2006 Passat New Car Test Drive
The Passat has been a solid performer for VW over the years, earning distinction as the perennial best-selling European mid-size sedan in America. Now a larger, more powerful, more mature Volkswagen Passat is staged to capture a bigger share of the market that includes the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The all-new 2006 Volkswagen Passat boasts powerful new engines, generous standard content and a beguiling interior mix of high-tech and haute couture. It looks poised to play a strong role in Volkswagen's surge back to prominence in the world's most important car market.
Volkswagen is rolling out a full line of four-door sedans over the 2006 model year, ranging from the 2.0-liter Value Edition with nice leatherette upholstery to the more-powerful 2.0T to the V6-powered 3.6L. All-wheel drive is available. And wagon versions of the various models will roll out during the model year. All Passats come standard with the latest in safety features and electronics.
Longer and wider than last year's model, the 2006 Passat offers more interior space, particularly for rear-seat passengers. A six-foot passenger can sit comfortably behind a six-foot driver. And while the previous model was among the safest cars in America, the structure of the new Passat is substantially stronger.
The new Passat offers sportier handling than last year's model. The steering is very precise with steering effort that automatically adjusts to the situation. The new 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 growls when pressed and delivers robust torque, allowing the Passat to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. The six-speed automatic is smooth and responsive and the brakes are excellent.
The base Passat ($22,950) is powered by a new 2.0-liter 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and offered with two levels of trim. The Value Edition comes with a choice of six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Tiptronic automatic ($24,025).
The standard upholstery is a very nice leatherette, and the entry-level front seats are eight-way manually adjustable with adjustable head restraints and lumbar support. Increasing interior utility are 60/40 split/folding rear seats. Only a single sunvisor is available. Base running gear is 7x16-inch steel wheels with 215/55R16 all-season radials, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, a newly developed, speed-variable electromechanical steering system, and a sophisticated suspension with a MacPherson-type setup in front and a multi-link design in the rear. Electronics make their way into the base interior via the new electronic parking brake; three auxiliary power outlets; power windows, central locking, and heated outside mirrors; illuminated vanity mirrors; eight-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD player and MP3 capability; tire-pressure monitoring system; anti-theft alarm and theft deterrent system; and single-zone climate control, which features a pollen filter and also supplies ventilation to the rear passengers.
The 2.0T ($23,900) adds interior ambient lighting, illuminated footwells, adjustable driver seat (six-way power, four-way manual), split folding rear seat with armrest, storage and pass-through, dual sunvisors with illuminated mirrors, chrome exterior trim for the window surrounds, body moldings, 16-inch Catalunya alloy wheels with all-season tires. The 2.0T comes with the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic ($24,975). Dual rear side airbags are optional ($350).
Options for the 2.0T: Package #1 ($1,625) includes a power sunroof, stereo with in-dash CD changer, satellite radio plus activation plus three months service. Package #2 Luxury ($2,825) offers everything from #1, plus leather comfort seats, four-spoke multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather shift knob, heated driver and passenger front seats. A Cold Weather Package ($225) offers heated driver and passenger front seats. An upgraded Dynaudio stereo system ($1,000) is available, but only with one of the packages. The DVD satellite navigation system is packaged with a glovebox-mounted six-disc CD changer ($1,800). Wheels can be upgraded to 17-inch Le Mans alloys with 235/45R17 all-season tires ($400).
The Passat 3.6L ($29,950) is powered by a new 280-horsepower V6 matched to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Later in the model year will come an all-wheel-drive 3.6L 4Motion ($31,900).
The Passat 3.6L ($29,950) includes everything from the 2.0T plus the 17-inch Le Mans alloy wheels with all-season tires, the stereo system with in-dash CD player and MP3 capability, power sunroof, satellite radio and chromed horizontal fins on the front grille.
Options include heated front driver and passenger seats ($120), rear side airbags ($300), Dynaudio stereo system ($1,000), and DVD satellite navigation system ($1,800).
Luxury Package #1 ($2,750) adds leather comfort seats, wood trim, leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel, walnut shift knob, automatic headlights with coming home feature, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated driver and passenger front seats, heated washer nozzles, heated exterior side mirrors with environmental lighting, dual-zone Climatronic, Homelink, switchable auto-dimming interior mirror, 12-way power driver and passenger seats with three-position memory for driver seat and exterior mirrors, manual rear and side sunshades, and a storage net in the trunk.
Sport Package #1 ($3,050) delivers leather sport seats, aluminum trim, leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with Tiptronic controls, leather shift knob, automatic headlights with coming home feature, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated driver and passenger front seats, heated washer nozzles, heated exter.