Singapore – Station-wagons are a polarising category in the world of cars. Those who understand the appeal love them to bits, whilst others will barely bat an eyelid when an estate goes by.
Those in the former camp will usually regale you with tales of how much they appreciate the elongated form of the wagon, or how they combine the versatility and utility of an SUV with the drivability of a regular car – all factors I concur with. My love for station-wagons stem from neither of those. My love for station-wagons started during my childhood because I grew up with one.
As a young child growing up, I was extremely fortunate to have had a station-wagon in the family, an odd-looking Mazda 929 that worked its way into our family. It gave us the space to play in the back, and took us on long journeys into Malaysia. These formative years with the family wagon grew my passion for cars and kickstarted my love for estates. Ever since then, I've always longed for a wagon of my very own.
While the Volkswagen Passat Variant might have absolutely nothing to do with our old Mazda 929 Estate, walking up keys in hand to this sharp-looking estate certainly sparked some feelings of nostalgia.
Hi, my name is Louis and as you can probably guess by now, I'm a wagon-holic.
Visually, there is nothing odd nor retrospective about the aesthetics of the Passat Variant. With its sharp and bold belt-line that starts behind the front wheel arches, cutting across purposefully through the door handles and tapering off towards the rear lights, it is a sharply-styled wagon. And while it might have a slightly taller roof height, the overall design is executed so neatly, you wouldn't have noticed it without someone mentioning the fact. I think the Variant is even better looking than the sedan on which it was based.
Yep, this is the Passat Variant's grand-pappy!
And this beauty is not just skin deep, because the Passat Variant boasts a 46-year pedigree, an automobile that through sheer tenacity, eventually became Volkswagen Group's second best-selling car of all time after the Golf, with 30 million units produced.
With such a strong lineage, it’s small wonder how impressed we were with the overall packaging of our Variant. All 4.7m worth of it.
On the road, with the Variant's expansive glass roof allowing plenty of light into the cabin and the car's adjustable damper settings (DCC in VW speak) set to comfort, we are happy to report a smooth and happy journey was enjoyed by all with the smallest furry family member settling down for a snooze.
The 2.0-litre’s 350Nm of torque is always ready and waiting to be unleashed with a simple flex of the right foot for effortless progress. The spec sheet for our R-Line ‘variant’ of the Variant is as expansive as its glass-roof: Automatic headlight activation, Cruise Control, Anti-theft alarm, Rest Assist Fatigue Detection, Front and rear park distance control and Automatic post-collision braking, all to keep our little Pepper happily sleeping in the rear.
Inside, with the posh leather seats folded down, 1,780-litres of cargo room can be further liberated for transporting pretty much anything, prams, shopping bags, flat-packed furniture and our family of dogs. All at the same time and with space to spare.
At the end of the day with the Passat Variant cleaned up and safely sent back home to Volkswagen Singapore, one could only ponder how many more contributions this VW wagon could have had in my life as one short weekend was just not quite enough to really bond with the car.
Could this be the purpose of station-wagons all along, to not just segue seamlessly into everything we do with our families, but to also one day, become a part of our life? After all, a ‘wagon’ doesn't just help make life more convenient, but it’s a car that makes memories for life.
STORY Louis Soon
PHOTOS Louis Soon / VW
VW PASSAT VARIANT 2.0 TSI
Engine 1984cc, inline4
Transmission 6spd DSG dual-clutch
Top Speed 244km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.5l/100km