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"
- Classy, high-quality interior
- Understated style
- Massive boot
- Range-toppers expensive
- Not all safety kit is standard
- Hybrid is pricey
The four-door Volkswagen Passat has long been a classy executive saloon, and the estate version is ideal if you want a little more load-carrying flexibility. Its upmarket image means the Passat Estate occupies a middle ground between the mainstream Ford Mondeo Estate, Mazda6 Tourer and Peugeot 508 SW, while offering better value for money than the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring or Mercedes C-Class Estate.
Its biggest sales competition comes from close to home, though, in the shape of the Skoda Superb Estate. This is a rival from within the VW empire, which actually shares much of its technology with the Passat, all wrapped up in an even larger, better equipped and cheaper package than the Volkswagen. However, the Passat is liable to hold its value better than the Skoda, which is good news when it comes time to sell.
The eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat was given a facelift in 2019, which constitutes such a thorough overhaul that many have dubbed it the 'mk8.5'. It doesn't look wildly different, with redesigned bumpers and LED lights the main exterior differences, but bigger changes inside included semi-autonomous driving aids and the option of digital instruments, along with a number of mechanical changes.
Diesel engines have always been popular in the mile-munching Passat, but the range isn't what it once was. The old 118bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesel has been ditched, as has the range-topping twin-turbo 237bhp 2.0-litre with four-wheel drive. At the time of writing, your only option is a 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp, with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
There’s currently one conventional petrol option available in the Passat, which is the 1.5-litre TSI EVO. Delivering 148bhp, it uses cylinder deactivation technology to return up to 45mpg. There's also a revised Passat GTE, a petrol plug-in hybrid that now offers an electric driving range of up to 38 miles.
Our favourite all-rounder is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which has plenty of power and can return as much as 58.2mpg. It has a reasonable Benefit-in-Kind rating for company-car users, although the GTE is subject to a far lower rate in tax.
The Passat Estate can be chosen in SE Nav, SEL and R-Line trim levels, plus GTE and GTE Advance; previous S, SE Business, GT, R-Line Edition and Alltrack trims have been dropped. Our favourite is the cheapest SE Nav, as it comes with sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors, along with supportive ‘ergoComfort’ front seats. Pair this trim level with either the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol or the equally powerful 2.0-litre diesel, and the Passat is a highly accomplished family car. Company-car drivers may prefer the GTE, as its low CO2 emissions result in low 11% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) payments.
Euro NCAP awarded the Passat the full five stars in crash-testing, but it’s worth noting that Front Assist, which includes the ability to automatically perform an emergency stop if a collision is deemed imminent, wasn’t standard on the old S and BlueMotion trims. All new Passats get this tech, as well as PreCrash, which rapidly closes any open windows (including the sunroof), tightens seatbelts and prepares the brakes if a crash is imminent.
The Volkswagen Passat range finished 53rd in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which ranked the top 100 cars in the UK. It didn't feature at all in our more recent surveys.
At the end of 2021, the Volkswagen Passat saloon was discontinued, leaving the better-selling estate to go it alone. About two-thirds of Passat buyers choose the estate, and it’s still a good option if you want a smart, well-equipped estate car; it is much cheaper than the more stylish Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake.
Which Is Best?
- Name1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name1.4 TSI PHEV GTE 5dr DSG
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name2.0 TSI 272 R-Line 4MOTION 5dr DSG
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto