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Volkswagen Passat 2018 review: 132TSI Comfortline

EXPERT RATING
7.6
Thinking of buying an SUV? Stop, because the Volkswagen Passat 132TSI Comfortline wagon probably has more space, may be easier to drive, and your kids won't keep falling out.

I like you already. Even if you don’t end up picking the Volkswagen Passat 132TSI Comfortline wagon, the fact you’re here means you’re willing to think outside the SUV square that so many Australians may get a bit stuck in when buying a car for the family or work, or both.

See, SUVs are kind of the cargo shorts of the car world because of their practicality, but do you want to wear cargo shorts everywhere? Wagons generally handle on the road better than SUVs and can be just as practical - especially if it’s the Passat 132TSI Comfortline.

Think of this wagon as the comfortable but cool jeans of the car world that you can get away with at a dinner or a picnic, the ones that always surprise you with how much stuff you manage to take out of the pockets when it comes to time to wash them.

Volkswagen Passat 2018: 132 TSI Comfortline
Safety rating
Engine Type1.8L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$29,888

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Passat comes in three grades and the 132TSI Comfortline sits right in the middle of the range. While the sedan lists for $41,990 the wagon asks $43,990. That’s $6K more than the entry grade 132TSI wagon – so what do you get that the base-spec car doesn’t?

For starters it comes with the larger 9.2-inch screen (not the 8.0-inch) and the more sophisticated 'Discover Pro' media system with sat nav and gesture control, plus voice control for phone and the navigation.

The 132TSI Comfortline also has more safety equipment than the 132TSI

The seats are leather, not cloth. There’s also the auto tailgate with kick-open function, 14-way power adjustable and heated front seats, electric folding door mirrors with reverse kerb adjustment, puddle lights, front fog lights, proximity key and a start button. The 132TSI Comfortline also has more safety equipment than the 132TSI, which we’ll cover below.

That was the gear that comes on the 132TSI Comfortline over the 132TSI. Here’s what they both get: there’s the LED tail-lights, roof rails, three-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors with visual display, floor mats, halogen headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight-speaker stereo and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

  • Up front is spacious with plenty of shoulder and headroom. Up front is spacious with plenty of shoulder and headroom.
  •  The Passat is low enough for kids to easily step up, or down from The Passat is low enough for kids to easily step up, or down from

Is it good value? Yes. The 132TSI Comfortline is the sweet spot for value in the range. Is there anything that should be there that’s not? Yes. A head-up display – or the option for one would be good. Ventilated seats are welcome in Australia, but not offered on the Passat, neither is a heated steering wheel.

What are the rivals to the 132TSI Comfortline wagon? There’s the Mazda6 wagon in the GT grade for $45,290; the Ford Mondeo Ambiente wagon is $35,040, and Subaru’s Levorg GT Premium for $42,990.

Skoda is Volkswagen’s slightly quirky sibling and it has the Octavia and Superb wagon, which you should check out.

Skoda is Volkswagen’s slightly quirky sibling and it has the Octavia wagon which is about 10cm shorter in length and the Superb wagon which is about 10cm longer, but you should check them out, too.

The Holden Commodore RS Sportwagon will cost you less at $39,490, but it’s 13cm longer – that could be the difference between making it into a parking spot or not.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The Passat wagon doesn’t have the flowing curves of the Mazda6 nor the killer-bee look of the Levorg, nope, but there is so much appeal in its restrained and organised design, with razor sharp lines and ridges. It’s a serious and prestige look, that’s less about bling and more about utility.

The 132TSI Comfortline and the 132TSI grade below it in the range look almost identical from the outside – both have the chrome blades on the grille, and the chrome trim around the windows, and there’s the dual exhaust. The only difference is the wheels. While both come with 17-inch wheels, the 132TSI Comfortline has the ‘London’ style not the ‘Soho’ style of the 132TSI.

The 132TSI Comfortline gets 17-inch wheels. The 132TSI Comfortline gets 17-inch wheels.

The interior has the same clean design and premium feel. There’s the simple, logical layout of controls and a high-quality feel to the materials. The 132TSI Comfortline like the 132TSI below it in the line-up has a ‘Silver Diamond’ trim on the dash, the centre console and doors. I think the leather seats make the cabin with their ‘tuck and roll’ style.

You need to step up to the top of the range 206 TSI R-Line to get the fully digital active driving display as standard, but you can option it on the R-Line package which also brings bigger 18-inch wheels, aluminium face pedals and a tougher looking body kit.

Our test car didn’t have any options fitted, and that 'Pure White' paint it wears is the only no-cost colour.

Our test car didn’t have any options fitted and that 'Pure White' paint it wears is the only no-cost colour. I don’t think it shows off the Passat’s lines best, not as well as the optional 'Pyrite Silver Metallic', or 'Manganese Grey Metallic', the 'Harvard Deep Blue Metallic' and the 'Deep Black Pearl Effect'.

How big is the Passat 132TSI Comfortline wagon? Not as big as it looks in the pictures. The dimensions show it to be a bit less than 4.8m in length (the same as the sedan version), 1.8m wide and almost 1.5m tall.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

The Passat 132TSI Comfortline does the practicality thing well with a roomy cabin and good storage space.

Up front is spacious with plenty of shoulder and headroom, while rear legroom is excellent. I’m 191cm and can sit behind my driving position with about 40mm between my knees and the seatback. Headroom back there is outstanding, too.

Those rear doors are giant and swing wide like the one on a bank vault making it super easy to get in and out – look at the images.

  • Up front is spacious with plenty of shoulder and headroom. Up front is spacious with plenty of shoulder and headroom.
  •  The Passat is low enough for kids to easily step up, or down from The Passat is low enough for kids to easily step up, or down from

I have a three-year-old who is now insisting on climbing in and out of every test car we have – it used to be annoying (because he takes his time) but it’s now becoming part of the car testing process. He’s fallen backwards, forwards and sideways out of SUVs because of their height and if the entry way is narrow the sloping door sill makes it harder to for him to get secure footing, (don’t judge me, I’m there to catch him…mostly).

But the Passat was low enough for him to easily step up or down from and the doorway wide enough for him to have plenty of flat door sill to stand on.

The boot opening is enormous, too, and luggage space with the rear seats up is 650 litres (more than the Mazda6 wagon and Commodore Sportwagon) and you have a cargo capacity of 1152 litres with them folded down.

  • Storage is 650/1152 litres with the seats up and down, respectively. Storage is 650/1152 litres with the seats up and down, respectively.
  • We're happy to report that the 132TSI Comfortline comes standard with a full-sized spare wheel. We're happy to report that the 132TSI Comfortline comes standard with a full-sized spare wheel.

That's more cargo space than a Volkswagen Tiguan with its 615 litres, and not far off the 700 litres of the Tiguan Allspace.

There are four cupholders – two in the front and two in the back, large bottle holders in all the doors, and a deep centre console bin with USB port. There are three 12-volt outlets – one in the front, one in the second row and one in the cargo area.

Those in the back seats are the masters of their own climate with digital controls for temperature and directional vents.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The 132TSI Comfortline wagon has the same engine as the grade below it in the range - a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol making 132kW of power and 250Nm of torque.

Shifting gears for you is a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

You and I know this isn’t a performance car, but a 0-100km/h time of 8.1 seconds means there’s enough oomph to move quickly if you need to with confidence, such as in overtaking situations.

The 132TSI Comfortline wagon is front-wheel drive, but you can have an all-wheel drive Passat if you step up to the 206TSI R-Line grade.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

In a word: easy. The Passat 132TSI Comfortline is easy to see out of, easy to park, easy to sit comfortably in for long periods of time whether it’s in peak-hour traffic going nowhere or on the motorway at 110km/h.

The cabin is quiet, the ride is composed, and on-board tech such as gesture control for the media adds to its all-round easiness.

If you’re after a more sporty driving experience, there’s the much sportier Passat 206 TSI R-Line. If you’re after a more sporty driving experience, there’s the much sportier Passat 206 TSI R-Line.

Easy, but not perfect. The halogen headlights are dim and while they’re fine in the city you’ll really notice on Australia’s poorly lit country roads and highways – I strongly recommended optioning the 'Luxury Package' which brings the incredibly bright LED headlights.

The dual-clutch auto transmission isn’t perfectly smooth at low speeds, either. But I feel I am just looking for problems where there really aren’t many.

If you’re after a more sporty driving experience and looks to match there’s the Passat 206 TSI R-Line – much more power and aggressive styling to go with it.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The 1.8-litre engine and dual-clutch combo is a pretty efficient team and Volkswagen says that over a combination of open and urban roads you’ll use 6.0L/100km.

I measured our test car’s fuel consumption at the petrol pump and after 177km of inner-city peak-hour commutes in the morning and late nights on empty motorways measured 8.0L/100km when it came to fill up. That’s still good mileage.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Wondering what else the 132TSI Comfortline gets over the 132TSI grade below it? More standard safety equipment. Yup, while all Passats come with AEB which works at lower city speeds, manoeuvre braking (front and rear), a rear-view camera, and parking sensors, the 132TSI Comfortline also comes with blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.

Do I still need to tell you that the Passat wagon has a five-star ANCAP rating? It does.

For child and baby seats there are three top tether anchor mounts and two ISOFIX points in the second row.

Happy to report, too, that the 132TSI Comfortline comes standard with a full-sized spare wheel. That’s becoming a rarity with many car makers opting for a space saver spare, which might save weight and space, but in Australia where distances are vast a full-sized spare is an essential part of a good safety kit.

 

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The Passat 132TSI Comfortline is covered by Volkswagen’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 15,000km/12 months and pricing is capped.

You can expect to pay $476 for the first service, $671 for the second, $563 for the third, $857 for the fourth and $476 for the fifth.

It’s more than most Japanese and Korean brands charge for a service. Mazda for example caps servicing no higher than $341 for each service over five years for it’s 2.5-litre petrol GT Mazda6 wagon and has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

So, the Passat 132TSI Comfortline is losing marks here for its short warranty and relatively high servicing costs.

Verdict

The Passat 132TSI Comfortline wagon is a well-equipped, super practical, good looking, and easy to drive alternative to an SUV. I’d option the Luxury Package for the LED headlights if you’re doing lots of country kays, plus it brings you auto parking – making life with it even easier. Jeans or cargo shorts? The choice is yours.

Are you a cargo shorts or jeans type of guy or girl? Does a wagon appeal more to you than an SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$43,200
Based on 297 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$29,888
Highest Price
$66,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
132 TSI 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $33,890 – 34,990 2018 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2018 132 TSI Pricing and Specs
132 TSI Comfortline 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $29,888 – 56,735 2018 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2018 132 TSI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
140 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $34,990 – 41,990 2018 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2018 140 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
206TSI R-LINE 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $43,999 – 57,490 2018 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2018 206TSI R-LINE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality9
Engine & trans7
Driving8
Fuel consumption7
Safety7
Ownership7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$33,500

Lowest price, based on 30 car listings in the last 6 months

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