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Volkswagen Passat 140TDI Highline wagon 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
6
Tim Robson road tests and reviews the 2016 Volkswagen Passat 140TDI Highline wagon with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Tim Robson road tests and reviews the 2016 Volkswagen Passat 140TDI Highline wagon with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

VW's mid-size Passat is a strong seller in overseas markets, but locally it's suffering the same fate as the rest of the mid-to-large sedan and wagon market – despite solid specs and competitive pricing, it's being neglected by the public's relentless stampede towards SUVs.

Nonetheless, the new B8 Passat presents well on all fronts, and is ideally suited to everyone who doesn't want – or need – a high-riding, heavy, thirsty SUV.

Design 

A sharper, edgier and more sophisticated design for this eighth iteration of the Passat follows the VW corporate line, with a thin, straight-edged wraparound grille, angled lights and refined subtlety everywhere else.

Our Highline 140TDI tester was equipped with the optional $2500 R-Line package that adds 19-inch rims, bespoke roof spoiler, front and rear bumpers and side skirts, and drops the ride height by 15mm.

The Passat is eminently usable in wagon form.

The $3500 Luxury Pack also adds LED headlights, LED daytime driving lights and a panoramic electric glass sunroof to the exterior.

It moves the Passat from the zone of conservative looks towards something with a bit more of a premium edge.

Practicality

The Passat is eminently usable in wagon form. Its electric tailgate opens to reveal a vast luggage space; 650 litres behind the seats to be exact, which expands to 1780 litres when the seats are flipped down.

Bonus points, too, for the handy seat releases at the back of the cargo area, along with shopping bag hooks, load covers, load restraint points and a 12-volt socket.

Seating is generous and supportive in all positions.

Storage is plentiful, and there's room for eight bottles in and around the car, including a pair in the flip-down rear centre armrest. Rear-seaters can also control the climate via temperature adjusters if they so desire, while the centre console bin is chillable.

Seating is generous and supportive in all positions, with loads of room throughout for five people.

Price and features

The 140TDI Highline wagon is topped only by the Passat Alltrack in the local line-up, and starts at $47,990 plus on-road costs.

It's very comprehensively stacked with kit, including front assist with city AEB, lane assist, side assist and adaptive cruise control as standard spec.

Remote central locking with keyless start, satellite navigation with an 8.0-inch Discover Pro colour multimedia touchscreen, App-Connect and keyless access is also offered out of the box.

Adaptive cruise control, side assist, lane assist and rear traffic alert, automatic windscreen wipers and three-zone climate control are joined by Nappa leather upholstery with heated seats in the front.

Finally, a Driver Profile Selection button and an alarm system with interior monitoring, tilt sensor and central locking set the Highline apart from the lower grades.

The $3500 Luxury Pack also adds VW's Park Assist 3, which can detect the type of parking space on offer, no matter their orientation.

The driver picks the desired parking space from the spaces that the system has found, and the car will slot itself home with the driver controlling the brakes and throttle.

The $2500 R-Line pack also adds bespoke leather seats with carbon style side bolsters, a leather wrapped steering wheel with gearshift paddles, the progressive steering system as fitted to the Golf GTI – the two cars share versions of the MQB platform – along with the R-Line body kit and 19-inch rims.

Engine and transmission

The Highline runs VW's 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel turbo in 140kW output trim, with a handy 400Nm of torque on offer.

It's a revised carryover unit from the B7 Passat, and can hustle the wagon to 100km/h in a claimed 7.7sec.

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is strong, if a little gruff.

It's backed by a six-speed DSG dual clutch auto gearbox, rather than the seven-speed unit found in the petrol-powered cars. The torque output is the main reason for the difference here, though the wide, tractable power and torque delivery of a diesel negates the need for more closely spaced ratios.

The R-Line kit also adds paddle shifting, while the multi driving mode switch changes the speed of the gearbox's responses.

Fuel consumption

The 1562kg Highline diesel is rated at 4.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, and runs a 70-litre fuel tank.

Over 300km of testing, we saw a fuel figure of 5.6 litres per 100km on the trip computer.

Driving

The Passat is based on an extended version of the same platform that underpins the Golf – and we were surprised how dissimilar the two cars feel in many ways.

It's a reasonably hefty car, which dulls its responses at the wheel somewhat, and its enthusiasm for spinning a front tyre - despite the presence of an electronic limited slip diff – doesn't become its attitude of sophisticated suburban cruiser.

The larger 19-inch rims, narrow-section tyres and lower, stiffened springs are the main culprits here, allowing the Passat's chassis to crash through sharp-edge bumps before sending them back through the cabin

There's also some hunt and shunt going on between the six-speed DSG gearbox and the front wheels, too, which also surprised us.

At a steady cruise on smoother highways, the Passat is a quiet and relatively comfortable companion.

The hefty torque output of the diesel engine comes on hot and strong low in the rev range, so judicious use of the right foot is advisable, particularly in wet conditions.

You can also soften off the dampers and throttle and shift maps with the Drive Select button to calm things down a bit.

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is strong, if a little gruff, but the Passat manages to keep most of its clatter out of the passenger space.

At a steady cruise on smoother highways, the Passat is a quiet and relatively comfortable companion, though leaving the R-Line option box unchecked would only add to the car's abilities.

Safety

The five-star ANCAP-rated Passat is comprehensively equipped, with nine airbags (front driver and passenger, drivers knee airbag, front and rear side airbags and front and rear curtain airbags), city AEB which operates at speeds of up to 65km/h, lane departure, adaptive cruise control, side assist and rear traffic alert.

Ownership

VW offers a six-year or 90,000km capped price service plan for the diesel Passat, costing $3165 in total. Its biggest service at four years costs $985, with neither brake fluid or pollen filters included in the plan.

It's covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Verdict

The Passat is handsome, practical and frugal, but lets its guard down when the sporty kit is added.

Wagons are still perfectly acceptable alternatives to SUVs, and the Passat offers a heck of a lot of car for the money.

It's hugely practical, very comfortable and features almost every modern electronic safety aid currently on the market, along with other niceties like app connection and a large colour screen.

A well-priced service plan, a comprehensive warranty and a renewed focus on customer service should banish any lingering doubts about buying a diesel Volkswagen, too.

Does the Passat wagon have what it takes to draw you away from an SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Volkswagen Passat 140 TDI Highline pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$26,990
Based on 129 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,989
Highest Price
$43,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
132 TSI 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $13,989 – 24,990 2016 Volkswagen Passat 2016 132 TSI Pricing and Specs
132 TSI Comfortline 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $16,950 – 34,999 2016 Volkswagen Passat 2016 132 TSI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
140 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $19,990 – 34,990 2016 Volkswagen Passat 2016 140 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
206TSI R-Line 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP $29,990 – 43,990 2016 Volkswagen Passat 2016 206TSI R-Line Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$19,990

Lowest price, based on 10 car listings in the last 6 months

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