Our cars: Volkswagen Passat Estate - November
Week ending November 18
Driven this week 309 miles
Unlike in many cars, the Passat has its USB connection in a compartment in the glovebox. This means your MP3 player or phone is tucked safely away, but causes more problems than it solves.
First, it's a long stretch from the driver's seat to connect or disconnect your device. Second, the small drop-down compartment is just about big enough for my iPhone, but it's tricky to get the lead securely attached without bending it in two directions. Plus, even if the lead is only slightly loose, your music won't play, which means you have to reach over and fiddle about trying to get it connected securely.
It'd be far easier if the USB connection was in the storage cubby between the front seats.
Week ending November 11
Current mileage 5807
Driven this week: 464 miles
I'm glad I specified the Passat's £695 touch-screen sat-nav system. It's easy to use, looks neat and generally works well. It's also decent value.
If only the real-time traffic information and automatic re-routing did what it was supposed to. On a recent journey, I heard on the radio that the motorway ahead was clogged. The sat-nav was set and kept directing me towards the jam. I pressed the 'Traffic' button to update the information, but still nothing. Thankfully I knew a way across county, so came off at the next exit and ignored the sat-nav's instructions to head back to the motorway.
Even when the system twigged that the motorway was jammed, and updated my estimated time of arrival by an hour, it kept re-routing me towards the motorway. I continued on the A-road and got home a good 45 minutes earlier than the sat-nav suggested.
Week ending November 4
Driven this week: 462 miles
Another weekend, another long journey for the Passat. This time it was from Surrey to the Tank Museum in Dorset and back.
I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, and a crash on the M25 meant it took the best part of seven hours to do the 310-mile round trip, but there were few cars I’d rather have been in than the Passat.
It’s effortless to drive, refined and, despite the suspension not filtering out as many bumps as I’d hope, generally comfortable.
Then there are the things the Passat does well that other cars often don’t. Things like all the buttons being simple to use and within easy reach, good visibility, a widely adjustable driving position, comfortable seats and uniformly weighted controls.
It’s no wonder I’m enjoying life with a Passat Estate.