Weekend drive to Lavasa in the Volkswagen Passat
Lazy weekends are exactly what I live for. But my colleagues in office? It’s like they’re allergic to the idea of relaxing. Show them half a Saturday and they’re off to Lavasa. And so it was that day. Should have been just another lazy weekend that should have seen me chilling in the comfort of home. But no, we were going to go for another one of our weekly drives.
Me, being me, you’d expect me to be grumbling and cribbing inside my head. Can’t be vocal about such things when you’ve got a job to hold on to, no? But surprise surprise, I wasn’t. I had the keys to the ed’s lovely Volkswagen Passat. Given the way that the Passat drives there was no reason for me to turn down the opportunity. Besides, it’s as close to the comfort of home as I will ever get on the road. So I settled myself down and got comfy.
Finding a good driving position is extremely easy in the Passat thanks to those electrically adjustable seats. And once you are in the right position, you can just save it into the system because the seats have a memory function. Convenient, isn’t it? The fact that they have a massage function is also very cool.
I drove out of my apartment’s tight parking spot helped immensely by the 360-degree camera view projected on the centre console. My favourite tunes belting out of the excellent 8-speaker music system via Apple CarPlay, I headed straight for our photographer Gaurav ‘GT’ Thombre’s house. Traffic was sparse and the Passat didn’t mind going at a fair clip through the city, helped along by the 350Nm of shove that is available all the way from a lowly low of 1500rpm to 3500.
I was about to get to GT’s house from where I was supposed to pick him when a sudden case of amnesia, which both the ed and the asst ed say I’m very prone to (I of course disagree), struck. I had again forgotten the exact lane where his house is. Under normal circumstances this would have led to phone calls and a billion jokes thereafter from the team at the expense of my memory. Fat chance I’d let them take pot shots at my memory again. Not with the Passat’s excellent mobile phone compatibile infotainment system. I turned on the navigation and with verbal directions via the voice commands I didn’t even have to take my eyes off the road to get to GT’s place. Forget making Mayday calls to the team.
“The fact that it handles extremely well also meant that GT continued his nap while I snaked my way up the Mutha ghats”
By now the morning traffic had just started building up and I couldn’t just park it by the side of the road. After a few minutes of hunting for one, I finally found a solitary parking spot. It was rather tight and I wasn’t sure if the Passat would fit into the gap. Not wanting to scrape the Ed’s car, I handed over the reigns of parking the car to the Park Assist. Now, if you have been unfamiliar with Park Assist, the sheer pace at which it does things can be a little frightening. In the blink of an eye the steering steers itself and manoeuvres the car into place, the driver only having to use the brakes. When it was all done, I looked out the window to find that it was parked perfectly with more than enough room on either side for ingress and egress. A few minutes later (time I utilised to great effect fiddling around with the massage settings) Gaurav arrived with his kit that the Passat’s 586-litre boot easily swallowed up.
Passat in all its charm
On the move, Gaurav got some shut-eye courtesy the luxurious cabin and the great ride quality that the Passat has always been known for. The fact that it handles extremely well also meant that GT continued his nap while I snaked my way up the Mutha ghats.
It was the golden hour, as photographers like to call it and GT wanted to make the most of it and highlight the stylised simplicity of the Passat. The sleek lines all over the body of the Passat make it look athletic but not overly muscled. The sharp headlamp design along with the grille is something GT really likes. He says it works with the sharp, straight lines that flank the sides and go on to the rear where the lines meet the exquisite tail section of the Passat. All in all, a charmer then. The Passat’s design resonates with everyone, young and old, man and woman. And that is something that Volkswagen has to be applauded for. In this shade of white that you see on these pages, the car stands out from the crowd of premium sedans in the market. Which is a huge compliment because white usually tends to make the vehicle look somewhat boring. Not so in the case of the Passat.
After a couple of still shots, a few driving shots, GT was ready to admire the Passat from the inside. The functionality of the cabin coupled with the luxurious materials used, elevate the cabin to a level few other cars come close to.
After another hour spent driving up and then down from Lavasa, it was time to head home. The choc-a-bloc traffic leading back into the city gave me time to put the Passat into Park and think about the car I was driving in. The Passat is a good looking car and it achieves that not by ostentatious paint jobs or tons of chrome, it does that using a simple, elegant and timeless design along with high quality materials. It is a similar story inside as well. However, the host of technology features like the Pilot Park Assist aren’t just modern, they are glimpses into the future of driving. The Passat, I am sure, will age gracefully and still be as delightful to drive after a decade of use. And now, back to that lazy weekend slumber that was plan A in the first place.