The Volkswagen Passat has been busy recently, mostly because I’ve moved house.
This means the way I use the VW has changed in the short term. The most significant difference is that there’s no way I’m plugging an EV into the dodgy electrics in my new place. One mains socket melted when I was using a vacuum cleaner to clean out the Passat and another blew up my microwave, so for now I have a strict ‘one on, one off’ policy with appliances – and I’m not charging the car. The upshot is that I’ve gone from doing around 65% of driving on battery power to barely 25%.
I’ve also reversed what was becoming a rapid de gentrification of the interior. Following the move,the VW took on the role of builder’s van/skip, which didn’t bode well for its residual value. So I spent a couple of hours cleaning it out, which, apart from almost setting fire to my kitchen when I was vacuuming, highlighted just how robust the trim is. Most impressive was how easy it was to vacuum dust and bits out of the plush carpets. You’ll often find footwells lined with a scratchy, cheap material that holds dirt like Velcro, but not here. It came up like new – which, of course, it nearly is.
One feature that came in handy was the Dynamic Chassis Control suspension. I’ve long maintained that the firm Sport setting on these systems serves more use as a way of compensating for a heavy load, and so it proved with the boot loaded with 1125kg bags of sand and cement.
At the press of a button, the ‘slow motion accident’ body control and wallowy suspension were restored to a semblance of normality.
Another handy extra has been a set of roof bars. They’re VW-branded so they’re not cheap (£206), but they were a doddle to fit and are brilliant for carrying ladders, scaffolding planks and, soon, sheets of old asbestos. I’ll keep the sunroof closed for that trip to the dump.
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT GTE ADVANCE DSG ESTATE
Price £39,770 (after £2500 gov’t grant) Price as tested £42,360 (after grant) Options Driver’s Assistance Pack Plus (including emergency assist intervention, dynamic light assist, lane assist, predictive pedestrian protection and traffic jam assist) £1225, Dynamic Chassis Control £725, metallic paint £595, rubber boot mat £45 Economy 60.9mpg Faults None Expenses None
I’m starting to think our Passat’s ‘St Tropez’ cream trim wasn’t such a bright idea. Keeping it clean is a full-time job, aided by a supply of Huggies baby wipes in the glovebox. Shoe scrapes on the door cubbies and finger marks on the door pulls are the biggest offenders. Hopefully I won’t have to deal with a five-year- old’s Ribena sick on the rear seat.