FIRST DRIVE: Driven takes the VW Passat for a spin in Jordan
Volkswagen launched its seventh generation Passat on the shores of the Dead Sea last week and Driven's Christine MacKay went along for the ride.
The 2012 version of the popular Passat, which has sold more than 15 million worldwide since its launch in 1973, is larger and more comfortable than its predecessor.
The new Passat is also a good looking proposition, quite sleek for a saloon and definitely benefits from VW’s dominant styling. And it’s the little things, like the sleek shiny grille, intricate headlight units, striking alloys and sculpted wheel arches that make VW stand out from the crowd.
The new long body is sleek but muscular and has gone back to an older VW feel of solid and serious with an element of elegant rather than the fun look of the newer Golfs.
One of the things I love most about Volkswagens is just how safe you feel in them. They make solid, responsive cars and the Passat is no different. VW has again gone all out and it’s no surprise that it has more models in the top safety class, 10 in all, than any other carmaker.
VW have made some adjustments to their seventh generation Passat specifically for the UAE and US markets and the emirates’ shopaholics are well catered for with a whopping 529l boot space.
The extra length of the new Middle East Passat – at just under 4.9m it’s the largest Passat ever - and the extended wheelbase makes for an impressive amount of interior room, with three more inches of wiggle room for passengers in the back.
There are also tethers for three child seats in the rear – let’s hope this is enough to persuade more UAE motorists to strap in their children securely.
In the front of the new Passat, the driving and passenger space is also exceptionally comfortable - roomy and with electronically adjustable seats for height as well as adjustable lumbar support.
The cockpit furnishing offers a twist of modern, with the black and chrome fittings, and old-fashioned cigar lounge chic, with brown and faux wood-type paneling. It definitely has a manly feel to but I’m sure a few feminine knick-knacks - pair of pink fluffy dice anyone - can help dilute the testosterone levels nicely.
As for the gadgets, as you would expect, there are plenty of bells and whistles with this new offering.
The new Passat comes in four models - S, SE, SEL and SPORT - and is available with a 2.5l, 170bhp five-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox, 16”, 17” and 18" alloy wheels, electric seat adjustment, leather seats, radio-navigation system, front fog lights with static cornering lights, automatic climate control, ambiance lighting and keyless access engine starting and locking system.
The starting price is Dhs90,999.