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Red alert for caravan towers

Created on 16/01/2015 @ 08:35
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Caravan and trailer owners should be on red alert at the arrival this month of the new Passat as Volkswagen looks to push the eighth-generation model upmarket.

It’s neither magic or witchcraft but VW has solved all your agonising reversing problems at one swoop. In simple terms the new Passat reverses for you – you just need the confidence to sit behind the wheel and watch.

Lots of manufacturers have introduced park assist systems which allow you to let the car reverse into one of those tight spaces but this is the first time I have come across a Trailer Assist reversing system – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.

The good news is that is you choose a model with parking assist the trailer system only cost an extra £465, which could turn out to be the best cash you ever spend if like me you find reversing a bit of a problem.

Everything is new about the eighth generation Passat,, which since launch in 1973 has racked up over 22 million sales worldwide with VW seeing the model as the bridge between the upper medium and premium class. 

Only diesel engines are available in the UK, ranging in power from a 1.6-litre 120 PS, through two 2.0-litre units with 150 or 190 PS, to a range-topping 2.0-litre bi-turbo with 240 PS, DSG gearbox and 4MOTION four-wheel drive.

A plug-in hybrid GTE version with a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and electric motor will follow in October and a frugal BlueMotion with a 1.6-litre engine returning 78 mpg and just 95 g/km of CO2 will join the range in June 2015, while an Alltrack version of the Estate is due in July.

At launch, five trim levels are offered: S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line. All offer a high level of standard features with highlights including post-collision braking system and mis-fuelling prevention on all; front assist, adaptive cuise control, pre-crash system, driver profile selection, ergo comfort seats and front and rear parking sensors on SE and above; and discover navigation on the SE Business which is aimed at fleet drivers.

Heated Alcantara seats, three-zone climate control and 18-inch wheels are standard on GT, while the range-topping R-Line adds a host of bespoke design features.

It’s shorter than the old model, but features a longer wheelbase, which means it has more head and leg room. 

There are four TDI diesels, with the range starting with a 1.6 TDI with 120PS. Volkswagen claims that the 150PS 2.0 TDI with 340Nm of torque will be the most popular.

On test was a190PS 2.0-litre diesel estate, with 400Nm of torque, a top speed of 144mph, 0-62mph in 7.9seconds and combined fuel figures of 61.4mpg. CO2 levels are impressive at just 120g/km.The front-wheel drive model came with six speed DSG gearbox.

New optional features include in-car connection to the internet via a smartphone and wi-fi hotspot allowing you to access traffic data, news and weather via the colour touchscreen information system.

There’s predictive pedestrian protection through a radar scanning system, traffic jam assist, emergency stopping assist and later this year a new system will arrive replacing the traditional instrument cluster with an interactive 12.3inch display system and a heads-up screen display.

On the road the new Passat is quiet and refined with very little engine or road noise and handling is not a problem.

There is no doubt that new Passat is an impressive arrival and the reversing system an absolute joy but it all comes at a price with the bottom range model likely to cost you over £22,000.

The test car had a starting price of £30,900 but with a host of extras that shot up to over £36,000 which might well frighten off a few potential buyers.



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