“Why a Hugo Boss suit? – Because that brand looks good on everyone!”
It really wasn’t until its fifth generation – starting in 1998 – that the Volkswagen Passat became a household name in Canada.
Perhaps one reason was because it went by two other names prior, including the Dasher and the Quantum. But since 1998, the Passat has been a core model for the German automaker this side of the Atlantic.
For 2016, it goes through another metamorphosis to bring an even stronger product to the market in an intensely fierce segment: the mid-size sedan. There are quite a few things that the Passat does well. First is design, whether that’s the inside or outside.
For the 2016 model year, it goes through a major overhaul to not only look fantastic, but also feel fantastic when it comes to soft touch materials inside and time behind the wheel.
There’s a new sculpted hood, which was described by Eugen Enns, exterior design specialist for the Passat, to look like a Hugo Boss suit. Why a Hugo Boss suit? – Because that brand looks good on everyone! No matter your size. He mentioned that Armani suits are fantastic, but you have to fit a certain body type to really pull it off.
The crisp pleat on the hood gives the front end flair and a nice focus but isn’t so dramatic that it could easily offend the masses.
Then there are new front fenders, grille, front and rear bumpers, trunklid, rims and available LED headlights and taillights. Not to mention it’s the first time the Passat will get an R-Line, to enhance its already great package.
The R-Line package features unique rocker panels, a stylized front bumper, a modified rear diffuser, and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Furthermore, only the roof, doors, and the body side stamping carry over from the 2015 model. All the rest of the sheet metal is new.
VIDEO: 2016 VW Passat – First Drive Review in Northern Vermont
Slip inside the cabin and you’re greeted to an all-new instrument panel that includes two large gauges. The new upholstery, two-tone décor panels, elegant piano black and laser-grained chrome trim contribute to the welcoming atmosphere the Passat has been known for over the last couple of generations.
Aside from visual appeal, the intermingling of textures, tones and hues throughout the cabin blend harmoniously together, and they all look fantastic. Then there’s the 6.3-inch display that acts as a focal point in the cabin.
On the road, expect to experience a quiet, smooth and competent ride.
The winding and sweeping roads in and around Vermont were a great place to test out the Passat’s electro-mechanical power steering. While I would have liked a little more feedback on the twisty roads, for highway driving and maneouvering, it does the job very well.
Allowing me to get up to those highway speeds was the aid of the 1.8L, four-cylinder, turbocharged and direct injection gasoline engine.
It comes standard with 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is then paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
While we were driving pre-production, American-spec sedans, a near equivalent of the trim I captained is the Comfortline, which will make up the bulk of sales in Canada and starts at $29,295 (excluding destination charges and taxes.)
However, if you’re looking to get into a Passat, the base MSRP for the Trendline, which comes with a six-speed manual transmission, comes in at $23,295 or with the automatic, $24,605 (both excluding destination and taxes.)
The top-of-the-line Passat comes in the form of the Execline, starting at $38,295 (excluding destination charges and taxes.)
The Execline will give you the potency of the 3.6L VR6 engine – complete with a 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque linked to a six-speed DSG automatic. While this trim will make up a small fraction of Canadian Passat Sales, but those who want more everything in their Passat can get it if they so desire.
Safety is another area that VW pays close attention to.
The inclusion of the Intelligent Crash Response System means that the doors automatically unlock, the fuel pump shuts off and, and the hazard lights turn on in the event of a collision.
The collaboration of new sheet metal, revised styling on the inside and out, and great safety features solidify the Passat as a worthy model to consider in the mid size sedan category.
*The 2016 Passat is on sale now for a mid-November delivery.