The family and I went for a trip to see the grandparents in Phoenix this weekend (from Albuquerque). For the way down, we took some state highways through El Malpais and Quemado to US 60. On the way back we went through Payson and caught I-40.
Ambient Mid 30's (until we came down out of the mountains in Apache Junction)
Speed around 70 most of the way
LOTS of up and down climbing
~40 MPH Headwind
Stuck in traffic for about an hour just outside of ABQ (engine off most of that time, just sitting there)
Ambient in the 60s (warmer near Phoenix, where we had the A/C on)
70 till we hit I-40, then 80
Lots of up and down climbing
(It was running 56-60 MPG at 70MPH
on AZ-377, the one flat part of the trip)
Much nicer than the last trip which we did in my Golf (2 carseats in the back, one rear-facing). This car loves the switchbacks in the mountains and it's not nearly the workout steering the Golf is. The Triptronic was nice for engine braking on the really big hills, though on the smaller ones a light tap on the brakes was enough to end the freewheeling and apply a little engine braking.
We are definitely happy we got the Passat for family road trips!
P.S. On a funny side note: When we got stuck in the traffic jam outside of ABQ, it was in a construction zone and one lane was blocked off with concrete barriers. When traffic started moving, we got to a section where the barrier was pushed in and the crew was trying to straighten it back out. We figured this was the likely site of the accident (state patrol was parked right there too). As we drove by, we saw some graffiti on the out of place barrier that read "F%^&!" in large letters. Ironically appropriate