It was prettier, had bigger wheels, sat on its haunches and delivered more power - it was practical too. Basically, it was better.
The VW Passat R36 Wagon...
This is nothing new you say, with the likes of Mercedes, BMW, HSV and the like doing a specialty vehicle. Is it any surprise that VW would follow? We'd just really like to see more of the groovy like this, (*cough*, c'mon VW, we know the R-line stuff is just a pretty skirt)
The R36 was wonderful in that it allowed some style and elegance matched by a performance level in both sedan and wagon body types. We've seen it before in sports saloons and wagons like Subaru, where it felt usable, yet fun. However with the R36 during its 2008-2011 run, we may have had something really special.
Make no mistake, its subtle enhancements complimenting the conservative euro posture might fool you into thinking it's a little average - Umm, No. When this thing barks, it precedes a fair bite.
Engine: V6, 3.6ltr, 24v
Power: 296bhp @ 6600rpm
Torque: 258lb ft @ 2400-5300rpm
0-100 kph: 6.0sec
Top speed: 248kph (limited)
Ok, it's no hard edged Quattro, but it's definitely got the wind behind it. It's also sexed up enough in looks and refinements to give it the luxury sports feeling, yet remaining elegantly understated. Civil, if you will. The real bonus with this mover is that it's all wheel drive - Happee Dayz, this thing is gonna handle. Arguably the steering isn't as engaging as an Audi or a Beemer rival, but the suspension is solid enough to keep you in touch with how you need to point the damn thing.
Seriously, this car is a few years old now, but we kinda love it. It's held its weight pretty well, looks great and you can pick one up here in Oz with a healthy 20K-30K. Not bad eh? At this price point it wouldn't have been in the hands of many boy racers who've thrashed it, so stepping into this performer presents less risk than other sorts. If you're checking one out and it's a little hesitant, get the gearbox and clutch checked.
It's comfy, sure footed, reliable and it can carry half your house with you. If you need to tick some family + fun boxes, it's hard to walk away from... especially in blue.
Picture source: Volkswagen