Interior: Understated luxury
Inside, the Passat is unapologetically German – clean, functional, impeccably put together with top quality materials. Luxury is the order of the day, something you’d expect from a premium executive sedan – upholstery wrapped in ‘Vienna’ leather and ‘iridium’ decorative inserts. Thankfully no faux wooden panels. Win.
The new 12-way electrically adjustable front seats are great, although I find them a little flat. My big fat behind tends to move about when negating some corners. Not a pretty sight. The wobbling bits I mean. Also, the seating position is slightly on the high side despite having adjusted to the lowest setting. Doesn’t feel like I’m driving a van, but for a six-footer, a tad lower would have been ideal.
I like the feel of the steering – grippy, well-weighted and not feeling plasticky. On-steering controls are within reach, as with attached control stalks. For those who feel they need some ‘manual’ control, there’s the unmissable paddle shifts on the underside of the steering too.
The instrument cluster is clean and functional without having to resort to over-styling and gimmickry, and certainly no fancy blue or orange LED lights. Thank you, VW.
The vehicle information system is easy to use and functional, as with the car audio system on the centre console. Where it lacks in the cosmetics department, it delivers in terms of getting the job done. Navigation is straight-forward, and the touch-screen display is adequately responsive. The addition of Bluetooth functionality is a bonus, enabling audio streaming and phone connectivity.
In the glove compartment there’s a USB adapter cable for tethered access to your phone. I tested it on an iPhone and a HTC One M8 and it worked flawlessly. It charges up the phone too.
More photos of the 2014 VW Passat on Flickr.com
There’s more than enough storage compartments, although when compared to Japanese makes it may be described as merely adequate. There’s storage on the doors, centre arm rest, a pair of drink holders and even a compartment for your sunglasses above.