New Passat 2015: Driving a Week Surrounded by Technology

Of new cars being sold by 2015, the Volkswagen Passat 2015 It is one of which offers a fairly large list of new technologies, whether at the level interface, level connectivity, either level driving assistance. Also the record that it is not the only car that can be found. Very similar to this, and almost with the same technological equipment, we can think of the new Ford Mondeo 2014.

Posts to know a little better these systems, we decided to try for a week the new Volkswagen Passat 2015. But we will not talk to you here what such leads, how much to consume, or what such walks of space and luggage compartment, because that corresponds more with our sister Motorpasión website, and there you can already find the test in those other terms. During this week we focused on knowing and using elements such as traffic jams Wizard or the connected GPS Navigator.

Volkswagen Passat 2015: as coach

As the new Volkswagen Passat will not let be a car, by many electronics that incorporates, and without going into details and depth to those who could, unless it should summarize briefly the main features as a coach.

The unit we tested is not the most basic and affordable. By trim level is the highest, officially called Sport, and also equipped with several optional elements, e.g. the practicable glass sunroof or leather upholstery.

We are talking about a big car, measuring 4,77 m long and 1.83 m in width (excluding mirrors). It has four doors and five seats. The truth is that it is very spacious. It also has a very large, 586 litre trunk, which requires almost get inside to get to the bottom.

If it is nice or not that everyone deems it to be, but the reality is that in person is quite attractive and even you are looking. Inside is a very cosy and nicely finished, car that already has a touch of luxury. It is comfortable and very quiet.

This we tested is a 150 HP diesel engine, with automatic change dual-clutch six-speed, a combination that is highly recommended as your driving is really comfortable and relaxed, without that losing benefits.

After a week of daily use, in the same way and by the same places that would use my usual car, I must say I find it a great car to drive by motorway as a whole, and also without spending too much, as consumption came to vary according to the differences of each day between the 5.0 and 6.5 l / 100 km , which is a very interesting use for a car of this size which is automatic exchange, do not forget.

How you can not have everything, the advantage of being a large, spacious car and trunk becomes disadvantage when one has to drive by city, especially when it comes time to park. Fortunately, technology can help us really: front and rear distance sensors ultrasonically, and above all and better still, the four video cameras 360 degree viewing, are usefulness.

Volkswagen Passat 2015: as a technology showcase

Since we have quoted this cameras, let’s start with them. There is a camera in the front lower grille, a camera in the lower part of the left rear-view mirror, a camera hidden to simple view in the emblem of the brand of the hood of the trunk, which is also the handle to open it, and the last camera in another mirror, right.

Is not the first car which is equipped with a vision of the perimeter of the car system, Although Yes we have found one of the most complete (everything is evolving and improving as it stands), recognizes obstacles and has possible multiple views: overhead, in perspective, back, forward, to a side, to help us out of reverse gear, to help us to park a trailer, to help us incorporate us into the street from a garage with low visibility…

However, and although the system works well and is very useful for parking sites with little space, without touching the car and being able to see what our view is not able to see directly, is not quite perfect: front video camera is placed very low and does not give a very clear picture when car is very close to another vehicle or obstacle which this right front. It is enough to note a little higher.

The image of video cameras is displayed on the color screen of the console Centrale, eight inches and touch, which you can see quite well even when it’s sunny.

To help us in the maneuvers, leaving a parking lot, change lanes or overtaking, the detection of vehicles in the blind spot of mirrors He has liked also. It works with two radars placed at both ends of the rear bumper. It is very clear and useful, and is not annoying like others with a beep after another that can finish with the patience of some drivers.

Simply use an orange light on the body of the mirror, which turns fixed faint when a vehicle is detected, and that turns intense and blinking, to attract more attention, when with the intermittent, we indicate that we want to change lanes, but comes a vehicle.

Nor is Eastern the first system of this style which is mounted in a car, but do we liked other functionality, that is if it is equipped with an extra, maintenance in rail system. If it turns out that we are a bit clueless and want to change lanes, but is already a vehicle, and so it is ignore the light, the steering wheel vibrates a bit on the side whereby the coming vehicle towards which we want to go, and even resists and presents a bit of opposition to tell us that it will be better to not do it if we don’t want to have a scare.

The rail Maintenance Wizard: progress, but without being perfect

Some systems support to driving the new Volkswagen Passat riding, and also other models, this same brand or others, are the first steps towards the semi-autonomous and autonomous driving, which will go sooner or more reaching the automotive world, and whose adoption will depend on the acceptance of drivers and their price.

One of these systems is the maintenance in the lane Assistant. Already some years since this system went out, and it seems that it is evolving. It uses a at the top of the windshield video camera, ahead of the rearview mirror inside, which is used both to see the lines that demarcate the lane, as for example to recognize signs of speed limit or banned pass.

An electric actuator in the direction is that the computer brain of the car can rotate by itself steering wheel to help keep the car within the rail, between the two lines. And as I explained before, we can also alert if we want to change lanes and is a vehicle, combining with other systems.

The sensitivity can be adjusted to act when we are on the verge of stepping on the line, or else so act before and the car go centered in the lane. Of course who wants it to disable you can do it. This system suggests ways, for example to avoid that because of a dismissal we leave the lane, but not drive the car itself only.

The driver must carry at all times your hands on the wheel while holding it, and sharp bends the system do all necessary force to take the curve: we repeat it just in case, is an aid, not an autopilot. Anytime the driver can overcome the force exercised by the system on the steering wheel, for example to an unforeseen event that requires giving a volantazo.

The inconvenience that can be found is that for the moment, and this happened to me with similar systems in different cars and manufacturers, It is not a reliable system to 100%, and there are times and circumstances in which the system does not see the lines: me has happened in some tunnels, when it rains and the road gets wet and hard to distinguish the lines, either when the Sun falls directly on the windshield, for example with the Sun.

Now that the system is not working temporarily succeeded me fewer times that on other occasions, and that is why I believe that this system seems to be progressing, but unfortunately I can not say to be completely reliable, so until it isn’t, its real utility is only partial.

Adaptive cruise control: very useful

We mentioned before that the Volkswagen Passat 2015 It is an excellent car to drive by motorway. We have no doubt that for travel by road is a great car. A very useful resource to this use is adaptive cruise control.

This is another system that we can also find in more and more models, even (good news), in small and affordable cars: without going any further, within the same brand, in cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and the Volkswagen Polo, and also does not have a prohibitive price (around 300 euros).

It is a system that maintains constant speed that we have scheduled, acting on the accelerator, but also Keeps constant the safety distance with the vehicle which precedes us, even acting on the brakes when necessary. This is used a radar which is placed on the front of the car and looking forward detecting vehicles and measuring the distance to them.

By motorway it works very well, and allows you to drive more relaxed, without using the feet, because it is enough to introduce an increase of speed with the corresponding buttons on the steering wheel to make the car accelerate, and also just introduced a reduction in speed with those same buttons so the car brake.

In addition, acceleration and braking are made in proportion to what you indicate, but giving priority to do it smoothly, without impulsiveness. Obviously, if we move to 120 km/h, and reduce the programmed speed to 50 km/h, the car will slow down strongly, but that is now a thing of the driver.

The system reacts very quickly to changes, for example if “jumps” a vehicle before us, which has been changed from rail and sneaks into the hole, the system detects it and stops to regain the required safety distance. As soon as that vehicle is going, and back to having space ahead, the system returns to accelerate.

It’s perfect? So although it is a system that I like, that I recommend, and it works very well, as much as to say that it seems to me to be more reliable than the maintenance on the rail system, it has a drawback, it would be very good fix: It does not react to vehicles which are stopped.

If it turns out we are on a track behind the vehicle that precedes us, keeping the safety distance, and at one point the vehicle which precedes us changing lanes to overtake a vehicle that is stopped in the lane, the system is not able to recognize that vehicle, or realizes that it stands, or reacts as we approach.

I tested it in person, and the manual of instructions indicates that it is one of their limitations. I am sorry, but I do not understand. If the radar is pointing to an object, and every tenth of a second is that the distance that measures between charges becomes shorter, it is that we are approaching and you should go braking car. And if it does not, engineers aimed it is on the to-do list to reprogram.

The traffic jam Assistant: amazing

At this point, some of you might say that this situation I have just described is not going to give, but if present that from 30 km/h speed already have adaptive cruise control can be activated, and that in addition the car equipped with an Assistant to traffic congestion, the thing changes and is no longer so improbably found in this situation.

If we are driving at rush hour on a highway in the surroundings of a large city, almost certain that we will find a traffic jam. And this time is very useful and comfortable also this wizard, which in truth is take advantage and bring together three systems: the wizard of maintenance on the rail, adaptive cruise control and automatic change.

Yes, it is essential for the traffic jam Assistant to have automatic switching, so the car can change gear at will as needed, to go braking or accelerating go.

You have to make it clear that with this system, in a retention of traffic the car will drive almost single (but not quite, eye). The car will keep the speed and distance of the vehicle which precedes us, and if this is holding back, our car will be also slowing down, even up to stop completely. And as soon as the vehicle which precedes us again to move, our car will too and will be accelerating the necessary.

In addition the car will be maintained between the rail lines (but the driver has to take hands on the steering wheel, as already stated before).

But of course, if in that retention, there comes a time that we have a car stopped, breakdown or accident in rail, probably own retention cause, as I have explained before, car won’t react. We don’t say you would give a volantazo and avoid it, because it is not an autonomous car, but at least if we had relied and despistado, should stop and prevent the scope.

The first one uses this system goes a bit suspicious, the truth. You let go single car, but you’re tense if no brakes at all. But it slows down. And also it restarts only. We will be getting used, but at the beginning it is quite surprising.

Digital instrument panel: interesting

Personally, I have to admit that this digital instrument box, i.e., be completely a color screen, priori me not attracted too much attention. In my opinion a good instrument panel analog, those with circular areas with needles, like clockwork, more a display for the computer onboard, was more than enough.

Until you spend a whole week with a well determined digital dashboard and quality, and convincing you. The new Volkswagen Passat is a color display of 12.3 inches with a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels. For the distance that is seen, the truth is that its resolution is very good and looks very sharp. Even when the Sun enters and affects the screen looking (although not as well).

A box of instruments of this style — is not always equal and that far let the manufacturer, each driver to customize it a bit to your liking among the options that give you. In the case of the Passat for example, what changes is the center of each of the spheres, which can display information or another. In my case, instead of the classical view, preferred to put the information on consumption and autonomy in the center of the spheres.

The other advantage is that the central part of the picture may show very different things. In addition to what would be the typical information of a computer on board, with the average consumption, distance traveled, and other data, you can also see the information of the sound or the telephone equipment.

More interesting still see information assistance to the conducccion systems, for example seen in real time if the rail lines will be recognized or if undertakes the safety distance, and still more interesting is to see the map in perspective of the GPS navigation system. This also can be expanded, gaining width, reduced to change both spheres at each side.

How to improve, perhaps map which is shown here in the picture could be more detailed, like the one shown on the screen in the center console (but perhaps they have been considered so by the way, to not distract more than enough).

The connectivity system: with voice control

Almost all cars have already, or will be not much not later than with one of these systems. The 8-inch color touch screen the Centre of the dashboard is the window to use the connectivity of the car, which includes the typical features of Infotainment, as the team of sound, hands-free mobile phone, connected to internet and GPS navigation services.

Move through the menus is not too complicated, and there are several buttons for direct access to the main functions. That Yes, the screen may be a little higher. This is capacitive and quite sensitive and fast (resistive screens are used less and less). Although the density of pixels not seemed as high as in the screen of the instrument panel, it is not bad. The brightness, the contrast and color saturation can be adjusted to taste of each, and also has automatic day/night mode.

Is very practical in this system the menu of configuration of multiple elements equipment of the car, such as the volume or parking distance sensors beep tone, the intensity of the lighting environment inside, activation or not of the dynamic headlamp system, automatic closing doors to start the walk… and many other things. That everyone can adjust your car tastes seems to us very well.

On the system of GPS navigation There’s not much to say, it is pretty standard, with maps stored in memory and that as explained to us can be upgraded up to two times without additional cost. It shows the buildings in 3D, a trend that is also spreading in the GPS.

An additional feature is that this system is also connected to the internet. This is what Volkswagen calls Car-Net, and it is a service to which you should subscribe. The first year is included free and renewal costs 75 euros to the year, or 135 euro for two years.

This includes additional functions and receive news via RSS from web pages to which we endorse us, import a destination and route to GPS from your home computer, information on the status of traffic and the weather in real time, and data on gas stations (including fuel prices) in car and car parks (including whether there are free spaces and rates).

During the week I had the car not always reached the information. Of the State traffic, which is when driving is perhaps the most relevant and interesting, I think that it could be a little clearer.

In addition, the advanced system Discover Pro riding this Passat, are available more services like Google Earth or Google StreetView, which complement the traditional GPS Navigator.

Stating that the drive by default does not have connection to internet Mobile. This can be connection via our smartphone, making it a Wi-Fi router that connects the car system. The advantage is that there be a duplicate of our sim card, or a second line of data, but the disadvantage is that you have to remember to turn the Wi-Fi phone, and so does not discharge us too the battery, remember to connect it to the USB port so it will restart.

The other option, which seems more comfortable, but as the case can cost money, ask for a copy of our data connection sim card and leave it in the car. If we have the more basic system Discover Media, which by the way has a somewhat smaller 6.5-inch screen, will have to acquire a Mobile Router USB where to insert the card and take it pinched in the car. If we have the most complete system Discover Pro, it already comes with a sim card slot.

The system counts with a voice control You can call contacts from our agenda, indicate an address to the GPS Navigator or search for something in Google (if you have internet access). It works, but not always understands you and still has room for improvement, especially to be used with a more intuitive and natural language.

Also with MirrorLink and Android Auto CarPlay

Now same multimedia connectivity system is compatible with the Protocol’s interoperability MirrorLink, which for example often carry phones such as Samsung, Sony and Nokia, to name a few. In this way may be connected via USB the phone to the car system, replicates the screen on the car screen and can handle it.

There is some limitation of use, because not all applications that we’re on the phone are compatible, for safety reasons, but in principle, with the stopped car, we can access almost all the system, in my case, an Android phone, you can open Chrome, Twitter, Gmail, or Google Maps.

In contrast with the car in gear the limitation It is much higher, in fact, at least with my phone, I could not use any application while driving. This is understandable because it should not go any driver checking his Facebook wall while driving (one example), but instead Yes should be able to use GPS Navigator of Google Maps, for example. Honestly left me a rather bittersweet.

According to Volkswagen told us, the system supports updates, for example in the compatibility with applications or services of Car-Net. More or less in the middle of year will be compatible with other two interoperability protocols: Android Auto and CarPlay.

Conclusion in conclusion: no doubt have tried a big car where we can enjoy driving, which also has interesting electronic systems of the latest, that provide remarkable advantages. The drawback is that the handling of the car is enough complicates and requires some time to learn how to manage certain features, some of which still do not end up being perfect (and this feeling at the moment are leaving it me all the cars I’ve tested with similar systems, but what is that they are still so new things).