Volkswagen Passat Estate - Interior & comfort
Every model is decently equipped, making the Volkswagen Passat Estate a luxurious but practical place to be
There are no visual surprises inside the Passat Estate, with the vast majority of equipment being shared with other VW Group products, so everything looks familiar. If you’ve sat in one of the latest VW Group cars, including the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf or SEAT Leon, you’ll know that quality is a big Passat plus point. In fact, it’s a notable step-up in tactile feel and material standards compared to the likes of the Ford Mondeo Estate and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer – and it’s not far short of more expensive premium rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant.
Everything feels very well put together and the plastics are soft to the touch. A modern air is lent by a large eight-inch touchscreen that comes as standard. If you like, you can add a high-tech touch by opting to replace the conventional dashboard instruments with a 12.3-inch Active Info Display.
Volkswagen Passat Estate dashboard
Like all Volkswagen Group products, the Passat Estate features high-quality, well laid-out controls. Everything you touch feels first-rate. The colour touchscreen works well and pairs with your smartphone using the MirrorLink system, but the larger eight-inch version is even nicer to use. The climate control and stereo controls come straight from the more affordable VW Golf, but that’s no bad thing, as they feel solid and durable. As mentioned above, buyers can replace the conventional dials behind the steering wheel with a crystal-clear 12.3-inch Active Info Display, just like the one featured in several models across the Audi range. This allows drivers to view things such as a sat-nav map, stereo display, trip computer and speed readouts right in front of them. It's available as an option on all models, but comes as standard on GT, R-Line and GTE Advance trims.
Volkswagen has tried to inject a bit of style into the Passat’s passenger compartment, and this is seen in a full-width air vent running across the top of the dashboard. It’s only interrupted by a central analogue clock placed high on the centre console.
All Passat Estate models are well equipped. The entry-level S model includes a DAB radio, an eight-inch touchscreen and a Bluetooth phone connection. This model also includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather multifunction steering wheel and misfuelling prevention (to stop you putting petrol in your diesel-engined car). The name of the SE Business hints at its appeal to company-car drivers, but it’s also our favourite Passat package for the family. It brings sat nav and adaptive cruise control, as well as tinted rear windows and electrically folding wing mirrors.
The GT trim level is rather lavish, with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated suede-style seats a panoramic sunroof. If you’d like a Volkswagen Passat with a sporty edge, go for the R-Line car; it comes with a bodykit and special exhausts. Both the GT and R-Line come with the 12.3-inch Active Info Display as standard.
Plug-in hybrid GTE models get a unique instrument cluster, while the top GTE Advance trim is the only Passat Estate fitted with an upgraded 9.2-inch infotainment system as standard.
The Passat Estate is offered with a range of optional extras, from bigger dashboard screens to pedestrian protection systems. Internet connectivity is available, too, with access to live traffic data, news and weather via the car's colour touchscreen infotainment system.
If you choose the GT or R-Line model, their 18-inch alloy wheels do add a brittle edge to the ride, but an optional Dynamic Chassis Control system is available to make things smoother. Predictive pedestrian protection is also available. This system scans the road ahead and can perform a full emergency stop if necessary, with no input from the driver. Traffic-jam assistance (which can brake, accelerate and steer autonomously in stop-start traffic) is on the options list, as is trailer assistance, which helps owners manoeuvre by automatically steering at low speeds.
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