Volkswagen unveils tech-savvy 2016 Passat with ambitious DNA

By The Citizen
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The Volkswagen Centre has unveiled the much anticipated revolutionary tech-savvy eight-generation 2016 Volkswagen Passat.

The mid-to-upscale Wolfsburg family sedan is a deservingly makeover of its Chattanooga-built predecessor that made a debut in 2012.

Positioned between Golf (Jetta) and Phaeton in the current Volkswagen line-up, the new Passat is significantly fitted with swank exterior, more aggressive features with exceptionally refined interior appointments.

In what could perhaps be an industry first, the new Passat's exterior is characterized by sleek horizontal lines with uniquely shaped headlight units and LED headlamps that look strikingly different.

This is in addition to short overhangs, long wheelbase, striking bonnet and shoulder lines with excellently shaped radiator grille and front bumper.

The LED headlights for instance have a far more prominent eye-catching chrome strips and unmistakably daytime driving light that carries over into the grille, and at the rear, the stylish taillights also lit by LED, change the graphics from horizontal to vertical when the brakes are applied.

Donning a sporty elegant design with top-class comfort and innovative technologies like modern infotainment and comprehensive connectivity, the new Passat is coveted as Europe 'Car-of-the-Year 2015.'

The design of the new Passat is no doubt a fusion of man and machine with its total weight reduced by 85 kilogram compared to its predecessor. This weight reduction which compares to the average weight of man with a height of about 1.80 meters remarkably helps in lowering the average consumption and superior driving comfort of the car which is designed with innovative MQB platform and various lightweight construction measures. These innovations make the car more agile and faster.

On the outside, Volkswagen has changed the body panel from the A-pillar forward, even though it isn't quite noticeable, just about every exterior detail, including the trunk and the taillights have received razor-edge treatment, with the headlights becoming extensions of the sleeker grille.

The interior has similarly gone decidedly upscale with improved materials that include real stitching everywhere, including the armrests, while every button and knob moves with precision to provide perfect tactile feedback.

For instance, the standard instruments cluster now look classy and exclusive, with a standard 5.0-inch display screen similar to the one fitted in the new Audi TT. The steering wheel has also been redesigned, incorporating a switch to a frameless rear-view mirror; broad air vents with three vanes and a centrally positioned analogue clock.

The Passat also gets a host of other features and safety attributes for the 2016 model year. They include easy-open keyless access to the trunk that only requires a moving foot near the back of the vehicle to open and Post-collision Braking System, which is now standard on all models across line-up. This new system will apply the brakes after a primary collision is detected by airbag sensors, which helps to reduce residual kinetic energy and the possibility of additional damage.

Others are adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane departure warning, aerial view overhead camera and parking steering assist.

The biggest change inside, aside from the adjusted designs is the Volkswagen modular infotainment platform called the MIB II Standard on all models. The system uses a capacitive touch sensor like that of a Smartphone for gesture controls like pinch-zooming or swiping. This technology offers up shorter response times with the proximity sensor and the system can switch its display automatically for an easier selection of certain features.

The Stallion Motors Volkswagen Centre head of sales marketing Manish Daryanani said this much in Lagos at the product presentation of the 2016 Passat, remarking that the front seats of the car are nicely bolstered with 12-way power adjustable front seats with active climate and are wide enough to not incarcerate the passengers. In the back, the Passat's full-size sedan dimensions would give even 6-footers ample room to stretch out their legs just as the car's trunk is large enough to accommodate 15.9 cubic feet of cargo, and you can haul bulkier items when the 60/40 rear seatbacks are folded down.

He said: 'The quality of the VW Passat’s interior materials is among the best in the class. Its overall cabin design is decidedly upscale, while the layout of gauges and controls is refreshingly simple. The premium Fender audio system will please even hard-core audiophiles, and the new infotainment system is faster to respond to inputs and easier to use than the old unit. Smartphone and media players can now connect to the system via a USB port, rather than the previous MDI plug,' Mr. Daryanani affirmed.

The current generation of Volkswagen Passat made its debut for 2012 and went on to be named Motor Trend's 2012 Car-of-the-Year. With little changes, the model was refreshed, and the 2016 Passat appears to have addressed the needed updates.

Available in five main trim levels: S, R-Line, SE, SEL and SEL premium, The Stallion Motors Volkswagen Centre, official marketers and distributors of Volkswagen in Nigeria says only the SE and SEL trims will be on sale at her showrooms.

The SE, for instance is equipped with 17-inch wheels, a sliding armrest, rear air-conditioning vents, adaptive cruise control, HD and satellite radio. There's also a second USB port and a collision mitigation system with automating braking.

Other packages are fog lights, automatic wipers, keyless entry and ignition; hands-free trunk opener with foot sensor, an auto dimming rear-view mirror and an eight-speaker sound system. A lighting package is available for all trims which includes fog lights and LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights.

The SEL takes the features from the SE with Technology package and adds an eight-way power passenger seat (with four-way power lumbar) driver memory settings, leather upholstery, a premium Fender audio system and ample luggage space.

The front-wheel drive 2016 Volkswagen Passat is powered by HL SE and HL SEL 1.8 LT with 132Kw at 180bhp mated to a six-speed automated manual (known as DSG).

The new Passat is one of the most successful mid-class cars in the world with 1.1 million units in 2014 - one of the highest volume series of the Volkswagen Group worldwide.

But how does the new Volkswagen feels when driven? Like its predecessor, the 2016 Passat is surprisingly agile with excellent road manners - thanks to Volkswagen intelligent electro-mechanical power steering, rough road suspensions that helps to achieve good balance between comfort and feedback.

The new Passat is no doubt a driver's delight anytime and it would impress vast majority of buyers. It is a quiet unit too, letting out a hum only when hurried from a start and staying silent at highway speeds and beyond, an expert reviewer affirmed.

Although the Passat is imbued with a chain of tech-savvy innovations, it is most likely to be locked in contest in the mid-to-up-scale segment with the likes of Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and even the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes Benz C-Class.