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The Passat 206TSI R-Line Could Be Volkswagen’s Best All-Rounder

The Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line is the do-everything model of the Volkswagen line-up. This sport wagon has technology, power, space, ride comfort, and a competitive price (AU$68,390 plus on-road costs) to back it all up. It’s a great all-rounder, but it doesn’t always show up in the box score.

It might be behind most of the VW line-up as far as screens, shift knobs, and physical buttons are concerned. But I’d argue it’s the sweet spot. Not ready for the new Samsung Foldable phone? Grab yourself a Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line, it’s the iPhone of the wagon world. It does everything you want it to do, nothing you don’t, and sometimes it’ll even impress you with its capabilities. Let’s not forget it has a 206kW 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder turbo petrol under the bonnet.

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Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line | Image: Supplied

Add that spicy engine to this practical of a car and you have the makings of a true sleeper wagon. The only thing giving this hot-version away to the educated from the outside are the matte graphite 19-inch ‘Pretoria’ alloys stolen from the MK7.5 VW Golf R ‘Final Edition’ and Lapiz Blue metallic paint. If it’s starting to sound like the Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line is a larger version of the now-discontinued Golf R wagon you’d be on the money.

Those with a keen eye will spot the signature features of a VW R-Line pack, including the roof-mounted spoiler and R-Line front and rear bumpers. But they won’t spot the additions on the inside such as stainless steel pedals, scuff plates, flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle-shifters, and R logos on the front seat backs.

While we’re talking kit, we can’t miss the matrix LED headlights with dynamic cornering lights and integrated LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, keyless entry and push-button start, three-zone climate control, Nappa leather seats, customisable LED ambient lighting, Harman Kardon sound system, 9.2-inch colour touchscreen with Discover Pro software including satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro driver display, and rear-view camera with a 360-degree top-down view.

Take a seat inside the Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line and the first thing you’ll notice are the seats. Far from the buckets used in something like a BMW M3 Touring, they’re comfortable for long drives (I racked up 600km in one sitting with ease), electrically adjustable, and heated, although not cooled.

Storage and convenience points are also worthy of a shout-out. Look for it and you’ll find it, from the two USB-C ports up front for charging your phone while streaming Apple CarPlay (no wireless charging) to the climate controls which are backlit touch-sensitive sliders.

The Harman Kardon sound system is also a nice sounding bit of kit.

Open the boot and you’ll wonder why anyone even thinks of buying an SUV. There’s SO much space in the back of the Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line with 650 litres with the rear seats up and 1780 litres with them down. This compares to SUVs like the Ford Everest which has 1823 litres with the rear seats down. It smokes cars like the Toyota RAV 4 which manages 580 litres with the rear seats up too.

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Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line | Image: Supplied

Speaking of smoking SUVs at this price point, we have to talk about the engine and drivetrain combination in the Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line. It’s powered by the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder that produces 206kW (from 5600-6500rpm) and 350Nm (from 1700-5600rpm). This engine sends power to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic DSG transmission and Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The ride quality is the standout feature once you’re on the road. It’s all thanks to VW’s adaptive damper set-up and Dynamic Chassis Control system that you can adjust on a slider through the vehicles settings menu. Crank the slider one way and the suspension gets soft as a rock. Crank it the other way and you’ll have ride comfort that left me speechless.

Seriously, I did not expect this car to ride the way it did. You can’t even compare it to the Golfs because it leans so far on the side of Touareg or Audi. When you consider the car costs less than AU$80,000 it puts most SUVs in this price range to shame. It’s not all about sports with the sports wagons!

Drive the Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line through a few corners and the 4Motion all-wheel drive system offers the road-holding peace of mind and safety you’re searching for. It’s competent at speed, but I much preferred wafting around with the dampers set to comfort.

Push the car and the system can deliver up to 100% of the available power and torque to the rear wheels. Although, it never feels remotely rear-wheel-drive.

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Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line | Image: Supplied

The Volkswagen Passat 206TSI R-Line is one of the biggest surprises for me this year. It’s far from the newest thing on the road, but it ticks the boxes where it needs to and delivers outright luxury every time you get behind the wheel thanks to those trick adaptive dampers. If anything, it proves that VW can (when it needs to) turn on the luxury switch.

It’s frugal with a claimed fuel usage of 8.1L/100km of premium 98RON unleaded. And it’s not particularly expensive to service during the 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, requiring a service every 12 months or 15,000km whichever comes first.

Above all, it proves that cars this good are available and they don’t need to cost AU$100,000 in today’s market. When it was released, some turned their nose to the AU$68,390 plus on-road costs price tag, but by today’s standards, it seems affordable premium family cars can exist.

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