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The four-cylinder VW Passat generates a generous 170 hp, making it feel just as quick as its V6-powered sibling.

2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 T GLS Road Test
Fast 4 outpaces sibling's V6

By Bill Roebuck

The Passat 1.8 T GLS boasts most of the design characteristics of its top-of-the-line Passat GLX sibling, but comes with a four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and a manual transmission. You might think it's a lesser vehicle than it's more powerful brother. Yet on the road, the 170-hp turbocharged engine felt just as quick as the V6 Passat. In fact, on track testing, it was about a second faster than the GLX. Braking from 100-0 km/h was an identical 136 ft.

Surprisingly, the lower-priced GLS provides a smoother ride -- there was a slight vibration in the rear end on some road conditions in the all-wheel drive GLX. The GLS also displayed very good lateral grip and slightly less body roll. Overall, it felt more balanced, especially on poor roads. The surprise is that if provides better performance for a much lower price tag, yet you get all the comfort and space benefits of the more expensive model.

Also notable is that Volkswagen has improved its warranty from two to four years with its 2002 model lineup. There's also a five-year, 100,000 km power train warranty and a 12-year, unlimited mileage corrosion warranty, which makes you think that Volkswagen believes the Passat will never rust.

Tested price: $33,335.

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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