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2018 Volkswagen Passat GT First Drive Review

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2018 Volkswagen Passat GT First Drive Review

The Volkswagen Passat is just not a sedan recognized for sportiness. It is very spacious, and it is available in a plain and easy wrapper. That is why it was a little bit of shock when Volkswagen confirmed an idea for a “GT” model that seemed like an enormous GTI, full with black grille and pink highlights, decrease experience peak and large wheels. It was much more shocking that the car, which VW stated was developed by people on the firm’s Tennessee facility enjoying round with concepts for what a Passat might be, turned a manufacturing vehicle proven at this yr’s Detroit Auto Present.

One thing has involved us, although, and that is the very fact the Passat GT’s solely efficiency upgrades are retuned suspension and a louder exhaust. So regardless of the GTI appears, it appeared to lack the full complement of GTI-type upgrades. To seek out out if the Passat GT has any of the sporting chops of its legendary sibling, we took one for a spin in southeast Michigan.

Engine and transmission

Eager readers will discover that the engine and transmission weren’t listed among the many elements upgraded for the Passat GT. It retains the identical three.6-liter slender-angle V6 (generally generally known as the VR6) that you could get within the much less-sport-oriented Passat. Fortunately, it is nonetheless a fairly highly effective engine with 280 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque. That provides it roughly 30 extra horsepower than many turbocharged 4-cylinder midsize sedans, and a deficit of about 10 to twenty pound-ft of torque to lots of these sedans. Nonetheless, the Toyota Camry V6’s whopping 301 horsepower and 267 pound-ft of torque outdo the VW, and the turbocharged Mazda6 with its monstrous 310 pound-ft of torque stays the pulling king.

The unchanged VR6 engine is coupled to the additionally-unchanged six-velocity twin-clutch automated transmission. This transmission is the one choice for the Passat GT, which can come as a disappointment to these hoping for one thing that appears like a GTI. The rationale for the shortage of a guide transmission is that Volkswagen discontinued manuals throughout the board for this era, citing a take price of lower than 1 %. Including a brand new guide would’ve added complexity and price to the car.

Whereas the powertrain does not look notably thrilling on paper, it is truly quite fulfilling in follow. The VR6 is glad to rev, and pulls properly proper as much as redline. It additionally sounds wonderful. That is helped partially by that revised exhaust system that, whereas not providing any additional energy, does give the car additional growl. It is a good deep tone with a touch of popping, and it sounds pure. The twin-clutch transmission works properly, too. It does nonetheless have just a little hesitation from a cease and at crawling speeds, however when you’re in your approach, it shifts impressively easily and shortly. It is fast to reply in guide mode, too, so it makes for a enjoyable, partaking powertrain when driving briskly.

Journey and dealing with

As talked about, about the one vital efficiency improve the Passat GT will get is the brand new suspension. It has stiffer springs and shocks than regular fashions. The brand new suspension additionally lowers the Passat GT by zero.6 inch.

Behind the wheel, the suspension, like a lot of the remainder of the car, makes the Passat GT sportier, however does not go full GTI. Physique roll is sort of delicate, principally displaying up in lengthy, quick corners corresponding to freeway ramps. The car feels secure and composed when going by way of corners, supplying you with confidence to attempt them with a bit extra velocity the subsequent time round. The suspension can not help the steering, although. The helm is weighted decently, however it is not as sharp as we might like for a very sporty car.

What’s actually spectacular is that the Passat GT is genuinely snug, the upside of not going full sports activities sedan. It is clean for probably the most half, and when you really feel some firmness over bigger bumps, the influence isn’t harsh. We might virtually see this suspension getting used throughout the entire Passat line, but when the brand new Jetta is any indication, regular VW sedan consumers in all probability need their automobiles as gentle as potential. So if in case you have even an oz of want for an honest-dealing with car, that is the Passat to think about.


All VW Passat GTs include the identical interior, which features black plastic and two-tone black and grey leatherette upholstery. There are a number of small visible modifications together with removing of the analog clock on the middle stack in favor of a Passat emblem, and the addition of a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel and stainless door sill plates that say “GT.” The entrance seats are heated, and the driving force’s seat will get energy changes. These entrance seats are fairly snug, too, with thick padding that ought to keep snug over the lengthy haul, and a few mild bolstering for help, if not an enormous quantity of safety in tight turns.

The interior is engaging sufficient, if a tad uninteresting. This can be very consumer-pleasant, although. Controls are straightforward to seek out and use, and the touchscreen, whereas a bit small, is simple and fairly responsive. The instrument panel is clear and straightforward to learn, too, although the information display within the center is horribly outdated. Solely a TI-eighty three graphing calculator can be jealous of it. Most of the supplies fall brief, too, consisting of arduous, low cost plastics virtually in all places. The clearly pretend carbon fiber trim does not assist both.

2018 VW Passat GT interior

Like all different Passats, although, the GT has a bonus in rear passenger consolation. I used to be capable of sit within the again with the driving force’s seat positioned the place I had left it, and I nonetheless had a very good four to six inches between my knees and the again of the seat. The official measurement for rear leg room is 39.1 inches, which is barely bigger than a lot of midsize sedans, however is exceeded by the Honda Accord. It is a disgrace the entrance does not get as a lot area, which, at forty two.four inches, is extra corresponding to the tighter Mazda6 and Ford Fusion. The 15.9-cubic-foot trunk can also be par for the course. There’s additionally a caveat to rear passenger consolation. Sitting within the center shall be somewhat disagreeable as a consequence of a really tall and extensive middle tunnel.

Pricing and worth

The Passat GT’s spotlight may truly be its price. It begins at $29,995. Till now, the one method to get a VR6-powered Passat was to get the SEL Premium, which began at a considerable $35,500. It is also considerably lower than a Camry V6, and a bit lower than the Mazda6 turbo, Kia Optima SX, Honda Accord 2.0T and Chevy Malibu with the engine. The few automobiles which are cheaper with comparable energy are the Ford Fusion SE with the engine and the Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T. Although the GT is not as nicely-outfitted because the SEL Premium, it nonetheless comes with an influence sunroof, automated local weather management, automated emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-visitors help, and the heated entrance seats we already talked about. The Passat GT, like all VWs save for the e-Golf, additionally will get a 6-yr/seventy two,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that exceeds that of most different automakers. One area the place the Passat GT loses out although is fuel financial system. It will get 19 mpg within the metropolis, 28 on the freeway and 22 mixed. Most different midsize sedans with each turbo engines and V6s recover from 20 on the town and over 30 on the freeway.


When you’re married to the concept the Passat GT must be an enormous GTI, this sedan will disappoint you. However in case you can let that concept go, the Passat GT is a extremely compelling car. It provides good energy with a candy sound at a aggressive price. It has dealing with that may maintain you fairly entertained when the roads get twisty whereas not punishing you once you’re cruising potholed metropolis streets. And it is all wrapped up in a pretty, spacious package deal. It is a ok all-’rounder that even individuals who aren’t on the lookout for sporty driving ought to take it into consideration.

– 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT First Drive Review –

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