Volkswagen Passat Launched At Rs 29.99 Lakh
- Oct 10, 2017
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The Volkswagen Passat is here, and the fight is fierce in the D-segment sedan space. The Volkswagen Group as a whole seem to be playing the numbers game as it manufactures two cars sharing the platform and powertrain while offering different flavours as they use unique spices. Toyota, on the other hand, has a loyal customer base that values a fuss-free ownership experience more than anything else. Perhaps that's the reason, Toyota hasn't bothered with blessing the Camry with a diesel heart. Let's dig deeper into these cars' specifications and features to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
In a segment where size matters, the Volkswagen Passat disappoints. Not only does it fall short in length when compared to the other two cars, it also has the lowest roofline, which is sure to make getting in and out of the cabin a challenge. Surprisingly, its cousin, the Skoda Superb, uses the same modular chassis and is the tallest, widest and longest sedan here while also offering best-in-class wheelbase and boot space.
Engine & Transmission
There's only one car here that'll quench an enthusiast's thirst, and that's the Superb. The Czech sedan shines by offering a broader range of engine and transmission combos. It's the only one to pack a manual transmission along with a punchy engine. Although the Superb's 1.8-litre petrol engine's power and torque output can't stand next to the Camry Hybrid's figures, the way the two powertrains behave is vastly different. The Camry Hybrid is able to quickly get off its feet thanks to the 270Nm of torque from the electric motor, but this hybrid setup is destined to deliver fuel efficiency, not smiles. The notion is further evident as the Japanese chose to equip the saloon with a continuously variable transmission while the Superb is available with either an engaging manual transmission or a quick-shifting dual-clutch unit.
While the dual-clutch offers fast gear changes, the 7-speed unit in the Superb petrol is not capable of handling more than 250Nm of torque, which could mute its real-world performance compared to the one with the manual transmission.
In the diesel-land, there are only two cars, the Skoda Superb and the Volkswagen Passat, both of which use the same engine and transmission and produce identical power and torque figures. The 6-speed dual-clutch of the diesel is an older and more reliable unit that, unlike the 7-speed gearbox, doesn't have the torque limitations.
The Camry Hybrid wins the battle of fuel efficiency easily even if you bring the frugal diesel powerplants into the equation. What's even better is that the electric motor allows the car to deliver good numbers in daily traffic conditions. The CVT also helps as the torque converter of the budget Camry has an inherent tendency to drink more fuel in bumper-to-bumper conditions.
On the diesel front, despite sharing the frame, engine, and transmission with identical power output, the official fuel-efficiency figure favours the Skoda as it runs past the VW to claim the top spot with 18.2kmpl.
In terms of features, all three cars are well loaded with bits and pieces to pamper the occupants. Let's get the common features out of the way first.
Omissions only start to become apparent when you compare one car against the other. On the outside, the Superb's headlights look great, but it needs an upgrade to the lighter and more efficient LED units. The Camry misses out on cornering lights, which many buyers can swallow. What hurts it the most is the absence of an electric sunroof, especially because it's the priciest car in this comparison. A glass roof not only makes the cabin appear airy but also ups the style quotient by a considerable margin.
In terms of interior styling, the Camry again loses a few points as it skips ambient lighting in favour of more useful features. For instance, it's the only one here to offer ventilated front seats, electrically reclining rear seats, electric steering adjustment (with memory function), wireless phone charging and a built-in GPS chip along with a navigation software.
The Superb’s rear windshield shades need to be manually rolled up and the knee airbag for the driver is not available but it offers latest in smartphone connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Meanwhile, the only trick up the Volkswagen Passat's sleeve is the hands-free parking function. If the technology stutters when you have centimetres to spare, then you can switch to the 360-degree bird-eye view and take matters into your own hands. These exclusive features, along with the car's relatively compact dimensions, make the Volkswagen Passat the easiest car to park in tight spaces.
If you love to take the wheel, then there's not a lot of choice in this segment. The Skoda Superb with the 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine and manual transmission is your best bet. You'll miss out on a few luxury features available in the higher Laurin & Klement trim, but since you'll be busy having fun running through the gears, you probably won't miss those creature comforts. The good news is that you're also saving quite a lot of cash compared to the Camry petrol.
If you value reliability over everything else and don't want to see your car's residual value go down the drain, then the Toyota Camry is your only option. For all the bells and whistles though, you'll have to splurge on the Hybrid.
If you want the diesel engine, then the Skoda Superb comes across as a better value as it's not only the bigger car here but also the more affordable alternative to the Volkswagen Passat. In fact, the Superb will save you money upfront regardless of the trim and engine configuration you pick. So, when you stack up the brochures, the Skoda Superb comes out on top. We'll also test them out on the road to see how they stack up and clear all doubts.