In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat saloon review (2014-2021)

“The Volkswagen Passat has a quality feel and offers lots of space, but the Mazda6 is better to drive”

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Plenty of space inside
  • Low running costs
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • Unexciting styling
  • Pricier than some rivals
  • Plug-in hybrid expensive

The Volkswagen Passat saloon is now in its eighth generation, so it's a finely honed car. The latest version was heavily updated in 2019. Times have changed and sales in this market sector aren't as strong as they once were – rivals like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda6 and Skoda Superb are all facing pressure from executive models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, along with booming SUV sales. Ford has confirmed that the Mondeo won't be replaced after the current model as a result. 

The best saloon cars 2023Top 10 best saloon cars

When buying a Passat, there’s certainly no shortage of choice, with a saloon and estate model and a host of engines and trim levels, including a plug-in hybrid model. The Passat is actually shorter than the previous model but the front and rear wheels have been pushed further apart to create more interior room for passengers.

It might feel like a relatively conservative choice, but the Passat looks modern and somewhat imposing thanks to its low and wide bonnet, four-bar chrome grille and purposeful headlights, which now consist of powerful LEDs across the range. The Passat’s face is shared with the rest of the VW range, but it works particularly well here, giving the car a classy look. SEL models look slightly more expensive thanks to chrome embellishments and tinted windows, while the R-Line gets a sporty styling makeover.

When it was launched, the Passat was sold only with diesel engines but now there's a 1.5-litre petrol with 148bhp. A 2.0-litre petrol engine was available for a time but was subsequently discontinued.

Plug-in hybrid GTE and GTE Advance models are also available, combining a 1.4-litre petrol with an electric motor and battery pack for claimed fuel-economy figures of over 250mpg while emitting under 30g/km of CO2. It’s worth noting that many drivers won't match these economy figures in real life, as frequent battery charges and short journeys would be required. The GTE trim is considerably more expensive to buy than the 2.0-litre TDI diesel, which is capable of impressive fuel economy and a very decent turn of speed in its own right, especially in its more powerful forms.

Buyers can currently choose from SE Nav, SEL, R-line trims, along with two trims for the plug-in-hybrid model called GTE and GTE Advance. Every model features a touchscreen infotainment system, which includes DAB radio, a Bluetooth phone connection, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, our pick of the range for a blend of performance and economy while remaining cost-effective is the 2.0-litre 148bhp EVO diesel model in SE Nav trim. The 1.5-litre 148bhp TSI petrol is a great alternative, returning around 46mpg thanks to its cylinder-deactivation technology.

The Passat features USB, AV and twin SD sockets, plus Apple and Android connectivity, and allows you to control messaging, media and navigation apps using Siri and Google Now voice recognition. It's built to exacting standards out of first-rate materials and finished 54th out of the 75 cars ranked in 2019, but failed to feature in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. Safety is also guaranteed thanks to a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP.

While not the most inspiring car to drive on a back road, the Passat puts you at ease behind the wheel and is in its element on long motorway journeys.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,080

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 TSI PHEV GTE 4dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,315

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 BiTDI SCR 240 R-Line 4MOTION 4dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,335

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

Recommended

Kia EV6 review - one of the best EVs on sale
Kia EV6
In-depth reviews
15 Feb 2024

Kia EV6 review - one of the best EVs on sale

New Renault Captur facelift to bring sharper styling to the popular small SUV
Renault Captur render front quarter
News
1 Feb 2024

New Renault Captur facelift to bring sharper styling to the popular small SUV

Volkswagen’s value-focused Match trim returns, bringing more equipment at a lower cost
Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match
News
30 Jan 2024

Volkswagen’s value-focused Match trim returns, bringing more equipment at a lower cost

Sleek new Volkswagen Passat to start from £38k
New Volkswagen Passat
News
25 Jan 2024

Sleek new Volkswagen Passat to start from £38k

Most Popular

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month
cupra ateca
Deals
16 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

More on Passat

Sleek new Volkswagen Passat to start from £38k
New Volkswagen Passat
News
25 Jan 2024

Sleek new Volkswagen Passat to start from £38k

The next-generation Volkswagen Passat is now available to order as an estate-only premium family car
Top 10 best large family cars 2023
best large family cars
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best large family cars 2023

If you need space, pace and low running costs, check out our top picks for the best large family cars
Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2024
The best used hybrid cars 2023
Best cars
15 Dec 2023

Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2024

Read our guide to see the best used hybrid cars available to buy right now
Top 3 used diesel commuter cars for £15,000
Hero
Tips and advice
18 Mar 2022

Top 3 used diesel commuter cars for £15,000

Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for an economical diesel saloon for my everyday commute - what is out there for £15,000?
Volkswagen Passat Estate review
Volkswagen Passat Estate driving
In-depth reviews
7 Jan 2022

Volkswagen Passat Estate review

"The Volkswagen Passat Estate is a consummate all-rounder. Refined, relaxing and with an upmarket interior, it also manages to be hugely practical"
Top 3 used plug-in hybrid family cars for £20,000
Tips and advice
5 Jun 2020

Top 3 used plug-in hybrid family cars for £20,000

“Dear Carbuyer, I’ve got £20,000 to spend on a family car, and I want a plug-in hybrid. What would you recommend?”
Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate
In-depth reviews
30 Apr 2020

Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

“The Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate impresses with a smooth drive and low running costs”
Volkswagen Passat 2019 facelift prices announced
2019 Volkswagen Passat front driving
News
9 Sep 2019

Volkswagen Passat 2019 facelift prices announced

The updated Volkswagen Passat starts from £25,370 in SE trim and £36,390 for the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid
Sporty VW Passat R-Line Edition version announced
VW Passat Estate R-Line Edition front
News
1 Mar 2019

Sporty VW Passat R-Line Edition version announced

VW has revealed a limited-edition Passat with sporty looks and plenty of tech
2019 Volkswagen Passat on the way
News
6 Dec 2018

2019 Volkswagen Passat on the way

2019 Volkswagen Passat spied during testing
Top 3 used estates for £15,000
Tips and advice
21 Sep 2018

Top 3 used estates for £15,000

"Dear Carbuyer, I need a roomy, comfy car that can carry my family and dogs. Which estate should I buy for £15,000?"
Top 3 plug-in hybrid family cars for £26k
Tips and advice
30 Aug 2018

Top 3 plug-in hybrid family cars for £26k

"Dear Carbuyer; I want to replace our diesel family car with a practical plug-in hybrid, and have £26k to spend. What would you recommend?"
Volkswagen Passat GTE (2015-2018)
In-depth reviews
2 May 2018

Volkswagen Passat GTE (2015-2018)

"The Volkswagen Passat GTE is one of the most interesting versions of the car, but a steep price tag makes it a specialist choice"
Used Volkswagen Passat buying guide: 2010-2015 (Mk7)
Volkswagen Passat
10 Oct 2016

Used Volkswagen Passat buying guide: 2010-2015 (Mk7)

Classy saloon is economical, spacious and good to drive
Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estate (2015-2020)
VW Passat Alltrack
In-depth reviews
5 Apr 2016

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estate (2015-2020)

“It’ll be a niche choice, but as a classy, comfortably and high-quality family estate with a bit of off-road ability, the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack m…
Volvo XC90 crowned Auto Express Car of the Year
News
30 Jun 2015

Volvo XC90 crowned Auto Express Car of the Year

The new Volvo XC90 fought off strong opposition to be named Car of the Year and Best Large SUV.
New VW Passat Alltrack announced at Geneva
Volkswagen Passat Estate
3 Mar 2015

New VW Passat Alltrack announced at Geneva

VW 4x4 estate will compete with Audi A4 Allroad and Skoda Octavia Scout
Ford Mondeo value outpaces BMW, Audi, VW
Ford Mondeo hatchback
25 Nov 2014

Ford Mondeo value outpaces BMW, Audi, VW

The new Ford Mondeo will be worth more on the used market than posh rivals
Last chance to buy: Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat saloon
3 Nov 2014

Last chance to buy: Volkswagen Passat

We take a look at the discounts available on VW's outgoing Passat model
Volkswagen Passat 2015: price, release date, and specs
News
2 Oct 2014

Volkswagen Passat 2015: price, release date, and specs

Prices for the new Volkswagen Passat start at £22,215
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack unveiled
News
24 Sep 2014

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack unveiled

Four-wheel drive, increased ground clearance and SUV styling touches for Golf estate
Volkswagen Passat saloon (2011-2014)
In-depth reviews
5 Mar 2014

Volkswagen Passat saloon (2011-2014)

"The Volkswagen Passat is a high quality saloon that makes a comfortable and relaxing motorway cruiser."
Volkswagen Passat estate (2011-2014)
In-depth reviews
9 Jan 2014

Volkswagen Passat estate (2011-2014)

"The Volkswagen Passat estate is as comfortable and luxurious as the saloon, but with a bigger boot and a more practical interior."

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024