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My wife is tired of old cars....

posted Oct 5, 2009, 8:34 AM by Kevin Coughlin   [ updated Oct 5, 2009, 8:54 AM ]
...specifically old ones that don't work well. I don't blame her - I LOVE old cars - but they have to function. The weather here in Spokane is somewhat "harsh" these last two winters. Getting around on the roads is sometimes a real challenge. I'm building up an old 4x4 Eagle for my winter ride. We really needed something for my Robin, as well. So....

That, in the picture, is a 2003 Volkswagon Passat. It has the normally aspirated 2.8 liter V-6, 5 speed automatic transmission, and all the fancy things for a winter car like heated seats, heated mirrors, heated windshield washers, and of course - all wheel drive via the VW "4 Motion" system. The Passat (German for "Tradewind") of this year is based on the Audi A4 platform, and the 4motion system is a Torsen T2 differential. The 30 valve V-6 makes 193 hp @6000 rpm and 210 ft/lb of torque @3200 rpm. Supposed top speed of 143 mph - I think I'll take the wikipedia article's word on that.

Big cargo capacity when you flip/tumble the rear seats forward. The bottom of the rear seat tilts forward, and the seat back drops down into the space left. They lock together making a perfectly flat floor. There are also cargo tie downs in the back, and a pair of 12 volt power sockets - so if you have one of those fancy electric powered coolers you can stow it in the back, sling a web strap around it to keep it contained, and plug it in so that your wine and cheese stay at the right temperature for the picnic.

At 3,100 pounds it feels much more solid, but moves surprisingly well. Road feel is good, but not punishing, and the leather seats are very nice. It remembers where you adjusted the seat (up/down/tilt/forward/back) as well as where the side mirrors were pointing. It can remember 3 different drivers, so when Robin gets in, she pushes a button and it reconfigures the seats and mirrors for her. It even re adjusts the mirror on the right side to point down further when you put the car in reverse, and back up when you put it in drive. Fancy!