Variant Versatility. Volkswagen Passat Variant 2.0 TSI R-Line

Text and photos by Desmond Chan, sgCarMart.

The new Volkswagen Passat Variant is a good-looking and dynamic estate car that proves to be a versatile all-rounder.

When the new Volkswagen Passat arrived on our shores towards the end of last year, it proved to be a car fairly capable of punching above its weight, taking on the likes of German heavy-hitters like the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Now, at long last, Singapore is getting the Passat Variant, understandably equipped with a petrol engine, which is more popular here. This completes the full Passat family lineup.

 

Up close and Personal

The Passat is a good-looking vehicle, and the Variant is no different. Though it has an expanded boot and larger rear-end, it remains just as sleek. The sheet metal is sharp and contemporary-looking, and details like the U-shaped LED light modules and the wide horizontal front grille add to its sporty appearance.

On the inside, it retains the premium, high-quality feel of the rest of the Passat range. The interior compares favourably with more expensive cars like a 3 Series, which is nothing short of impressive. The 14-way adjustable ergoComfort driver's seat provides excellent support, which we were grateful for on our two-day drive up to Kuala Lumpur and back.

Built on Volkswagen's new modular transverse matrix, legroom and headroom have been increased. The luggage space - literally the point of the Variant - has also been expanded from its predecessor, up by 47 litres to 650 litres, more than capable of storing luggage for a family, with space to spare.

The Variant sits at the top of the Passat lineup, and this means that it gets some extra goodies as standard. It comes exclusively in R-Line trim, which means a splattering of R-Line styling elements including a dedicated radiator grille, side sill extensions, a roof edge spoiler, a glack gloss diffuser, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Variant is also equipped as standard with the Active Info Display, a virtual instrument cluster that is reminiscent of Audi's Virtual Cockpit. It can be used to display a variety of information, including driving and assistance functions, as well as navigation information on a 2D or 3D map.

The 'DYNAUDIO Confidence' exclusive sound system that comes standard for the Variant is extremely impressive, offering a multitude of customisable sonic options. The car also has the latest connectivity features. The 'Discover Pro' navigation system comes with App-Connect, which allows the integration of smartphone apps and functions.

Exclusive to the Variant is Area View, a camera-based surroundings visualisation system. It offers you a 360-degree overview of the car's immediate surroundings, helpful when negotiating tight spaces.


The Drive

The Passat Variant is only available with one engine option - a 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine, making 217bhp and 350Nm of torque. It's a punchy unit once you overcome the initial turbo lag. The paddle shifters are very useful, and some fastidious work will keep the revs up. The Dynamic Chassis Control offers five selectable drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual.

In Sport mode, the Variant actually tackles corners well, remaining firm and planted to the ground with comfortably predictable handling. This was abundantly evident on a short sprint up to the peak of Genting Highland.

The six-speed DSG gearbox is fairly smooth and quick to shift. This was put to the test when negotiating the snaking tarmac, with repeated gear changes between second and third. The car feels extremely stable through corners, and you don't feel the extra heft hanging out over the rear wheels.

Back on the North-South Highway, the car (when left in Comfort or Normal) is comfortably pliant and stable, even at high three-digit speeds. Noise insulation is pretty good as well, all in all it makes for a refined and comfortable ride. And when you do need to shed speed, the brakes do an excellent job.


Conclusion

The more time we spend with the Passat Variant, the harder it is to fault. The Passat sedan is already an impressive car - a capable all-rounder offering excellent practicality, comfort and usable performance, packaged in a premium, well-built body.

The Variant only adds to its appeal, adding a dose of extra space and new features without compromising any bit of its comfort, driveability and road manners. Finally making its way to our shores, driving one home will set you back $181,300 (as of 24th March 2016). For a car that covers so many bases, we reckon it's worth all of that money.

Read the original article here.

 

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