Volkswagen Passat Estate
"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 is among the classiest mid-size saloons you can buy 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 big-selling Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estates, as well as the Hyundai i40 Tourer, but offers more for your money than the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Estate 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 and 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.
Fresh for 2019 is the facelifted Volkswagen Passat, which constitutes such a thorough overhaul that many have dubbed it the 'mk 8.5'. 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 Passat and the latest range stretches from a 118bhp 1.6-litre to a 237bhp 2.0-litre with two turbochargers and four-wheel drive. The latter makes it very quick but rather expensive.
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 44.8mpg. There's also a revised Passat GTE, a petrol plug-in hybrid that now offers an electric driving range of up to 30 miles.
Our favourite all-rounder is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which has plenty of power and can return as much as 53.3mpg. It has a 30% Benefit-in-Kind rating for company-car users on the S and SE Business, and 31% on other models. It’s such an efficient performer that it begs the question as to why you’d settle for the far less powerful 1.6-litre TDI diesel, which is a few mpg less economical and sits in the same company-car tax bracket.
The Passat Estate can be chosen in S, SE Business, GT and R-Line trim levels, with SE Business our favourite. 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 19% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) monthly 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, isn’t standard with S and BlueMotion trims. Passats in SE Business spec and above also feature 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 a disappointing 53rd in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which ranked the top 100 cars in the UK.
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