[Behind the Wheel] No surprises with VW's solid new Passat GT
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Volkswagen’s flagship sedan, Passat GT, has returned to Korea, with its base in the European model and with smarter technology to assist drivers.
Introduced in 1973, the Passat has been one of the German automaker’s global best sellers, with over 30 million units sold around the world.
The company introduced the fifth generation Passat in South Korea in 2005. Up to 2018 and through the eighth-generation Passat GT, it has sold 36,000 units of the car here.
Both types of Passat, the European and the America -- the differences between them mainly coming from their powertrains and the prices -- were sold here until around 2018.
This time, the automaker has introduced new Passat GT that has been facelifted from the European Passat, with a sharper appearance to embrace the auto brand’s design philosophy.
The Korea Herald took the Prestige trim vehicle for a round-trip test-drive of 94 kilometers, departing from Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 5.
On the first look, the new Passat GT looked standard, slightly larger than its previous model. To lovers of chrome, the strong straight grilles will come as an attraction.
On the road, the vehicle proved a decent driving performance with smooth transition in speed. The winding roads of Gapyeong provided a good opportunity to check the vehicles steering inputs, which were smooth and had a nice cornering stability.
Trying to pick up speed on the highway, there appeared to be some delay on the throttle response, and I felt the need to push the throttle pedal quite hard to get a strong acceleration.
Passat GT has been equipped with 2.0 TDI diesel engine that can exert up to 190 horsepower and a maximum torque of 40.8 kilogram-meters, and a 7-speed DSG transmission.
The suspension also did fine, considering that the road was made uneven by the snow from the day before. With that road condition meeting with the snow tires the automaker had installed for safety, the riding experience might have been bumpier than it would have been.
The one-option diesel powertrain, however, may not be enough to satisfy the Korean customers, as gasoline cars and electric vehicles are more popular here.
The revamped Passat GT has been equipped with the latest drive assistance technology by Volkswagen, the IQ.Drive.
According to the automaker, the Travel Assist is the core technology of the IQ.Drive, and encompasses technologies including adaptive cruise control and lane assist. It has been implemented in Passat GT for the first time for the brand, the company explained.
Compared to drive assistance programs of other companies, the travel assist turned the steering wheel in quite a mild way, unlike some cars that make their presence known with stronger or more sudden movements.
The interior was neat, but not particularly fancy. The 10.25-inch color digital cockpit was very useful and has made it easy to follow the navigation displayed on it.
The head-up display, however, came short of expectations -- considering the price range of the car -- as the vehicle information came onto be displayed on a pop-up glass-disc, instead of projecting onto the windshield.
The fuel efficiency comes as a strength for the sedan. According to Volkswagen, the car has a combined record of 14.9 kilometers per liter -- 13.4 km/l for city, and 17.4 km/l on highways.
Passat GT has four different drive modes, the standard Comfort mode, Sport mode, Eco mode, and Individualized mode. Changes in the mode could be felt and with the Sport mode, the car created slightly louder engine sounds and an extra stiffness.
The lowest trim of 2.0 TDI Premium starts from 44.9 million won, and the upper trim 2.0 TDI Prestige starts from 49.9 million won -- both are front-wheel drive cars. The model is also offered as four-wheeled, the 2.0 TDI Prestige 4Motion, of which the price starts at 53.9 million won.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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