For all those singletons and DINKys out there this car is not for you. If I was still in your shoes I would be looking at either a nippy sports car or a hot hatch, and in the dim and distant past have owned both of these. However as the sprogs appear you have the choice of either being very cramped or buying a new car, with an estate, 4WD or MPV being the available options. Since I don’t live on a farm, and can’t afford one I didn’t consider 4WD and driving a minibus, oops I mean MPV, still seems a sad thing I decided to look at estates only. My last 4 cars have all been VWs (an original Beetle, and 3 Golfs) and I’ve been more than happy with them all, plus the garage is the nearest to my house I decided to start looking at VWs and got no further. I chose the Passat 1.8T with optional extras of a dashboard cd player (does anyone now listen to tapes) and climate control. Sporty wheels and trims just seem such a waste of money. Looking on the web site these cost £18k new but you can probably pick up a T reg. old shaped one like mine for £10k. Even used this is still a lot of dosh so what do you get for your money? I’ll give you the official spec and then translate it into what this really means. Max Speed: 135mph Well it’s unlikely that you’ll need this and I certainly haven’t tested it, but what I can say is that it feels very comfortable all the way up to 85mph, and there’s enough oomph that when other cars slow down on a steep hill climb this one keeps on accelerating. Acceleration: 0-50 in 6.4 seconds Can’t vouch for the exact time but my boy racer tendencies do get the better of me and it does accelerate from the lights. It won’t beat the Porsche but you will beat the wide boy in the souped up Ford. Fuel Consumption: 11.4 litres per 100 kilometres in urban conditions. This works out at roughly 13p per mile at current prices (70p
per litre), and on motorway driving I reckon that this drops to below 10p per mile. Load Capacity I’ve searched the booklet I can’t find the exact measurements but it’s sufficient to carry all the paraphernalia you need when you travel with two under 4s. Just. Also you can get a roof box as an optional extra if required. Other points to note are that the seats are very comfortable, and the driving position is adaptable for most people. All round visibility is good although guessing where the back of the car is when reversing into a space is an acquired trick. We’ve only had 2 problems with the car (touch wood) The 1st is that the key can be pulled out before the ignition is fully disengaged which causes the alarm to go off. Until we realised what the problem was this was annoying as I looked like a car thief breaking in. The 2nd is a bit of a mystery in that the front passenger door sometimes refuses to close, but then 5 minute later works again. VW can’t work it out so all suggestions gratefully received. So whilst not my dream car (a vintage E-Type rings my bell) as a practical solution to the kids and associated crap problem it’s a winner and I would definitely consider one again for my next car.
I am going to be frank. I am not old enough quite old enough to drive. Despite this I love cars from the Alfa to the Volvo. For years I have had a huge - and often disturbing - amount of car knowledge. I know many things apart from being able to drive. Which is why when my Dad has to change hsi car every few years he is harassed by me so I can get him the best possible car. In 1999 my Dad was in-line for a new car and yours truely was the first to get involved. Now my Dad doesn't really like cars but he bares with it. Being part of a company my Dad was to get a company car and so we got a list of cars we could have. As his job involved ferrying things around the country he needed a big car - prefrably an estate. Soon I was delving into the brochures, trying to find the best car for my Dads needs. The list consisted of ... Ford Mondeo estate Mazda 626 estate VW Passat estate Vauxhall Vectra estate Citroen Xantia estate The list was small but I worked hard to find the best car. First up was the Mondeo. We decide that the Mondeo was a big car but was ageing rapidly. The dumpy looks put my Dad off so he didn't bother with the test drive. He never really thought of buying a Mazda and the bland 626 was the pinnacle of boredom. Unforunately, my Dad can be a bit car-predjudice - you know he'd buy a VW not a Skoda or buy a European car not a little known but just as good Korean car. This meant the Vauxhall, and their image which has been flushed down the toilet more times than Vanessa Feltz TV career, was never going to be on top of the list. It was the same with the Citroen. To him it rented the phrase 'A French car on my driveway' - see what I mean. That left the VW. The Passat was the favourite from the beginning - I sound like a football commentator - and in the end saw my Dad reaching for the cheque books - well the company anyway. For the last few years we had been tootling around in an A
udi A4. It was the best car we had ever had - no problems or anything. Its quality, drive, style and of course that badge meant it was a cut above the rest in the street. But it had to go as the contract ran out. It seemed only real if we stayed in the VW group. So we now owned the VW Passat 1.6 Estate and we were all looking forward to owning it. My dad took delivery of it at the beginning of 2000 and has since ran without a murmur. My Dad has truely enjoyed driving it. He is constantly telling me how good the car is. He always says that the car handles better than any other estate. The larger body doesn't compromise the Passats handling either. We live in Suffolk and the twisty bends should take its toll on the big car but no. Apparantly the Passat remains nimble and involving - those journalsts no nothing. From my point of view there are no better looking estates around at the moment even after a few years. True the Passat has just been refreshed but it is just a small makeover on an already good-looking car. The simple styling is understated and although it doesn't jump out at you, its clean-cut lines wouldn't look out of place in the worlds most competative area - the executive car park. Indeed, my Dad has inspired many to buy the Passat and many have done. The interior is superior though. It like its exterior is simple but very effective and the build quality is second to none. The reassuring black plastics look and feel as solid as the day it left the production line. Thanks to my Dads demanding job he needs a big boot to take his equipment and the Passat doesn't fail there either. Flick the remote cental locking and prise open the boot and you'll find yourself staring into a dark abyss - no I haven't forgotton to open my eyes. Okay its a bit exaggerated but the boot is that big. Drop the rear seats and the Passat is as good a workhorse as any other car. It is finally the first ever spacious, stylish estat
e on the market. The best thing about this car though is the name. The Passat doesn't need to attach Touring or Avant to its name. Although estate is dowdy its quality is enough to secure any buyers names to their sales list. So far I have praised this car to the moon and back but unfortunately like all cars there is a problem. When we had the Audi we went to our nearest Audi dealer. When we bought the Passat we went to the same dealer but the VW derivative. However, while the Audi sevicing was exemplary, the VW service has been appaling. The Passat has been very good but when it goes for a service there is always a problem The list of VW dealership problems... Should have been back by 12.00 - didn't get it back till 5.00 The VW badge on the engine goes missing The seat is ripped - new one has to be bought Have to pick up the car instead of having it dropped round like they should Water from the engine, straight after the service, gets into the headlights. When we went for the new seat they said they hadn't ordered it yet - after 2 weeks Considering we have only had the car for a less than 2 years this is awful. In the JD Power survey for customer satisfaction VW were one of the lowest marques and we acn see why. If we buy another VW we are getting it serviced elsewhere. ( If anyonelse agrees leave a comment ). In a few months time we could be taking order of a new car. It now has to be an estate and a diesel. My Dad hates diesels but I have desperately tried to convince him that they are getting better. We dont know what is on the list but I have a very good idea... VW Passat Renault Laguna II Vauxhall Vectra Ford Mondeo Nissan Primera Volvo S40 Citroen C5 If anybody owns these cars as an estate or sallon or hatch than let me know as it would really help. Just leave a comment. ( Anybody who owns a diesel variant of these
cars will be much obliged to tell me ) Overall the Passat is a great car. Its poor servicing prevents it from being better than the Audi A4 but it rates a close second. We will be looking very closely into the new Passat because it is a fantastic car.