I quite enjoy a flashy car. Bright green paint job; hood scoop; flared wheel wells; a massive wing; skirt kit; flashy decals; bring it on. Flashy cars get all the attention, they've got all the gusto and usually have the goods to back it up. If I'm driving an in-your-face vehicle, I prepare myself for a week of questions, second-looks and general curiosity from neighbours and passersby.
So, when I was handed the keys to a champagne-coloured 2012 VW Passat
, I hunkered down for a week of pleasant, undisturbed driving – or so I thought.
It seems the Germans have done it once again. Of course, I'll get into this more in my review of the 2012 VW Passat, but they really must be on to something because never have I been in such a nondescript car that got so much attention. From sideways glances from passersby to cars riding my blind spot on the highway to check out the car's profile; I was quite baffled by it all.
|2012 Volkswagen Passat Comfortline (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Auto123.com)
One elderly gentleman even went so far as to knock on my window and engage me in conversation about the vehicle. He was looking to trade up his '02 Acura for a new vehicle and had his eye on VW. He noticed that my ride was new (how, I'm still not sure) and was uber intrigued by the whole package – he even asked me to pop the trunk and was duly impressed by the size of it.
After we chatted for a good 20 minutes about everything the car had to offer and determined he should invest in a diesel (he drove often from Montreal to Boston and did most of his travelling via highway), I actually got out of the Passat to take it all in, wondering if perhaps there was something I'd missed about the exterior design (a hidden lip, a wing I'd failed see off the back ... perhaps a sign that said “Look at me” ... anything).
Yet, before me sat an unassuming, champagne-beige, subtly designed, classic-looking VW. Nothing more, nothing less. And it hit me.
That's what does it. For all the flash and hoopla on the roads today (bright little Fiats, Fiestas, MINIs, and Mazda2s
– oh my), the Passat is a welcome reprieve from it all. Volkswagen has given the public a calm, sophisticated car that stands out from the pack thanks to its unassuming look and demure demeanour.
And I think it's a trend we can see falling into place across manufacturers from Subaru to BMW, the design cues are getting harder to distinguish and easier to overlook, and yet they're still catching our eyes, which was clearly evidenced by the 2012 VW Passat.
And it's interesting to note that I've come to this conclusion after spending an entire week drooling over pics of highly modified, oh-my-god vehicles from our 2011 SEMA show coverage
. Ironic? Perhaps.
So, maybe understated is better... someone better sit down and explain this one calmly to Matt St-Pierre.