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Volkswagen Passat 118TSi review

Cruising is a breeze and It's super quiet and smooth.

There's a prestige aura around Volkswagen's Passat that's been steadily growing over seven generations of the car and nearly 40 years of production.

It's a happy mixture of luxury, style and affordability that's difficult to ignore, especially when you compare what you get in Passat with a similar priced sedan (or wagon) of any size. 

The latest generation offers — more of the same — incremental gains in luxury, performance, safety, economy, style and quality all from a starting point of $38,990 for the 118 TSi sedan which we drove.

VALUE

Plenty of car for the money especially when you compare it with base Commodore or Falcon — fleet cars versus the handsome, luxurious Passat. And it's more than a big Golf offering heaps of rear seat legroom, a spacious cabin and huge boot along with clever technology to suppress noise like the acoustic film inside the windscreen.

Seven speed DSG "auto" is standard, 17-inch alloys, tyre pressure monitoring, media device interface, decent audio and electric driver's seat adjustment are included. It gets leather, heated front seats, Bluetooth phone, auto headlights and wipers and front and rear park sensors — see, told you it was well equipped.

SAFETY

Five stars here — plus other clever stuff like the hazard flashing system linked to heavy brake application, fatigue detection and plenty of other goodies especially if you start ticking the options or "packages" boxes. Hill hold is handy.

UNDER THE BONNET

Power comes from a high efficiency 1.8-litre turbo four cylinder petrol engine with 118kW/250Nm, the latter at a low 1500rpm. This translates into strong acceleration right where you want it for general driving. Fuel economy is a creditable 7.2-litres/100km. Volkswagen is more and more utilising turbodiesel technology in its petrol engines with excellent results.

Drive is to the front wheels via a slick shifting dual clutch seven-speed DSG gearbox — but no paddle shift just the stick selector for manual mode.

INSIDE

Roomy and classy is the best way to describe Passat's interior. There's nearly as much rear legroom as Falcon. The dash is beautifully designed and made of quality materials with sweet touches like the metal analogue clock in the middle. Optional 3D navi is excellent but expensive at $3600. The standard audio is fine and all the driver assist functions are impressive and clever.

THE DRIVE

We can't believe it's a 1.8-litre four pot — on a number of counts — acceleration off the mark, roll-on acceleration from highway speeds and fuel economy. The quoted figure of 7.2-litres/100km is easily bested on the highway — down into the 5.0s no problem. Cruising is a breeze at the limit with the Passat ticking over at low revs thanks to the auto. It's super quiet and smooth.

The ride is supple and controlled offering a sporty feel to the steering, brakes and cornering. It's easy to get comfortable and there's plenty of room f or four and their luggage. We like the VW family styling, particularly the squared off frontal treatment.

VERDICT

Excellent car — would have one in a flash and remember, this is the "base" model with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel and a 3.6-litre V6 petrol all wheel drive above it. Not necessary though.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 118TSI SEDAN

Price: $38,990
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited km
Resale: 48%
Service interval: 15,000km or 12 months
Economy: 7.7 l/100km; 180g/km CO2
Equipment: eight airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC.
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 118kW/250Nm 1.8-litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: Seven-speed DSG auto
Body: 4-door, 5 seats
Dimensions: 4769 (L); 1820mm (W); 1490mm (H); 2711mm (WB)
Weight: 1482kg
Tyre size: 235/45R17, full size spare.

Pricing guides

$12,990
Based on 67 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,980
Highest Price
$17,500

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
118 TSI 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $6,500 – 10,010 2011 Volkswagen Passat 2011 118 TSI Pricing and Specs
125 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $9,200 – 13,860 2011 Volkswagen Passat 2011 125 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
CC 125 TDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $11,800 – 17,380 2011 Volkswagen Passat 2011 CC 125 TDI Pricing and Specs
CC V6 FSI 3.6L, PULP, 6 SP $11,400 – 16,720 2011 Volkswagen Passat 2011 CC V6 FSI Pricing and Specs