I said. Dual-zone climate control is standard along with a trip computer which in between the big analog gauges. Bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary steering wheel controls are also standard.

The new Passat is available in four different trim levels for the Middle East: S, SE, SEL and Sport. Even the S, which has been developed especially for fleet customers, comes with a generous amount of standard equipment including tire pressure sensors, insulating glass, Bluetooth hands-free voice-activated phone integration and an MP3 enabled audio system. Standard features in other trim levels also include a powerful Panasonic or Fender audio system, a multimedia entertainment system including touchscreen radio and navigation, and iPod connectivity.

The use of Volkswagen’s 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder engine in the Passat is a first for the company. Developing 170 hp at 5,700rpm, the new Passat is capable of reaching 100 kph from rest in less than nine seconds, striking a balance between power and efficiency.

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