Saturday, January 15, 2005

New Passat: "Fusion," or Confusion?

VW Vortex (

The previous Passat was distinctive due to its predominantly convex design theme. That "puffiness" and deliberate lack of trim elements gave it that special hewn from solid Germanic character.

This thing retains none of that. This is more a grab-bag of Accura/Lexus/BMW design cues. It's all thin and wispy and concave. Head-on is its best angle; combining Phaeton and Audi A6 clues, then we swing round to the messy Accura "A" pillar/hood/fender junction -- from there on back we have BMW's disastrous theme of too many horizontal elements and "jaunty" kick to the rear doors.

All those character lines crash to a halt as we swing round to the back end which appears to be a morph of at least four different manufacturers. The rubbing strips have been reduced to nothing more than chromed trim tape. Inside... Aagh... Where do I start? The door trims look like the old PVC stretched and stapled over hardboard doors from the 'Sixties; the seats are from an Alfa; the wheel is from a Yugo; the top of the dash is draped over something else altogether. Mmm. Did I mention the Pimp my Ride wheels?

That's enough. I'm done. Rant over. (Mutter. Mutter. What were they thinking...)


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