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2007 Volkswagen Passat Wagon 2.0T

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Waterfest in a Water (cooled) Wagen

(Photo: Olivier Delorme,
Forget about SUVs, minivans and crossovers, station wagons are the way to go. I have stated before that the European car builders have long held onto the idea that an Estate was the best way to carry around passengers and their cargo. To prove or disprove this, I borrowed one of the latest additions to the wagon segment and went on a road trip with three of my buddies.

In fact, what we did was travel to Englishtown New Jersey where the annual Volkswagen show called Waterfest. This year marked the 12th edition of the show that caters to water-cooled (hence the name) Volkswagens. In truth, all forms of V-Dubs are welcomed to the North-Eastern United-States largest show of the like.

(Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre,
With the key to my 2007 Passat wagon 2.0T and Volkswagen Canada's blessing firmly in hand, my buddies and I loaded up the car with coolers, chairs, luggage and us. My tester, which included the 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and the luxury package retailed for $36,665. As the drive requires about 8 hours one way, we were very happy to be able to load the 6-CD changer with our favourite tunes not to mention blast the air conditioning.

The Passat's cabin is inviting and comfortable. The four of us found plenty of leg, head and all-important elbowroom. Every seat provides more than satisfactory comfort and support. The only complaint concerned the standard leatherette that envelops the seats; it does not breath very well. Otherwise, the dash ergonomics are beyond reproach as every function is larg
(Photo: Olivier Delorme,
e, legible and easily activated. Although the interior design is a winner and the materials are good, the assembly of said materials is not up to par with what Volkswagen has accustomed its customers to. A few of the plastic panels, especially in the center horizontal of the dashboard, were off or misaligned. The 8-speaker audio system supplied notable clarity and depth of sound and entertained us tremendously on long trek.

What was most appreciated was the Passat's ability to soak up mile after mile of I-87, 287 and the New Jersey Turnpike without bothering or harassing its passengers. The ride is refreshingly smooth and comfortable. On top of this, the cabin remains very quiet even at highway speeds. As we motored down the freeway, I was also impressed by the 2.0T's flexibility. Although it was laden with 750 lbs of people and 100 lbs of cargo, the Passat never missed a beat. Passing manoeuvres were effortless as the transmission would drop from 6th gear into 3rd and off
(Photo: Olivier Delorme,
we went. If this was insufficient as far as reaction time, moving the lever in "S" mode transformed the Passat into an eager road machine; gear changes were quicker, throttle response sharpened and gears held until redline.

What amazed the lot of us the most was the striking fuel economy numbers. The road south lasted 750 km and the car consumed an average of 9.4 L/100 km. The return trip was a little longer as we "visited" a local Costco and a Target for consumables that we do not have in Canada. With a total of 800 km but with two fewer passengers on board, the Passat returned an even more impressive 8.6 L/100 km.