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VW Passat S Saloon 1.6S

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      31.07.2001 00:36
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      one of the finest Saturdays (weather wise) this year and what do I have to do? drive 75 miles to collect my new car that's what! great! 75 miles in the glorious early summer sun on beautiful winding roads through the gently rolling landscape of Derbyshire in my new (to me) 1997 Volkswagon Passat. The model is 1.6S so it is not the fasted car in the world, and I did have reservations when I initially saw it, but during the test drive I was pleased to discover that it is more responsive and quicker 0-60 than my previous car which was a Renault Laguna 1.8RT which I took great pleasure in driving for four years. On the drive home I really got to grips with my new car and was impressed with its handling, it holds the road remarkably well and glides over bumps and holes in the road with consummate ease. When driving over cats-eyes in the Laguna I would experience a loud thud and a shake whereas the Passat smoothly and quietly takes them in its stride. I found that it is extremely quiet with very little road noise and a quiet engine even at high revs. The Passat only really showed its lack of power on steep hills, I had to drop a gear and really drive them rather than rolling over them as I would in a car with a bigger engine. On the whole though the performance was more than adequate for inner city driving and motorways, you must however understand that I am a family man and have never been a racer (even as a boy). Being an S model it is one of the basic versions, so no AC here then, however that doesn't mean it has no luxury features. The car is well equipped, ABS breaks, driver and passenger airbags, rear headrests, electric front windows, electric mirrors, steering column adjustment and it even has a nifty hidden cup holder. The electric sunroof operates in a much better way than the Laguna's, you don't have to hold down a button until it is open enough, you just turn the dial the required amount
      and leave it to it, this is obviously safer as this means I can now open the sunroof at the same time as changing channels on the radio and steering (all I need now is two heads). This system also makes closing it easier, with the Laguna if you wanted to close the sunroof you had to hold the button down until it reached the closed position - a fraction of a second longer and it would lift in the tilt mode (sometimes I would think it was closed only to find that when I went on the motorway the increased wind noise would reveal that it was not) .............ahh!......I digress.......this is supposed to be about the Passat........... Being over six foot tall means that legroom and cabin height play a large part in my car choice, I find that the cabin space is more than adequate with plenty of headroom even before operating the seat lowering facility, this means I can sit quite upright which is better for comfort and posture and has the advantage of allowing more legroom for the passengers in the rear (I sat in and Audi A4, which I have been told is built on the same chassis, and felt a lot more cramped). The interior styling is very simple and smart, all of the controls are intuitive and well thought out with nothing fancy but everything of a high build quality (certainly nothing even close to vulgar or garish). The cars exterior is very modern looking, masculine, bold and strong yet stylish and quite chic. It has the appearance you would expect of a quality car. As for the economy side of things, give me a chance I've only had it three days, please watch this space...........


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