2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: A Cool Character
July 25, 2013
Senior Editor Josh Jacquot says our Passat is where personality comes to die. It's a typically caustic Jacquot assessment of any car that can't get air or handle a rally stage, but it's not totally fair. Yes, the steering wheel is inexplicably off-center, annoyingly so. The center console is almost useless. The brakes are grabby.
But the 2013 VW Passat TDI has personality. It's tempting to tag it with our classic German stereotypes: stoic, clinical, humorless. Few of which I believe anyway. Break bread with a group of German backpackers on holiday and you won't either.
The Passat is actually pretty orderly and warm. The gauges, vents and center stack are laid out in clean, symmetrical form (which makes the skewed steering wheel even more bothersome). The wood overlay and classic three-knob climate controls are a nice touch, the latter a reminder that opposable thumbs prefer twisting and pressing, rather than pinching and pecking at smudgy touchscreens.
I'm especially digging the ridgeline along the Passat's dash with its wood strip inlay, high-frequency speakers, and attendant Fender logos. There's no particular reason it should be there, other than to break up an otherwise expansive dash horizon. It's a nice, understated design element, far from the overwrought expression of, say, the Focus ST or even the Fusion's cabin.
I'm pretty sure once Jacquot jumps this thing, it'll grow on him.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor