By Gaywheels.com Staff
The long-awaited redesign of the VW Passat has arrived on US shores and the Gaywheels.com team was able to spend a week in this newly designed sedan. The question is; was it worth the wait?
The 2006 Passat can be equipped with a 200 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder or a 280 horsepower, 3.6-liter 6-cyinder engine. The 2.0-liter turbo is available with either a 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic with tiptronic transmission. Unfortunately the 6-cylinder is only available with the 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Passat comes in four trim levels: the 2.0T Value Edition, the 2.0T, the 3.6-liter and the 3.6-liter with 4MOTION. All trim levels come very nicely equipped with some unique features including: an umbrella holder in the driver door, the VW logo on the trunk that doubles as the trunk opener and a glovebox and center console storage with an adjustable cooling feature. Our friends at Specialty Transport delivered a gleaming 2006 Passat 2.0T for us to explore.
Our 2.0T was mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. While we generally prefer manual transmissions in our vehicles, we have a new appreciation for automatic transmissions as of late. The VW energy converter definitely falls into our “like” column. Six gears with a manual mode almost, almost, gives you the feeling that you are driving a manual without the extra workout for your left leg. There are, however, differing opinions about the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine among the Gaywheels.com staff. While we LOVED this engine in the Jetta GLI and the Audi A3 , some of us (perhaps the heavier people…I’m just saying….) felt it was a bit sluggish propelling the 3,300 lb.VW. If you want a bahn-burner (or if you happen to be a bit more, how do we say, ‘stout’), definitely opt for the 3.6L 6-cylinder engine.
Our 2.0T tester was loaded with options including: power sunroof, in-dash CD-changer, satellite radio, leather seats with front heated seats, multi-function leather steering wheel and a leather shift knob., DVD Navigation, 6-speed automatic transmission, Dynaudio ® sound system and rear side airbags which brought the $23,900 base sticker up to a whopping $31,565. That is approaching base Mercedes, BMW and Volvo territory. It is however, more roomy than any of the luxury brands in the same price category.
Driving the new Passat makes you feel like you moved up in the strata of car hierarchy. Its interior is luxurious, the ride is firm yet un-punishing and if the VW insignia wasn’t in front of you, you’d swear you were in an Audi. We like the solid feel, the layout and design of the interior with everything within arms reach. The complaints are few: we were not very impressed with the lateral support on the front seats. During hard cornering, they didn’t hold us in place like a sport seat should. Then again, it isn’t designed to be a sports car.
On the outside, VW updated the look quite nicely. The styling is modern, yet conservative with the new VW/Audi signature chrome-accented front grille. In our opinion, it is a better design exercise than what was done with the Jetta.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for a roomy, solid, good-looking, fun-to-drive sedan and don’t need a luxury brand to make yourself happy, the 2006 Passat should be on your list. It was definitely worth the wait.
- Excellent quality – fit & finish
- Solid German feel
- Interior design and Dash layout
- Push button start system – after we got used to it
- Size – not too big, not too small
- Leather wrapped steering wheel – some of the softest leather we have felt in a long time
- 2.0 Liter turbo engine
- Dynaudio® stereo system
- CD-changer in the glove box – had a very cheap tab on it.
- Front seats lack lateral support – no power front/back feature
- Can’t get luxury options with a manual transmission
Standard safety features include: front airbag system, front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags. Our test car came equipped with the following options:
- Package #2: power sunroof, stereo system with in-dash CD-changer & satellite radio, leather seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob and heated front seats – $2,825
- DVD satellite Navigation system with 6-disc CD changer in the glove box – $1,800
- 6-speed tiptronic Auto transmission – $1,075 – required to get Package #2
- Dynaudio Premium Sound system – $1,000
- Rear side airbags – $350
Volkswagen is a gay-friendly company.