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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat Estate review - Engines, drive & performance

“The Passat has a reasonable turn of speed and caters well to family buyers and those taking longer trips”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

It’s a case of evolution rather than revolution for the Passat Estate, which looks very much like Volkswagen’s more traditional estate offering next to the all-electric ID.7 Tourer. If anything, the Passat’s increase in overall length makes it even better suited to motorway cruising than before, and it’s certainly quiet on the move.

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One of its most interesting features is its optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) suspension. Rather like a car in a computer game, this lets you dial up and down the stiffness of the suspension via the touchscreen. It’s a novel idea, but in reality we found it best to keep it towards the comfort end of the spectrum, as the stiffest settings felt too firm even on smooth European roads.

Is the Volkswagen Passat Estate good to drive in town?

While a growth spurt might sound like bad news when it comes to piloting the Passat around towns and villages, we found that its good all-round visibility made it easy to place within the confines of narrow roads. A seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox is fitted as standard and the Passat has reasonably light steering, so driving it in stop and start traffic shouldn’t feel too strenuous.

Is the Volkswagen Passat Estate good to drive on long journeys?  

Absolutely. The combination of its size, slippery shape and long gears makes the Passat Estate a terrific motorway companion. The mid-range Elegance trim we tested came with extra sound deadening and double-glazed windows thanks to an optional pack, and we found it almost as quiet as the ID.7.

Is the Volkswagen Passat Estate good to drive on B-roads?

While the Passat has a reassuring feel and plenty of grip, it’s hardly a car you’d relish taking on a back road blast. The same could also be said for most of its rivals, however, with the possible exception of the BMW 3 Series Touring – the sharpest car in this class. 

Petrol models

With 148bhp and a snappy automatic gearbox, the 1.5-litre eTSI petrol engine feels well suited to urban and suburban driving, with a respectable 0-62mph time that’s only likely to feel sluggish if you’ve already become accustomed to the instant zip of an electric car.

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The mild-hybrid system boosts responsiveness by turning on the engine very quickly when you go to pull away in traffic, and it works almost imperceptibly while driving.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Volkswagen Passat Estate 1.5 eTSI

148bhp

9.2s

138mph

Diesel models

Despite the Passat Estate coming with a diesel engine in some regions, Volkswagen doesn’t appear to be offering it as an option for UK buyers. That’s a shame for long-distance drivers, and those with a large trailer or caravan to haul, but makes sense given the dwindling sales of diesel models in the UK. VW does still offer SUVs like the latest Volkswagen Tiguan with a diesel engine.

Plug-in hybrid models

While diesel is absent, there are two PHEV powertrains to pick from, badged eHybrid. Both get the same 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, albeit in different states of tune. 

Unless you get a good deal on the top version, we’d stick with the 201bhp eHybrid, which felt plenty quick enough for most driving situations during our test. If you plan on commuting on EV power, you’ll only be using the 114bhp electric motor anyway, so won’t even notice the difference in ultimate performance.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Volkswagen Passat Estate eHybrid 201bhp

201bhp

8.0s

142mph

Volkswagen Passat Estate eHybrid 268bhp

268bhp

7.4s

TBC

Electric models 

Don’t expect a fully electric version of the Passat Estate, because the engineering it’s based on isn’t compatible with a purely electric powertrain. Instead, there’s the Volkswagen ID.7 if you really want silent running, instant acceleration and zero emissions. Two battery sizes are available, with an impressive range of up to 426 miles.

Carbuyer notes

“On the move, the mild-hybrid system works away in the background and is virtually imperceptible. Cruising along, the petrol engine is pretty refined, with the ability to cut out when coasting or not under load. It’s certainly one of the smoothest MHEVs we’ve tried.” - Alastair Crooks, Senior news reporter.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI Life 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,470

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI eHybrid Life 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £44,090

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI Life 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,470

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.

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