In the last Passat report, Hormazd mentioned I was planning a quick trip to Goa in it, and he was right. Thanks to all the praise about the car’s long-distance touring abilities, I knew this had to be my next ride to Goa. And, this time around, my mother-in-law was to accompany us; so a car with comfy seats, a decent ride and a safe and secure feeling would trump a powerful engine and sharp handling.
And then, when handing over the key, Hormazd also laid down a small challenge – “Try and do 1,000km on one tank. I managed 900.” If I pull this off, it would mean getting five people to Goa in absolute comfort would be far cheaper than us eating out; I was sold. It would be a challenge though; we would be five people plus luggage but at the same time quite doable especially with the route I always take – Pune Expressway and NH48.
FRUGAL RUNNING: You don’t even have to try hard to get stellar mileage figures.
My mother-in-law, however, dropped out, but we were still four plus all our luggage. So the first challenge was fitting it all in and the Passat managed it quite easily. At 586 litres, the boot is large, wide and free of intrusions. Next was getting everyone comfy, and no problem here too – there’s ample space and the seats are really a standout; they’re nicely contoured and have excellent cushioning.
Settled in, it was time now for the big challenge – 1,000km on one tank. We were leaving at 9:30am, so while it wouldn’t be a traffic-free run, being a Sunday, traffic would be light. And to make things more interesting, I decide not to use the Eco drive mode and stick with Normal; if I average 17kpl, the 66-litre tank should get me a little over 1,100km.
SPACE MAX: 586-litre boot easily swallows holiday luggage.
The drive is pretty easy and traffic is light, however my plan of sticking with Normal mode is soon in trouble – trucks on the Lonavala ghat meant I had to move to Sport to get past them. The benefit here is a little less body roll thanks to the adjustable dampers that alter firmness along with the drive modes. So this remains the plan of action for most of the drive – ‘Normal’ in all cases and Sport only to quickly get past slow traffic.
LOCK AND KEY: Lockable glovebox handy, but shiny lock looks cheap in an otherwise classy cabin.
I’m not really light-footing it but using lift and coast effectively, and at the halfway mark, things are looking pretty good. 300km done and only about a quarter of a tank of fuel used – at this rate I would be at home in Goa on just half a tank of gas. However, when we do reach, we’ve used just a little over the halfway mark; Belgaum city and Chorla ghat do take a slight toll. Still we’ve covered 637km with the range still showing another 460km! The 1,000km challenge should be met thanks to Goa’s light traffic and, a few days later, on our way back to Bombay, we are on target to do about 1,050km! However, I calculate the reserve section would be somewhere in the ghats, and so I have fill up early.
NOT SO QUIET Suspension noise filters into the cabin.
The Passat has pulled off an amazing feat – an average of 17.7kpl for four people plus luggage, and without using Eco mode even once. For a car this size, it’s simply superb. And as for the nickname, I’m thinking ‘Dreamliner’, because like Boeing’s aircraft, the Passat is efficient, has a great range, and is very comfortable inside – the perfect long-haul craft.
2018 Volkswagen Passat long term review, first report