• Feb 26th 2007 at 3:41PM
  • 9
Click on the image for a gallery of high-res images of the 2007 Volkswagen Passat.

Late last year I had the pleasure of helping my father choose his new vehicle, and after determining that he wanted a diesel sedan, we quickly narrowed the possible options - BMWs, the 300C, Audis, Peugeots, Mazdas, Fiats, Alfas and VWs - down to the Volkswagen Passat. Offering a great blend of size, comfort, features, diesel economy and price, he picked the Passat up in late November last year. Having helped pick it, I am biased about this car. But that said, let's look at why it worked for my father and me.

The 2007 Volkswagen Passat TDI leads VW's car line-up in Australia as their largest model apart from the Touareg luxury SUV. The 2007 Passat offers three models each in a sedan and wagon format ranging from AUD$42,990 (US$34,056) for the Passat 2.0 TDI Sedan 6 Speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission, through AUD$44,990 (US$35,641) for the Passat 2.0T FSI Sedan 6 Speed Automatic and topping out at AUD$54,990 (US$43,563) for the Passat 3.2 V6 FSI Sedan 6 Speed DSG. The wagon equivalents of each adds $2,000. Frankly I don't understand this pricing scale because the TDI delivers better fuel economy and good performance via VW's outstanding DSG 6-speed gearbox, in which the clutch and gearshift are controlled electronically, for a lower price than the equivalent automatic petrol model.

Despite the array of standard features in the Passat, there are still a good dozen options that you can play with if your wallet allows including sunroofs, sat nav, bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering, leather upholstery etc. My father however had a limited range of options due to the fact that multiple Volkswagen dealers in our area quoted delivery times of over six month and as high as nine months due to a global shortage. So, when he was presented with a silver model kitted out with black leather upholstery, he signed up straight away.

Continue reading part one of the review after the jump.

  • The Passat, sharing common styling with the rest of the Volkswagen range, looks great from the front
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The chrome highlights around the grill really announce the Passat, although it looks a bit garish matched with Deep Black paint
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Parallel crease lines down the flanks present an elegant profile
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Chrome highlights continue around to the rear
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Note rear parking sensors, boot mounted lights are different (only one reversing light) and VW logo boot release
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • This Passat is a TDI model but there is no mention of this via insignias on the car
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The rear lights look great and the finish is great
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Note the circular ring of LEDs around the main lights
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Indicator on to show the LEDs in operation - this is really eye catching when travelling behind a Passat
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Rear VW logo forms the boot release - a common design element across a number of current generation Volkswagen models
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Opening the boot
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Right, rear lights - no reversing light on this side
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Dividers in the left and right of the boot proved to be handy for holding items likely to slide around otherwise
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Flip-down hooks in the boot for holding shopping bags are a simple, but really useful idea
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The floor of the huge boot hides a full-sized, alloy spare tire - take note BMW
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The boot lift arms are contained internally so they never get in the way of your luggage
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • More eye catching LED indicators are hidden in the wing mirrors
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Downward angled exhaust pipes are the only indication from the outside that this is the TDI model
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Biodiesel is banned! From all reports though, it works just fine
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • When it comes to filling up, you don't want to mistakenly put petrol in this puppy - half the car has to be taken apart to get to and drain the fuel tank
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Great torque from this engine
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • 17 x 7.5" 'Le Mans' alloy wheels standard with 18 x 8" 'Chicago' alloys with lowered sports suspension an option
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Halogen headlights standard with Bi-Xenon headlights an option
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • They definitely look a whole light brighter at night!
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Front VW logo is super shiny
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • 4 cylinder in-line turbo diesel
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Ingenious umbrella holder with drainage inside the drivers' door
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Bring your own umbrella though - there is not one supplied with the car, or a Volkswagen branded option available for sale in Australia
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The driver's seat has 6-way electric adjustment for backrest and lumbar
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Left hand steer stalks on a right hand drive car... grrrrr
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The seats are comfortable
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The driver's view - note auto-off headlights which you can leave on permanently without flattening the battery
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Chrome hightlights make their way inside the car as well
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Fuel cap release and boot release very close together
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • All the ususal electric gizmos
  • The magic Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission is very slick indeed and takes the guilt out of driving an automatic-like vehicle
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • You can hold the transmission in gear if you like which is helpful when you know the DSG is going to shift up a gear and you don't want it to
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Turning the engine on and off involves pushing in the fob-like key
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The 6 disc in-dash CD changer is a nice touch and is hooked up to a great 8 speaker system
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • You can pretty much drive the car just by flicking the great cruise control on and off
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Dual-climate control up front with automatic climate control which will chill a hot car in a hurry. Not much use for seat warmers in Brisbane though
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Carbon fibre like silver finish is slick without screaming "I cut down a forest to bring you this wood finish". Coin trays either side of the hazard light are useful
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) Off button for extra fun on a wet road. Auto Hold is for hill starts in a car without a hand brake
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror is brilliant
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Sunglass holder failed our test and was too small for the sample sunglasses - John Lennon would probably have been happy though
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Individual reading lights up front and two in the rear as well
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • View of the passenger dash - lots of hard plastics but the finish is high
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Centre console has slide lid
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Key fob has remote lock/unlock and remote boot release. Note lack of traditional cut key appearance
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Hidden inside the key fob is an electronic-free, plastic key for all the Aussie surfers. It wont turn the car on, but the plastic key will let you in and protects the $500 key fob from surf damage
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The centre console lid slides back to reveal a storage area with two retractable drink holders
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • More of the dash
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Automatic rain sensor works as advertised and makes wet weather driving just that little bit easier
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Glove box has dedicated location for the manual, just pull that orange tab
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The Passat manual and its home - weeks of reading for those so inclined
  • This rotating knob will let airconditioned air into the glove box to keep your beers chilled, or not as you desire
  • Good visibility for the driver
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Rear passengers all have headrests and three point seat belts
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Rear seat fold-down arm rest
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Split folding rear seat backrest (60/40), lockable load through provision for your skis
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Rear arm rest has a small amount of storage - about enough for a CD case
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • More impressive than the limited storage in the rear arm rest is the cool pop-out drinks holders
  • Rear passengers get good-sized vents and a second 12 volt socket
  • On the road the steering is very light
  • Don't worry, driving on the left side of the road is perfectly safe in Australia
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Our first look inside, this car has the optional leather pack
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Looking good on the road.
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • The instrumentation lights up like a christmas tree in the dark
  • You get around 1000km / 620 miles on a tank
  • At night everything is sooo pretty
  • Left steering wheel mounted buttons - the phone and star buttons are not enabled in Australia. Boo!
  • Instruments when the engine is on. Its very cool to watch the DSG transmission change up and down the gears on the tachometer
  • Everything glows either red or blue
  • Menu system for setting preferences, time, etc. works well
  • Park brake enabled via a push button
  • Image Credit: Dane Muldoon
  • Turning it off in the dark shouldn't pose a problem
  • Now this is a good idea - past the vertical dotted line on the right wing mirror, the mirror distorts to give you a better view of your blind spot





(click thumbnails to enlarge)

With the styling of the Passat, VW was looking to create a car worthy of this position at the top of the range which would, "embody a spirit of confidence, refinement and performance". Featuring a standard, yet attractive VW face, the Passat looks the goods from the front as an exclusive German import with its chrome highlights around the grill, large, shiny silver VW logo front and centre. Below this, black vents and a matte dark grey underskirt helps the Passat appear well connected to the road and ready for business.



At times you do have to look twice however to tell the difference between a Passat and its slightly smaller sibling, the Jetta. The trick is to look at the lights as the Jetta has more rounded, almond-shaped "eyes", and Passat has sterner, square eyes with a tear-drop below the halogen headlights. The Passat also has a muscular, upright, filled-out form whereas the Jetta's front grill slopes off quickly which links it more firmly back to the Golf's styling.



Following the edges of the grill's chrome highlights up the bonnet to the corners of the windscreen are two creases, a styling cue which is continued on via another crease from the back edges of the headlights, horizontally along the car's side, above the door handles, all the way through the fuel flap on the driver's side to smoothly terminate at the tail lights. A further protection chrome ridge runs lower, above the bottom of the doors, right from the front wheels and wrapping around to the license plate at the rear. This effectively gives the Passat a series of horizontal lines designed to offer it a taught, agile appearance. Chrome accents are also to be found around the circumference of the side windows. Standard 17" alloy wheels running on 235/45 R17 rubber give the car a firm presence inside of subtly flared arches.



A smart inclusion down the side are the two yellow indicator LEDs in each wing mirror to help make sure those around you know where you're headed. Another simple, yet truly effective feature of the driver's side wing mirror is a vertical dotted line across the mirror towards the outside beyond which the mirror itself becomes convex. In effect, its bend outwards to allow you to see more of your blind spot. No, make that it eliminates your blind spot! Despite distorting the reflection in the convex section of the mirror, the increase in safety by not having to check back over your shoulder when changing lanes in traffic is fantastic. Mirrors like this should be made compulsory.



Continuing around the back, the Passat's rear is quite squared off with the top of the boot forming almost a slight rear wing to offer the car an aerodynamic appearance while also maximising boot space. Like the head lights, the tail lights also have a stylish tear-drop and incorporate more yellow LEDs, this time in a circular pattern, to form the indicator lights which truly looks 21st century from behind in traffic. One design oddity about the Passat from behind though is the single reversing light which appears only on the left. I think this is a strange decision for VW to have made as it reduces the chance that drivers behind you can tell that you're reversing and could prove to be dangerous. As a consolation, front and rear parking sensors will help you know that you're about to hit something even if those behind you don't.



Again the rear has a similar appearance to the Jetta, but the boot wing, more accentuated tear-drop tail lights, chrome accents and bumper-mounted license plate as opposed to the Jetta's boot-mounted plate will make spotting the somewhat more rare Passat an easy task for the keen VW observer.

VW has cracked the top ten list of most popular auto manufacturers in Australia during the last twelve months, no doubt on the back of the excellent Golf model. The latest Golf arrived at just the right time as higher fuel prices drove the Australian buyer to down-size from the traditional full-sized family car like the GM Holden Commodore (think upcoming Pontiac G8), or Ford Falcon to medium and compact models. This has led to the Toyota Camry now vying for the title of Australia's most popular car. Likewise the hot hatch market has virtually caught fire over the last year. There seems to be both standard Golfs and Golf GTIs everywhere on the roads these days, followed by fewer Jettas and the occasional Passat and Touareg.

Unlike the diesel Golfs and Jettas, the TDI Passat's tail pipes are visible from behind. Unfortunately, the current TDI Passat does not come fitted with a particulate filter, but this is set to change with the upcoming Passat BlueMotion. The boot release is another quintessentially Volkswagen design detail with the way that the large, shiny VW logo on the boot pivots across the centre to form the latch. This endearing detail is also shared across the current range. You need not even use the latch though because the remote boot release button on the key fob is matched by a self-opening boot to give you a completely automated opening experience. I wonder how long it will be before the Passat will also close by itself like the sliding doors on the Honda Odyssey EX?



Inside the boot, a generous sized space greets you without compromise - unlike a host of other sedans on the market, the Passat comes with a full-sized spare on an alloy rim. The boot lid arms are completely enclosed to maximise usable space, which can be increased via the 60/40 split-fold lockable rear seats. A handy "load-through" feature allows the centre rear armrest to fold down without having to completely fold down either rear seat for longer items like skis. Not that too many people living outside of the high country need skis in Australia; perhaps it could come in handy for carrying your didgeridoo around with you though?

VW has incorporated a couple of very smart ideas which I haven't seen elsewhere in the boot of the Passat including storage boxes in the side lining, a 12 volt socket and my favourite, a shopping bag hook. This is literally a simple hard plastic hook and spring that folds down from the ceiling of the boot to latch the handles of your shopping bags onto. Folding away when not required, this shopping bag hook ensures that your shopping bags don't roll around in the back on the drive home from the supermarket and makes such perfect sense that I couldn't believe I hadn't seen something similar on other cars before.



Further examples of the Passat living up to its extensive TV, magazine and billboard marketing campaign of "full of unexpected pleasures", are to be found inside. The leather pack our vehicle came with is comfortable and looks good in the black and brings along with it heated front seats, although considering the climate here in the "sunshine state", that's probably a feature we could have done without. The driver's seat also has 6-way electric adjustment for backrest and lumbar and feels good on longish journeys.

Stay tuned for part two of the AutoblogGreen 2007 Volkswagen Passat review tomorrow available here.

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Aww, I'm just kidding you Dane. Great review. I'm looking forward to reading with keen interest the remainder of your report. I think the Passat looks great and if it ever comes to the USA as a diesel estate, I will be seriously looking at it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice, very thorough review.
      • 8 Years Ago
      that's probably just a backup sensor, not the fuel tank.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's an access panel to the rear bumper.

      In case or repairs or replacement, I think.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I purchaced a new vw passat 2007,wolfsburg edition..great for a couple of months, then eng light and SEVERE jolt when car shifted down from high speed. brought in 4 times and each time they reset the malf code and the eng light extinguished. each time the SEVERE and HARSH shifting recurred. now up and down. I have had the car in 7; yes SEVEN times for same problem. Just got it back, and it's doing it again. I'll find my xmission on the road behind me pretty soon.. Any advice from anyone (other than driving it through the showroom window???????????????
      • 8 Years Ago
      Never before have I seen such a breathtaking tailight montage! And that photo of the fuel cap and door! Oh!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I thinking of buying one. How is the build quality. any rattles. any wind noise at high way speed.

      thanks

      Tuan
      • 8 Years Ago
      What the hell is that little box on the lower right-hand corner of the bumper?

      http://www.autobloggreen.com/photos/volkswagen-passat-2007-tdi/124776/

      If that's the fuel door, that's kinda... weird.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Tow hook access cover.
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