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.
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?