It has a big boot. That’s about all you can say about this car. It’s an unusual way to start a car review but if you have any interest in cars, please stop reading now. Driving the Passat is like death of a thousand paper cuts via your accountant. It’s beige inextremis. In other words it’s deathly boring.
I was driving this car by default as it’s what was on offer at Hertz Montreal. Given I only needed a car for the day to drive from Montreal to Quebec it was no big deal. It had a big boot (trunk if you’re American) and took all our luggage. I mean it took 2 full size suit cases and fairly large cabin bags effortlessly. With what it costs to rent cars here, that will have to do.
Clearly this is not a German built Passat. While it looks like it was hewn from solid stone from the outside, inside the plastics feel a little sub par. This car has 60,000 on the clock and the door skin was feeling a bit flimsy. So fit and finish isn’t great. It just feels a little bit cheap. The seats weren’t exactly rock hard like other Euro Volksys either which is a bit strange. So these Mexican built cars really aren’t as solid as their Seth Efrican or Euro forebears.
When it comes to the driving it’s uninvolving to say the least. It’s gutless when putting along in city traffic. Sure it cruises at highway speeds well enough. But the noise levels with winter tyres was at times unbearable. Worse still the noise of the engine under acceleration is like the sound of otters flaying. I don’t really know what it sounded like but it didn’t sound particularly good.
In fairness, it proved it can pony up those otters and accelerate hard onto highway entries when you really need them. It did soak up the bumps of Canada’s terrible roads (the winter takes quite a toll on the tarmac) quite well too.
It drank about 30 litres of fuel to get me from Montreal to Quebec via the long way, with plenty of sightseeing. Which to me seems reasonable but not amazing. But it certainly didn’t have the 1000k per tank range that the trip computer was promising.
All in all perhaps the Passat did an OK job. But the happiest moment was handing back the keys. It’s just a plain as the nose on your face car with no aspirations. At least my little Honda Civic still thinks it’s a motorbike.