As I put my foot on the accelerator
the car jolted forward and threw me back in my seat.
I wasn’t surprised at the power. It’s what I have come to expect from Volkswagen engines.
But I was surprised that the power was flowing through the mid-size Passat sedan. A car built for comfort and long family trips shouldn’t really have this much power.
But thanks to the 3.6-litre VR6 engine pumping out 280 horses, the Passat is not just a car built for comfort, it moves when you hit the gas pedal.
I have read a few negative reviews about the 2018 Passat with the 2.0-litre engine producing 174 hp. Those reviewers felt the power was lacking, even though the turbocharged 2.0-litre replaced a previous 1.8-litre engine.
However, my tester for the week was the 2018 Passat Comfortline GT and at no point did I have a single complaint about the power. It was there when needed.
The Passat continues to be a strong seller for Volkswagen and after a week in the car I can see why. I last drove the Passat in 2016 and noted then the car offers a lot of comfort and style with great power.
The Passat continues to offer comfort and style with great power.
But there was one small thing missing.
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While the 2016 Passat had a push-button start, Volkswagen continued to offer the flip open key that didn’t come with the 2018 edition.
The Passat is available in three trims - Trendline, Comfortline and top of the mountain Highline.
The Comfortline comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-litre TSI engine but my tester featured the GT model which bumps the engine to the 3.6-litre VR6.
One of the other big differences is the tire size. The Comfortline has a 17-inch tire while the GT increases that to 19 inches giving the sedan an even more aggressive stance.
Both engines feature a Tiptronic automatic transmission letting you manually move through the six gears but as I have repeated often, it doesn’t offer the same sensation as driving a standard.
Stepping into the Passat and falling into your seat you can’t help but feel comfortable. Everything seems to be just where it should.
While many car manufacturers are moving away from buttons and knobs on the dash, Volkswagen still offers easy to use buttons and large knobs to control the stereo and heat and air conditioning.
There’s no need to take a quick look at the dash while driving to see if you are turning the station or turning down the air conditioning. Within a few minutes you get very comfortable with the controls.
The controls on the steering wheel aren’t overwhelming and the 6.3-inch touchscreen with the proximity sensor (yeah) and CD player (double yeah) is one of the best in the business.
My Passat featured silver metallic paint with a black roof. Add in the red trim around the front of the Passat and red calipers on the wheels and the car definitely stands out from most sedans on the road.
The Passat Comfortline comes loaded with standard features such as eight-way power seats, aluminum pedals, a 400-watt sound package (another one of the best in the business offered by Volkswagen) keyless access with push button start, sport seats and sport-tuned dual exhaust.
An $895 driver assistance package offers adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection with rear traffic alert, front assist with autonomous braking and park assist.
Volkswagen has also thought of other ways to help you parallel park with the exterior mirrors automatically aiming down when you put the car in reverse. It will seem strange at first but when you get use to it you get another view to help you back up safely.
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Volkswagen is also proud of its easy open trunk which opens with a swipe of your foot as long as you have the keys on you but just a warning.
It never opened fully for me and if I didn’t lift it all the way up, it had a tendency to fall down. My wife discovered that the hard way when the trunk hit her in the head while she was reaching in for a bag of groceries.
The cost of the Volkswagen Passat falls in the middle of competing sedans but offers a lot of standard features others don’t.
The Passat is a solid family car that you can feel comfortable driving in any weather or for any long-distance trip.
It won’t take you long to figure out why the Passat continues to be a best seller for Volkswagen.
2018 Volkswagen Passat Comfortline GT
Four-door mid-size sedan
Front-wheel-drive, six-speed automatic transmission.
3.6-litre V6 (280 hp, 258 lb/ft torque)
(Regular) 12.2/8.5L/100 km city/highway
$34,690, includes Driver Assistance Package.