Has anybody noticed that car manufacturers are shying away from the use of the term "station wagon"? Volkswagen avoids that term that may have too many stigmas attached by most consumers and opt to use the word "estate" instead. I admit, estate sounds more upscale. Like, I'm returning to my estate for an elegantly prepared meal of foi groi and escargot (you have to say that with a fancy English accent). The alternative is hurrying home in my station wagon to beat the pizza delivery guy to get the dinner I ordered on my cell phone during soccer practice. However, which of those two scenarios sounds more like your life, huh?
Even if I were forced to choose between those scenarios, you can bet I'd choose the pizza over snails any day. So I'm cool with the term station wagon after all.
In any event, the 2007 Volkswagen Passat Estate is equally functional no matter what you call it. Clever features abound in the Passat Estate, such as a refrigeration feature in the glove box (allowing us parents to keep those juice boxes or formula bottles cold during long road trips), a secret hidden umbrella compartment (which I'm sad to say was mysteriously missing its VW branded umbrella during my test drive) and a cargo area large enough to fit a bicycle with training wheels and a tricycle with a push bar, plus a gallon of milk in each of its side cargo trays.
It couldn't possibly get any better, you say? Well, make sure you're sitting down before you read this next sentence: The VW Passat Estate also has an available automatic tailgate. Being able to open the tailgate from the key remote without having to let go of my children (or grocery cart) in a busy parking lot makes this car earn its Estate title (and it also makes me feel really cool whenever I push that button in a crowded place where everyone turns to look). As a matter of fact, it may very well deserve to be knighted.
The '07 Passat sports a whole slew of standard safety features, such as dual stage front airbags, side airbags, side curtain airbags for both rows, an electronic stability system, a tire pressure monitoring system and more.
I have dug up a bit of dirt on the Passat Estate, but after all that praise-singing I feel almost silly bringing it up: The Latch connectors are not very easy to use, but doable - what else is new? Also, the rear seat belt buckle receptors are hard for children who are trying to buckle in to booster seats to use.
After my impressive test drive in the Passat Saloon (fancy term for sedan), the Estate lives up to its reputation. With loads of convenient features for anyone (but especially for parents), a slew of standard safety features and its super-cool blue nighttime dash illumination (OK, vanity always plays a little part), all for $26,000, the 2007 Passat Estate is a great vehicle for modern motorists - kids not required, but beneficial for dishing out bear hugs when feeling down.
*For more information on the Volkswagen Passat Estate and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS LATCH Connectors: 2 Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
SENSE AND STYLE Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some - Good Times