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Our Editor went for a road trip with the Volkswagen Passat and discovers that it's all the car he really needs... and then some.

28 Nov 2017


This storyteller here went for his first U.S.A road trip a couple of months back. The car of his choice? A Volkswagen Passat.

Much to his dismay, it was neither a sizzling hot hatch nor a low-slung two-seater shooter. But as it turns out, the weapon of car choice for this road trip took him by surprise.

Every once in awhile, there comes a car that simply makes you go wow. The Volkswagen Passat certainly fits that bill.

Over here, he points out some of the very simple yet commonly overlooked factors on why the Volkswagen Passat can be the best choice for your road trip to practically anywhere.

With its length of 4,875mm and width of 1,834mm, the Passat is the perfect choice on unfamiliar roads
1. Size does matter on unfamiliar roads

Don't be a smartass.

More often than not, driving with confidence comes with being familiar with the car and the roads. When you're in a completely different country and driving on the other side of the lane, you'll want to minimise unnecessary uncertainty. Being a typical Kiasu Singaporean and renting a big car is one such thing you should avoid.

Stick to an executive sedan - something that can haul two in comfort and still swallow all your barang barang without making you pee in your pants every time you need to manoeuvre around tight and unclear spaces. If there's a bunch of you heading out for the road trip, consider renting more than one car.

So yes, don't be a smartass.

You could do a drag race with the help of the fast-shifting six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but remember you're on a road trip
2. It's a road trip, not a drag race

The Volkswagen Passat I drove had a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-pot powerplant underneath its bonnet. This sums up a decent 170bhp and 250Nm of torque to the front wheels.

It's more than enough for anyone to drive from one state to another at a speed that will get you pulled over by the cops, which actually did happen to me. Embarrassingly, the cop reminded me that I was on road trip, not a drag race, and I was to go easy on the gas.

Of course, being an impatient man that I am, I exceeded the speed limit and was almost pulled over the second time, with the cops giving me the red and blue on the opposite direction when I drove past him at 170km/h.

Just remind yourself you're on a road trip, and spending more to rent a fast car may not exactly be a priority.

The Volkswagen Passat is a humble-looking executive sedan that will not draw unnecessary stares from casual observers
3. Flash and you'll get trashed

If you've ever been to the States, you'll know that being flashy will not do you any good. You're not in Singapore where crime rate is low and you can drive in your fancy car without having the fear of being robbed or carjacked.

As crime rates are higher over there, it's vital that you don't stand out too much. A car like the Volkswagen Passat is a perfect car to blend in with the average Joe, which would also mean it won't make you a prime target in the rural areas of Los Angeles (LA) at 9:00pm.

During my time in LA, an elderly woman with a swollen eye and a cup full of ice harassed me because I refused to give her some loose change. She threw the entire cup of ice on the car, along with a string of profanities.

Mind you, that was 3:00pm on a sunny afternoon. Imagine what she's capable at 9:00pm when she sees an Asian dude walking to his fancy car.

Passengers will enjoy copious amounts of room at the rear of the Volkwagen Passat
4. Comfort first, space second, dynamism third

You could well argue that a road trip is the perfect opportunity for you to rent a car that you enjoy driving. But try your best not to be a selfish mo'focker.

Don't forget you're not alone on road trips. There will always be friends and partners travelling with you who aren't petrolheads. This simply means cars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast and the Honda Civic Type R are out of the question.

Consider getting a decent ride where all can drive confidently and travel comfortably. A car like the Volkswagen Passat may be predictable and boring by your standards, but comfort and space are its priorities, which make it a ride you should consider when planning your road trips.

Should you ever feel the need for speed, do it at the right places, at the right time and do it with friends who share the same passion. Just remember safety first.
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