VW Passat: Getting connected

  • Road test editor's first impressions are positive
  • Refined engine hits the sweet spot
  • Ipod connectivity proves VW's attention to detail

For the past few weeks the Passat long-termer has been in the capable hands of our road test editor Simon McBride, so I thought I would get his views on this stylish estate that hasn’t put a foot wrong so far:

My first impressions of Tim’s Passat were very good indeed, and the first thing that struck me was how strong the engine is. The 2.0-litre diesel is quick enough for pretty much every situation but because it is so refined you don’t think you are travelling that fast, particularly on the motorway. The downside of this is you have to make sure you keep a lid on your speed otherwise your driving licence will soon be appropriated by the courts. So, cruise control it is then.

Then you’ve got the stop/start function which is equally impressive. It’s not a clunky start-up and if you are spending a lot of time driving around town, which I have over the past two weeks, you do feel secure in the knowledge that your fuel bills are being kept to an absolute minimum. It still hurts when you fill the Passat and your fuel receipt reads over £90.

Whatever, the Passat is great to drive, which is no surprise because it's a VW, but there is one thing on the car that I do consider to be one of the long-termer’s best attributes and although it’s a simple thing, it does tell you that VW has a great attention to detail.

For a while Tim (who hadn’t bothered to look very hard at the spec sheet) was convinced that there wasn’t a proper connection for an iPod, merely an aux-in socket that wouldn’t give you full control of the iPod’s functions.

However, inside the glove box lies a little orange tag with a music note on it, telling you in subtle terms that this is the iPod connector. There's an arrow effectively telling you to pull the tag down. When you do the iPod er... pod, is revealed with the connecting socket ready to take your MP3 player. Once that's done, you simply push the panel back in and it's tucked away tidily. It’s a work of genius as far as I'm concerned.

It’s only a small thing, but it is a nice touch and it lets you know that VW is thinking just that little more about its products than other manufacturers and responding to customers' wants and needs. Rather than just have a hanging wire like others do, this little unit much more user-friendly and tidier. In this respect VW is moving the game on.

Current mileage: 13,523 miles

Average mpg: 45.6mpg