Volkswagen Passat saloon
Price £22,215 - £35,505
- Smart new looks
- Good range of diesel engines
- More spacious than old model
- Not as classy as a BMW or Mercedes
- No petrol engine from launch
- Pricier than some rivals
At a glance
"The new Passat is well built and very spacious, although it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of driving fun as either the Ford Mondeo or the Mazda6."
This is the eighth generation of the Volkswagen Passat – a large family car that competes with models such as the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda6 and Skoda Octavia. The Passat feels better built than any of its direct rivals, which means high-specification Passats also compete with more upmarket cars such as the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series.
Passat buyers can choose between saloon and estate bodies, while a four-wheel-drive Alltrack model with raised suspension will go on sale in the summer of 2015. Despite being smaller than the old car, the new Passat offers much more interior space thanks to its wheelbase (the space between the front and rear wheels) being 79mm longer compared to the car it replaces.
The new Passat's styling is more immediately apparent: it has a lower bonnet and sleeker windscreen than the old car. Further visual changes include a more imposing four-bar chrome grille with flush-fitting headlights. SE models and upwards look classier thanks to chrome surrounds for the windows, while GT trim gets a sporty gloss-black finish. Twin-turbo 4MOTION four-wheel-drive models come with hi-tech all-LED headlights.
For now, the Volkswagen Passat is available with diesel engines only, with the range stretching from the entry-level 1.6-litre TDI to two 2.0-litre TDIs and the top-of-the-range twin-turbo 4MOTION car. That has 237bhp, four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A more frugal BlueMotion version of the 1.6-litre diesel will arrive next year, as will the GTE petrol-electric hybrid model. Our pick of the range would be the 2.0-litre 148bhp model in SE Business trim, which comes with sat nav as standard.
All Passats have a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which includes a DAB digital radio and a Bluetooth phone connection. Buyers can choose from S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-line trim levels.
Fuel economy in the Passat doesn’t drop below 60mpg, but the warranty could be more generous
The Passat is now more fun to drive and has a strong range of engines
The Volkswagen Passat’s interior feels a class above its direct rivals
A longer wheelbase means the new Passat offers more passenger space than the old car, and has a huge boot
Volkswagen will hope to improve the old Passat’s Driver Power performance, but safety should be excellent