Interesting Perspective on the new Passat

rickhamilton620

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InsideLine said:
Whatever you do, don't say 'size matters' during your presentation."

Those were the words of advice a Volkswagen executive gave to Oliver Stefani, just before he introduced the 2012 Volkswagen Passat at Volkswagen's new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the car will be built.



The tired joke would have been an easy fallback for Stefani, the vehicle's lead designer, who trained at the Art Center of Design in Pasadena, California. After all, Volkswagen is counting on this Passat's increased size to help it attract more American buyers.


But after spending several hours behind the wheel on the roads between Nashville and Chattanooga, we think there's another reason Americans might like this sedan ? simplicity....
http://www.insideline.com/volkswagen/passat/2012/2012-volkswagen-passat-first-drive.html

I have to agree. It looks good inside and out. The simplicity is impressive in the age where even car radio's are "cell phone inspired." *cough* Focus, Fiesta *cough*
 

argatoga

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*points at rickhamiltons title*
If it can go a mile without breaking down and is not brown with a ghastly beige interior it isn't a car he'd appriove of.
 

rickhamilton620

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If it can go a mile without breaking down and is not brown with a ghastly beige interior it isn't a car he'd appriove of.
Got that right! :p :mrgreen:



Dear Volkswagen.

-It's GM here. We want our Chevrolet Impala back, please.

I think that the simple design of the Impala and the Passat is a great thing though. The car's visually aged well over time. The mechanicals may figuratively date back to the stone age, and it's pretty chintzy inside, but the Impala is by no means ugly.

In 7-10 years, I suspect that the Sonata and CC and CLS will look very "overstyled" and "busy." Those designs won't age well IMO.

Also, look at the Interior:



Yes, it's black, I wouldn't mind though. The more important thing though is how clean it is, how uncluttered the center stack is. There's no "fanciness just to be fancy," it's very much a "self-confident" interior. It's not like designers added extra flourishes and frills to try and be classy, they felt confident in their abilities to make a classy, simple, cabin.

Most of all, the interior's still pretty decent quality. The important stuff (upper dash, upper door trim, armrests) are made of soft touch plastic, and while it might not be as luxo plush as the current car, the price of entry is a lot lower to reflect that.

I should also comment about the way the interior looks put together. Sure these are probably hand built/preproduction/ringers but notice where the black plastic from the sides of the console meet the center stack. They're dead even with each other. In nearly every Camry review video and eBay ad I've seen, a similar area has always had one piece or the other sticking out instead of meeting flush like it's supposed to be.

If the attention to detail will be this good on production units, I think it'll only be better for the Passat.
 
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argatoga

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Fake wood is hideous in real life. I'd avoid that option, Hell I'd avoid the car.
 

Shawn

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Why are they still using the RNS-510 headunit on this car? VW has a newer center console system as seen in the new Touareg for instance.

Anyway, I think VW is making a mistake by making separate Jettas and Passats for North America. Well, other companies have had success with having North American-specific models, but it will lead to uglier, bigger, cheaper quality models which I don't really care to see.

Does anyone know what will become of the Passat CC? Will they continue selling the old one, come out with a new one based on the Euro Passat or come out with a new one based on the North American Passat?
 

narf

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The petrol choices you get are ridiculously cheap to buy, expensive to run. 2.5l N/A I4 with 170hp and a 280hp VR6.
 

thevictor390

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I don't know what will become of the CC but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for it, it looks brilliant. No idea if it's a good car to drive or own though.
 

rickhamilton620

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Fake wood is hideous in real life. I'd avoid that option, Hell I'd avoid the car.
I do agree that the wood is too much. If they used smaller, lighter, less shiny pieces, and made them look more realistic, it would look better.

Why are they still using the RNS-510 headunit on this car? VW has a newer center console system as seen in the new Touareg for instance.

Anyway, I think VW is making a mistake by making separate Jettas and Passats for North America. Well, other companies have had success with having North American-specific models, but it will lead to uglier, bigger, cheaper quality models which I don't really care to see.

Does anyone know what will become of the Passat CC? Will they continue selling the old one, come out with a new one based on the Euro Passat or come out with a new one based on the North American Passat?
The new system might have been deemed too costly *shrugs*. In any case, I think that, while the Jetta is a prime example of excessive cost cutting (even the Euro version - which isn't really separate from the US car, doesn't have soft touch door trim and a few other baubles) having a sedan aimed at the heart of the midsize segment is important. This checks off all the right boxes, especially price. That's something the old Passat couldn't say, and if it's anything like the Jetta (I thought no one would buy it due to the interior but I guessed wrong) money talks and people will bite. Combine that with several first drives saying it still manages to drive well, have a great interior, and feel rock solid on the road and it's even better.

Also remember that one big way VW got the price down is by reducing build complexity. Whereas before one could build a passat a zillion different ways, now there's only 18 possible build combinations. Yes its packaging options and it sucks, but it saves VW money.

A smart move for VW might be to keep the CC around, as a way to hedge their bets in case existing owners refuse to accept the new passat, or a few people want a more distinctive offering. Other makes have done similar.

The petrol choices you get are ridiculously cheap to buy, expensive to run. 2.5l N/A I4 with 170hp and a 280hp VR6.
The 2.5 and V6 I can only assume were chosen for cost, reliability, and new customer familarity reasons. Most in this segment save for the Sonata/Optima offer a V6 instead of a turbo. A lot of buyers might hem and haw at the thought of a turbo instead of a NA V6. Also, most midsize sedans in the US are 4 cylinders, so a 4-5 cylinder entry is important to capture the value oriented segment.

The biggest curiosity is the diesel, which gets something like 40 mpg highway. That's a big number that could tempt many shoppers into giving it a try.
 
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narf

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The 2.5 and VR6 I can only assume were chosen for cost, reliability, and new customer familarity reasons. Most in this segment save for the Sonata/Optima offer a V6 instead of a turbo. A lot of buyers might hem and haw at the thought of a turbo instead of a NA V6. Also, most midsize sedans in the US are 4 cylinders, so a 4-5 cylinder entry is important to capture the value oriented segment.
"We've always offered these engines, so let's keep offering them for ever"? Weird strategy.
I'm not saying ditch them alltogether, if the Americans want to buy the ridiculously inefficient VR engines, let them. Just give them the option to buy a 1.8 or 2.0 TSI.

As an efficiency comparison, Skoda still offers the Superb with a 3.6 VR6 as well as with a 2.0 TSI. Sure, the TSI has 23% less power, but it's using 28% less fuel on the combined cycle, 35% less in the city. All that for 13km/h more top speed, 247 with the VR6 vs 234 with the TSI. Over here, the TSI is also cheaper to buy.

The biggest curiosity is the diesel, which gets something like 40 mpg highway. That's a big number that could tempt many shoppers into giving it a try.
:hmm: the Euro extra-urban figure rates the 2.0 Euro6 Diesel at 59mpg. Your Passat is longer, that should improve aero but increase weight. Should even itself out.
 

argatoga

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I do agree that the wood is too much. If they used smaller, lighter, less shiny pieces, and made them look more realistic, it would look better.
The only way to make it look good is to use real wood. Seriously rick if you drive a couple decent cars your opinion will change.
 

Shawn

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I don't know what will become of the CC but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for it, it looks brilliant. No idea if it's a good car to drive or own though.
It looks amazing, I think. It's also a perfectly fine car to drive, though the 2.0T is underpowered for a car like that.

I was going to get one over the GTI but the price proved too great up in Canada, plus I somehow wanted a car with some sort of lineage and I just knew the CC wasn't going to be a mainstay. It's so sexy though, inside and out... I think the rear could look a bit better but even from that angle it looks nice.


The new system might have been deemed too costly *shrugs*. In any case, I think that, while the Jetta is a prime example of excessive cost cutting (even the Euro version - which isn't really separate from the US car, doesn't have soft touch door trim and a few other baubles) having a sedan aimed at the heart of the midsize segment is important. This checks off all the right boxes, especially price. That's something the old Passat couldn't say, and if it's anything like the Jetta (I thought no one would buy it due to the interior but I guessed wrong) money talks and people will bite. Combine that with several first drives saying it still manages to drive well, have a great interior, and feel rock solid on the road and it's even better.

Also remember that one big way VW got the price down is by reducing build complexity. Whereas before one could build a passat a zillion different ways, now there's only 18 possible build combinations. Yes its packaging options and it sucks, but it saves VW money.

A smart move for VW might be to keep the CC around, as a way to hedge their bets in case existing owners refuse to accept the new passat, or a few people want a more distinctive offering. Other makes have done similar.
I just don't think I see why VW is even trying to cut costs and make their cars cheaper.

I'm not saying this wasn't at least in part marketing, but VW's thing for the longest time has been to slot in above competitors from Japan and elsewhere.

When they eventually move most of their cars down, what will they advertise? People will go in and see another plastic utility car and they'll walk out and go buy a Toyota or Honda.
 
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rickhamilton620

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I just don't think I see why VW is even trying to cut costs and make their cars cheaper.

I'm not saying this wasn't at least in part marketing, but VW's thing for the longest time has been to slot in above competitors from Japan and elsewhere.

When they eventually move most of their cars down, what will they advertise? People will go in and see another plastic utility car and they'll walk out and go buy a Toyota or Honda.
IIRC VWOA has been hemmoraging money for a while now. Maybe the mothership has gotten sick of it. They also want to be the biggest car maker and the US is a big chunk of that pie.

VW still has a design edge compared to the Japanese and American offerings. Jetta still looks classy, sharply creased lines where everyones' going swoopy. They know how to design an interior that looks (if maybe not feel in the case of the jetta) good and solid. They have a assembly quality/safety edge with laser welding and one piece doors even on their cheapest cars as well as extremely tight tolerances. Most important, they have brand cachet, it's "cool" to drive a European car to many people, and since VW's are more affordable than most, people are willing to give them a try.
 

Shawn

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I know they haven't been doing too well, but moving downmarket can't be the only solution. Maybe they could have improved their quality a bit or something to justify the higher prices they were charging.

VW's main purpose with the MkVI Golf was to improve on the fit and finish of the MkV, and I can vouch for them and say they did a great job. I test drove a MkV GTI in early 2007 but decided on a seriously underpowered Lexus because I didn't think the MkV was worth the price. But I went and test drove a MkVI last year and it was a completley different story, traded in the Lexus for one as I guess most here know.

Anyway, what I'm thinking is that maybe VW could've just tightened up their QC a bit and improved a little on the fit and finish of all models like they did with the Golf to make it more worth the price. Of course I don't know if other models could be improved upon like the Golf could, but I'm guessing their entire lineup has room for improvement.

I don't really agree that these new VWs look that sharp... the new Jetta and Passat have a very designed for Americans by an American feel about them.
 
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rickhamilton620

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The main purpose of the Mk6 was to drop production costs. They simply didn't make enough money with the Mk5.
Yep, they lowered production costs, and managed to make the car feel more upscale in the process. Proof that a cheaper car doesn't necessarily have to lose its refinement and uniqueness.
 

narf

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Yep, they lowered production costs, and managed to make the car feel more upscale in the process. Proof that a cheaper car doesn't necessarily have to lose its refinement and uniqueness.
That's because they managed the production cost savings through more clever engineering rather than cutting corners too much.
 

Shawn

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The main purpose of the Mk6 was to drop production costs. They simply didn't make enough money with the Mk5.
You're right, that too. But quality did improve a lot, whether on purpose or not.

Doesn't seem to have helped though, I don't see very many MkVI Golfs here.


Yep, they lowered production costs, and managed to make the car feel more upscale in the process. Proof that a cheaper car doesn't necessarily have to lose its refinement and uniqueness.
But they didn't make the MkVI cheaper so they could sell it for cheaper, the prices didn't really change. I kind of feel like their cheapening philosophy was not the same for the Golf as it was for the Jetta (or Passat it seems) because most reviews I've read universally dislike the fit and finish on the new Jetta.
 
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