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A PAIR OF PASSIONATE PASSATS

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Jul 12, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

A PAIR OF PASSIONATE PASSATS By Paul Robinson I grew up surrounded by hot rods, big V8s making a lot of torque and horsepower. I have driven cars my entire life that can turn a pair of new tires into a cloud of white smoke, and was not expecting that type of excitement from the Passat. The problem with many of the hotrods or muscle cars I have driven in the past is they are only good at going fast and are a handful to drive. The Passat on the other hand is a smooth every day driver that also might smoke the car next to you. Having been given both the 3.2L VR6 4Motion and the 2.0 Turbo it allowed me twice the time to drive the Passat platform. I spend about half my waking life sitting on the 405 and I am very picky about what I drive. Like most, I want a quiet comfortable vehicle with enough amenities to keep my occupied while driving to and from business meetings but also don't want to be seen driving a car I would expect my grand parents to drive.

Passat 2.0T Volkswagen has been known in the past decade as a young person's car and there is no question as to why. The sporty Audi inspired look can plainly be seen in the Passat, and this look is backed up with some serous power. The 2.0 Turbo with its 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque and the all wheel drive VR6 stomping in with 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque both have enough power for you to recommend a diaper for the passengers. The only thing about the Passat that has been disappointing is the torque steer in the 2.0 as the wheel is nearly being ripped from my hands on hard acceleration. The 4 motion on the other hand is difficult to break the tires loose or even get a squeal out of them. I'm taking full advantage of the speed warning alarm. The steering in both cars could be more aggressive but then again I don't think the average driver for the Passat will be taking the onramp to the 405 quite like I do. Driving on the 5 through Camp Pendleton on my way to a business meeting with the sun roof open listening to the Sirius satellite radio because the LA radio stations are beginning to fade I start to play with the Navigation and stereo system. The 10 Speaker 600-watt stereo system more than fills the car with great tunes with very little distortion even at high volume with the windows down. Both vehicles also come with an audio jack in the center console perfect for plugging in your IPOD or MP3 Player. I am slightly disappointed navigation does not come with the Sirius traffic feature, but I guess they do need to leave some features for the Passat Audi counterpart.

Passat 2.0T The Passat, although not very large on the exterior (182.2 inches x 71.7 inches), has a lot of passenger room and is very ergonomically friendly. The fact it passed what I like to call the "big man" test was very surprising to me. Being a big guy and a rugby player I have a lot of large friends, and if my 6 foot 9 inch, 300 lb friends can sit comfortably in the car, the car passes the big man test. As a big guy I often become cramped in small and mid sized cars and to my surprise the Passat was very roomy and even after spending an entire day in the drivers seat I was comfortable and did not feel at all cramped. Both the 2.0T and the 3.2L VR6 4Motion are amazing cars and are a pleasure to drive. It is surprising just how different the 2 vehicles are considering the youthfully designed exteriors look almost identical. The front wheel drive 2.0 pricing in at around $24,000 is economical (EPA 29MPG Highway) and does not offer many of the features of the VR6 but for those who know where they're going and don't need to get there at Mach 6 it's a great fit. The VR6 4Motion on the other hand rivals most of the European sports cars with its list of features including navigation, Bi-Xenon headlamps, rain sensing wipers, electronic brake pressure distribution, Tiptronic six-speed transmission, tire and brake pad monitoring systems, and traction controlled all-wheel drive. This vehicle is no slouch and fully equipped at $41,000 you will pay for your fun. This speed demon will pass just about everything on the road except a gas station - only getting an EPA 16 MPG in the city. This German duo has left me with a smile on my face and looking forward to what Volkswagen has coming up next.

Passat 3.2L VR6 4Motion SIDEBAR COMMENT Holy crap! $41,000 for a Volkswagen Passat? As has been the case for the past two generations, the base 2.0T Passat is the better buy. It's got nearly all of the goodness of the top-of-the-line model, is plenty quick, gets better gas mileage, and will save you lots of greenbacks - both up front and in resale value. Despite the formidable competition from the Far East, the Passat remains the most fun-to-drive of all the family sedans out there. - Roy Nakano

Passat 3.2L VR6 4Motion SUMMARY JUDGMENT The proverbial enthusiast's family sedan. For more information about Volkswagen products, go to vw.com  SPECIFICATIONS

Passat 2.0T Passat 2.0T Vehicle Statistics Price: $23,990.00 Engine: Inline 4-cylinder spark-ignition engine with fuel straight injection, exhaust turbocharger with intercooler, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts (DOHC) Horsepower: 200 @ 5,100-6000 rpm Torque: 207 lb - ft. @ 1800 - 5000 rpm EPA miles per gallon estimate: 21-29 MPG Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission: Automatic: 6-speed with Tiptronic®/ Manual: 6-speed Front suspension: McPherson concept with triangular wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Four-link independent rear suspension with telescopic shock absorber arrangement, weight optimized anti-roll bar. Axle acoustically decoupled from body. Wheels/tire: 6 1/2J X 16" steel wheels, with full wheel cover Brakes: Power assisted front vented disc brakes. Rear solid disc brakes. ABS TRW EBC 440, with Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) with Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) all four wheels Overall length: 188.2 in Overall width: 71.7 in Overall height: 58.0 in Curb weight: 3,305 lbs

Passat 3.2L VR6 4Motion Passat VR6 4Motion Vehicle Statistics Price: $38,000.00 $40,840.00 (as tested) Engine: 6 cylinder, 4V Horsepower: 280 @ 6,200 rpm Torque: 265 @ 2,750 rpm EPA miles per gallon estimate: 16-24 MPG Drive configuration: 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with Haldex center differential Transmission: Automatic: 6-speed with Tiptronic® Front suspension: McPherson concept with triangular wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Four-link independent rear suspension with telescopic shock absorber arrangement, weight optimized anti-roll bar. Axle acoustically decoupled from body. Wheels/tire: 8J x 18" alloy wheels Brakes: Power assisted front vented disc brakes. Rear solid disc brakes. ABS TRW EBC 440, with Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) with Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) all four wheels Overall length: 188.2 in Overall width: 71.7 in Overall height: 58.0 in Curb weight: 3,829 lbs

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