2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Got Wood?
July 24, 2013
I just got back from driving the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car with a spectacular cabin highlighted by its tasteful application of wood trim. It's integrated beautifully into the design and when removed, say in the carbon fiber-equipped S63, the cabin loses a lot of its panache.
Having said that, I'm usually not a fan of wood trim in cars since it's so rarely done well. Exhibit A: Our long-term Volkswagen Passat TDI. Indeed, it would appear to have even more wood trim than the new S-Class, but it's completely unconvincing and in such abundance that I can't decide if it's tacky or just horribly out of fashion. Nevermind, it's both. It's on the dash, the console, the doors and on the thin trim piece just below the windshield. It turns what is otherwise a cool, Teutonic environment into an homage to the Hyundai XG350.
Unfortunately, the plastic forest is required on today's top-of-the-line VW Passat. If you want the lower trims' metal look trim, you'll have to do without all the other extras included on the SEL Premium. To me, all that fake wood actually looks less premium.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,976 miles