Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Lots of interior space
- Economical engines
- Classy exterior and interior
- More expensive than rivals
- Styling can be dull to some
- Some rivals are better equipped
Whats the VW Passat like?
If you’re in the market for a top class saloon or top selling gargantuan estate, look no further than the beautifully built Volkswagen Passat.
The estate is all the car almost any family could want, with loads of interior and luggage space, and it makes a nonsense of buying a people carrier if you don’t need the extra seats.
By far the majority of Passats started life as company cars, and so because they offer lower emissions, better economy and lower benefit in kind bills, diesels form the majority of what’s available secondhand.
The most parsimonious oil burner is a 1.6-litre with 118bhp that can reach a very best of 70mpg, giving an excellent 900 miles on a tankful. Make no mistake, this is a classy car, and year for year, it's better value than similar-size premium models from the likes of Mercedes and Audi because it comes with much more equipment for your money.
They come with a good reputation for reliability and as well as the diesel 1.6-litre, there's a further wide range of petrol and diesel power units. After the 1.6-litre – which can reach 60mph from rest in 10.5 seconds - there are three 2.0-litre diesels with power ranging from 147bhp to 236bhp. But it’s worth bearing in mind that VW limits some units to upper levels of trim.
The 147bhp model reaches 60mph in 8.4 seconds and is still rated at 70mpg, while the next up 187bhp brings the sprint down to 7.6 seconds and economy drops a fraction to 68mpg. Finally, range topping models are available with a storming twin turbo version of the same engine mated to a standard DSG automatic gearbox. It takes 5.9 seconds to go from 0 to 60mph.
Petrol models start with a 1.4-litre TSI turbo that has 123bhp. It reaches 60mph in 9.4 seconds and is capable of 52mpg.
This was replaced during production by a 1.5-litre boasting 147bhp and a 0 to 60mph time of 8.4 seconds, with economy of 53mpg. Then comes a 187bhp 1.8-litre that covers the 0 to 60mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and is capable of 47mpg.
Finally, the range tops out with a 216bhp stormer in sheep’s clothing, which reaches 60mph in 6.5 seconds and can do 44mpg.
Finally comes the GTE plug-in hybrid, which can do around 30 miles on electric power alone and is rated at 166mpg. It has a total of 214bhp and sprints the benchmark 0 to 60mph time in 7.2 seconds.
Standard drive for all models is to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox that’s light and easy to use, but many will have the VW DSG twin clutch automatic. This is one of the best autos on the market, making the changes quicker than you can do it yourself.
The Passat is quiet, refined and smooth over all surfaces, and it also handles well through the corners, with a safe feel and excellent, very informative steering. It majors on superb comfort – unless you choose the R-Line model or another with sporting suspension and larger wheels.
In these, the ride is spoiled quite markedly, so make sure to get one with the DCC adaptive suspension, which smooths things out considerably.
Practicality and Equipment
The interior is a good place to be with high quality fixtures and fittings, leather in many models and superb front seats with every which way adjustment.
The mid-range SE comes with an alarm, remote audio control, cruise, electric driver’s seat with lumbar support, climate control, traction control, parking sensors, heated mirrors, folding rear seats and alloys.
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Find your VW Passat your way with CarStore
If you need a large executive car that makes light work of covering large mileage with ease, but is also also perfect for family duties, then the VW Passat is a great used choice. It's superbly refined, economical and just a great car to live with.
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