Cars I Can’t Write About 3: 2014 VW Passat

Some cars are gob-stoppers. I can’t bring myself to do more than glance at them much less expend any breath. Here’s one: the 2014 VW Passat.

2014 Passat collage

So far I have picked a shopping trolley and a sportscar in my excursion through the list of cars I can’t write about. Keen observers of my output will say this is because I am an enthusiast for saloon cars. You can infer from this a low-self esteem if you like, or you can imply a liking for four-door cars from mainstream makers is an automotive version of a taste for “reader’s wives”. To deal with the second argument, I present the current VW Passat.

I find that I spend a lot of time scrutinising 90s Mazda 626s, Mondeos and Vectras but not the car that beats these in most contests. You’d think that were I to admire quite ordinary cars that do quite ordinary things then I would like that which embodied ordinariness. But you’d be wrong. The Passat has had the imperfections that make the others in some way interesting hammered out of it.

I can accord the Passat grudging respect but you’d have to take me back to 1976’s iteration to make me want to get in one and drive away whereas I find the seats of the 1998 Mazda 626 very pleasingly square and I enjoy the zig-zag on the c-pillar. I think it has a huge boot too. I can put things in that.

The Mondeos are dating nicely now, especially the Jac Nasser-era ones. The same goes for the Vectras. They are settling into their own past. I think if I had to roll about in a Mazda 626 I’d never wash it. The Mondeo could – in the right trim – be an anti-classic: Ghia levels of luxury with a stupid V6. And the Vectra I’ve discussed previously.

I don’t think I could want a car that aspired to being something it fundamentally wasn’t. If I wanted an A4 I would not buy something from Wolfsburg which seems to beg to be polished and kept immaculate without returning anything in the looks department that a classic car can. Salooniness is fine but not fake gilt-edge cachet. When’s the next one due?

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

3 thoughts on “Cars I Can’t Write About 3: 2014 VW Passat”

  1. The next one’s due… next year. Until then I shall maintain some respect for the current model as one of the finest facelifts I can think of. I wouldn’t have believed the gauche shape and odd proportions of the Günak/Schreyer era Passat could be turned into anything halfway decent, but de’Silva’s boys proved me wrong.

    And I will once again repeat my opinion that the B5 Passat (pre-facelift model) is among the finest ’90s saloons in terms of design – Warkuss-era design at its best.
    It was only blemished with that fake gilt-edge cachet by the time it was facelifted into a wannabe-Phaeton.

  2. True, the current VW Passat doesn’t have the neat self-confidence of its smaller siblings. I too have always admired the 96 B5 Passat but, of late, I’ve started finding the curve where the C pillar joins the rear wing irritating. Actually I’ve always had a soft spot for the 88 B3 Passat, since it was a logical design that made no attempt to ingratiate itself with fripperies. I almost bought one once, but didn’t, which is probably what a lot of people said.

  3. What was paradoxical about the B5 was that VW trumpeted it´s “product design” form language. However, the way I see it was that it was as automotive as any of its peers. It was the B3 that was properly understood as having “only as much design as was needed and no more”. The appearance was has a very engineering-first character and the packaging triumphed over raw good looks. I like that car for those reasons whereas, neat and tidy as the B5 was, it was clearly a stylist´s car, with the roofline in particular sacrificing headroom for space. I won´t argue that liking it is wrong and I don´t dislike it but it wasn´t what they said it was.
    The present car is….no, you can´t make me say anything about it.

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