As Apple CarPlay continues to dominate the market, the benefits of using it in cars like the 2021 VW Passat R-Line become more obvious. Case in point: You can fire up the Waze app and enjoy more spirited driving to and from the office while you avoid traffic.
In case you are not aware of the Waze app, it uses some cool intelligence from other drivers to let you know about congestion and other issues. On your phone, you can set a traffic route (say, driving home after work) and then the Waze app will alert you about the next time to leave.
Now, I tested this feature many times in the VW Passat because, if there is one thing I hate on God’s green earth, it is traffic. The car is fun to drive, with a 174-horsepower turbo-charged engine. The handling is wonderfully precise, so much so that in all of my years testing cars, I always enjoyed just about any VW. They are meant for people who like to drive.
So, with the Waze app, I just waited until it seemed like the congestion had subsided. I work in a remote office now and my commute is about 55 miles. It can take as much as 90 minutes at times to drive home when there is heavy traffic.
The other challenge is a little thing known as construction. In my state, there are five seasons — as you can guess, the fifth season involves a lot of dirt, pylons, and orange signs.
If you have a fun and sporty car like the Passat, the last thing you want to do is sit idle. I’ve been known to drive way out of my way on country roads in the middle of nowhere just to avoid traffic. In fact, it seems to hit on a few personality flaws. I like to know the plan, to move forward at all times, and to find workarounds. I have an engineer’s mindset and an artistic vibe.
Waze is a good match for me. In a few cases, the app save me at least 20 minutes on my drive because it knew about delays.
I also discovered something quite unusual. I had found a route on my own, mostly by trial and error, that was longer and used less common roads to avoid traffic. I was amazed that, even on days when the traffic was far less congested, that the app always chose the same route. Great minds think alike. I had never used a GPS app before that suggested the same route.
Now, the other thing about my route is that there are curvy roads, places where I can push the car a little, and even a stoplight onto a highway where the speed limit is 70 MPH. Those are always my favorite. It means you can accelerate from a full stop all the way up to highway speeds. (These instances are rare, since most highways have an on-ramp that has a suggested speed that is much lower than the highway speed, say only 45MPH.)
In all of my testing, it was obvious that the Passat R-Line enjoyed the routes as much as I did. The cornering is amazing for a vehicle that costs only $29,995. I tended to look forward to my commute, instead of the usual scenario — dreading every minute.