USUALLY when someone says they mean business, they mean business. So when Volkswagen announced the 2020 Passat 140TSI Business Wagon, we assumed they meant business too. It is in the name after all.
On that basis, one would assume it means it’s targeted at travelling salesmen and women, and that they’d be lining up around the block to jump in a vehicle that perfectly suits their day-to-day, on the road, business needs.
Volkswagen have packed their best tools into the Business Wagon, but rather than feeling work focused, it presents as more of a sporty wagon, albeit one loaded with enough tech and gadgetry to have any techno-phile swooning with excitement.
Features such as an 8-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay mean there is no need to connect and setup your phone every time you jump in the car, saving valuable minutes when you’re in a rush. And yes, it has Android Auto (via USB cable) too.
In an odd choice, the USB connection is of the C variety, rather the USB-A we’re used to, but it does provide the upside of being able to power a current spec laptop, with most supporting USB-C charging.
It also took us a while to find the button to answer or hang up phone calls among the 19 buttons on the steering wheel, as there’s no obvious phone button. For the record, it’s the OK button.
Technology isn’t restricted to the infotainment system or wheel though, as the safety features also get a solid tech helping.
Adaptive cruise control and lane assist have been combined to give you travel assist, allowing you to travel partially automated at up to 110km/h. We want to stress that this isn’t a fully automated system, as we discovered when pushing it to its limits.
The cruise control is a dream come true when you’re stuck in the bustling Sydney traffic, with the Passat monitoring traffic in front and on its sides, slowing the car if the traffic drops its speed in front or when someone cuts across three lanes from the side.
The lane assist helps to keep you from wandering into other lanes, but is solely dependent on line markings and how well they have been painted. Go to far from the centre and it will gently steer you back to where you should be with a gentle warning.
Anger the beast too much though and you’ll experience a sharp stab from the brakes and a stern talking to from your instrument cluster for being naughty. Front assist and emergency braking assist are also on board, although we didn’t test them, obviously.
You’ll also find park assist at the ready to ensure you don’t scratch your wheels or park to close to another car’s door, and with a crystal clear reverse camera and front, side and rear sensors, you’ll keep insurance premiums low and panel beaters out of business.
The interior styling will feel familiar if you’re a Volkswagen regular too, but it has undergone a bit of a twist, with a sleek and sporty look that includes wrap around vents and silver cross hatch panels.
Black leather accents and seating with white stitching, completes the look. Those seats offer a multitude of adjustments up front, but may be an acquired taste in the styling and comfort department.
After two hours of driving, this reviewer compared them to a cement park bench with an artistic European style; something that might suit someone that prefers a hard mattress to sleep on, but not those who like a comfortable seat for long drives.
The park bench feeling continues in the rear seats as well. There is an upside though. The driver’s seat comes fitted with a massage function, which slowly pushes forward and back on the drivers lower back. It’s a nice touch to help ease any pain one might feel.
And while we’re talking nice things, the rear passenger windows in the Passat also feature in-built sunshades. There’s boot space aplenty too, with 650-litres with the seats up, or 1,780-litres when you fold them down.
Under the bonnet you’ll find a 4-cylinder direct injection turbo engine, putting out 140kW. It’s mated to a 7-speed DSG gearbox. That’s plenty of power to spin the wheels and pop you back in the seat, and all without spilling your passenger’s coffee.
You’ll also find a chassis that is tightly tuned to give you plenty of feel for the road, particularly when cornering in a hurry. It’s these characteristics that make this feel more like a performance car than a ‘business’ model.
Exterior wise, Volkswagen have really come through with the goods, designing a vehicle that reflects its internal and external spaces. The grille matches the air vents inside, or vice versa, and the whole car looks good, without making a huge statement.
That’s reflected in the colour choices too. There’s no Violet Touch or Viper Green here. But you will find the somewhat traditional Pure White, Aquamarine Blue Metallic, Manganese Grey Metallic, Pyrite and Reflex Silver Metallic and Deep Black Pearl Effect.
Pricing starts at $50,873 plus on-roads. It’s nearly $14,000 dearer than the Mazda6 wagon. But when it comes with all the gadgets and safety offered as standard inclusions, you can see the added value very quickly.
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat 140TSI Business Wagon is a fantastic car. It’s stylish, powerful, handles great, and has enough technology crammed in to let you drive it, how you see fit. Sure it’s got it’s drawbacks, but it’s certainly worth considering.
Our test vehicle was provided by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Volkswagen Passat 140TSI Business Wagon, contact your local Volkswagen dealer.