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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat Esate review - Interior & comfort

“The Passat’s interior feels modern and there’s lots of tech, but it’s not perfect”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Interior & comfort Rating

3.5 out of 5

Volkswagen used to be famed for its high-quality and logically laid-out interiors, but it’s widely regarded as having taken something of a backwards step in recent years. The Passat is something of a half-way house between the two eras, as measures VW is taking to address customer criticisms are starting to filter through.

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It’s a nice enough place to sit, even if it doesn’t feel as special as a car like the Mercedes C-Class Estate inside. Almost identical in design to the latest Volkswagen Tiguan’s, the dashboard is dominated by the large 12.9-inch central touchscreen, which can be upgraded to an even larger 15-inch display.

Is the Volkswagen Passat Estate infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

The Passat Estate does at least get the latest version of VW’s infotainment system, which saw the arrival of customisable shortcut widgets to make it easier to complete your most common tasks without digging through on-screen menus – we just wish they were slightly bigger. These stay anchored on the screen so they are easy to find.

Happily, the steering wheel uses physical buttons instead of the easy-to-trigger haptic touch-sensitive items, but there’s still a frustrating touch slider beneath the climate control, which is now at least back-lit to make it easier to use after dusk.

Is the Volkswagen Passat Estate well equipped?

There aren’t really any trims to avoid here, because the standard Life trim should have most of the kit families will conceivably need, from snazzy alloy wheels to large screens with a reversing camera, LED lighting, adaptive cruise control and even massaging front seats. 

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The two upgrades really just add features and make the Passat Estate a bit more desirable. Elegance increases the massage function from three ‘bubbles’ to 13 in each seat while also adding interior and exterior styling tweaks, a panoramic sunroof and an acoustics pack that makes the cabin quieter on the move. R-Line is the sporty trim, ushering in bigger (18-inch) alloys, adaptive headlights and the variable DCC suspension setup.

What options should you choose on the Volkswagen Passat Estate?

If you really care about how your car feels to drive, it’s worth adding the DCC suspension that allows for 15 different settings from soft to firm. It’s also possible to change the interior trim colour, although we’re not sure we’d recommend the lighter Pure Grey upholstery to families. A Winter Pack adds heated seats front and rear for around £700, while an opening panoramic sunroof costs £1,300. We’d probably leave the £1,700 adaptive headlights as it does seem like a lot of money for lights that dip automatically for traffic.

Key features

Life

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear-view camera
  • 12.9-inch touchscreen, 10.25-inch instruments
  • Massaging seats
  • Triple-zone climate control
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Keyless locking and start
  • Powered tailgate

Elegance

(Life plus…)

  • Sports front seats
  • Enhanced massaging seats
  • Opening panoramic sunroof
  • Acoustics pack

R-Line

(Elegance plus…)

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Black styling pack
  • Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC)
  • 30-colour ambient lighting
  • LED Matrix headlights
 
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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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