In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat saloon

“The Volkswagen Passat has a quality feel and offers lots of space, but the Mazda6 is better to drive”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£25,080 - £40,335

Pros

  • Plenty of space inside
  • Low running costs
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • Unexciting styling
  • Pricier than some rivals
  • Plug-in hybrid expensive

The Volkswagen Passat saloon is now in its eighth generation, so it's a finely honed car. The latest version was heavily updated in 2019. Times have changed and sales in this market sector aren't as strong as they once were – rivals like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda6 and Skoda Superb are all facing pressure from executive models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, along with booming SUV sales. Ford has confirmed that the Mondeo won't be replaced after the current model as a result. 

Top 10 best saloon cars 2021

When buying a Passat, there’s certainly no shortage of choice, with a saloon and estate model and a host of engines and trim levels, including a plug-in hybrid model. The Passat is actually shorter than the previous model but the front and rear wheels have been pushed further apart to create more interior room for passengers.

It might feel like a relatively conservative choice, but the Passat looks modern and somewhat imposing thanks to its low and wide bonnet, four-bar chrome grille and purposeful headlights, which now consist of powerful LEDs across the range. The Passat’s face is shared with the rest of the VW range, but it works particularly well here, giving the car a classy look. SEL models look slightly more expensive thanks to chrome embellishments and tinted windows, while the R-Line gets a sporty styling makeover.

When it was launched, the Passat was sold only with diesel engines but now there's a 1.5-litre petrol with 148bhp. A 2.0-litre petrol engine was available for a time but was subsequently discontinued.

Plug-in hybrid GTE and GTE Advance models are also available, combining a 1.4-litre petrol with an electric motor and battery pack for claimed fuel-economy figures of over 250mpg while emitting under 30g/km of CO2. It’s worth noting that many drivers won't match these economy figures in real life, as frequent battery charges and short journeys would be required. The GTE trim is considerably more expensive to buy than the 2.0-litre TDI diesel, which is capable of impressive fuel economy and a very decent turn of speed in its own right, especially in its more powerful forms.

Buyers can currently choose from SE Nav, SEL, R-line trims, along with two trims for the plug-in-hybrid model called GTE and GTE Advance. Every model features a touchscreen infotainment system, which includes DAB radio, a Bluetooth phone connection, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, our pick of the range for a blend of performance and economy while remaining cost-effective is the 2.0-litre 148bhp EVO diesel model in SE Nav trim. The 1.5-litre 148bhp TSI petrol is a great alternative, returning around 46mpg thanks to its cylinder-deactivation technology.

The Passat features USB, AV and twin SD sockets, plus Apple and Android connectivity, and allows you to control messaging, media and navigation apps using Siri and Google Now voice recognition. It's built to exacting standards out of first-rate materials and finished 54th out of the 75 cars ranked in 2019, but failed to feature in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. Safety is also guaranteed thanks to a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP.

While not the most inspiring car to drive on a back road, the Passat puts you at ease behind the wheel and is in its element on long motorway journeys.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,080

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 TSI PHEV GTE 4dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £37,440

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 BiTDI SCR 240 R Line 4MOTION 4dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,335

Recommended

Kia EV6 hatchback review
2021 Kia EV6
Kia EV6
20 Oct 2021

Kia EV6 hatchback review

New 2021 Kia Ceed prices revealed
Kia Ceeed facelift drive front 3/4 tracking
Kia Ceed
18 Oct 2021

New 2021 Kia Ceed prices revealed

Top 10 best small SUVs 2021
Best Small SUVS - Renault Captur
Small SUVs
18 Oct 2021

Top 10 best small SUVs 2021

New Tesla Model Y on sale in the UK priced from £54,990
2022 Tesla Model Y SUV
Tesla Model Y
15 Oct 2021

New Tesla Model Y on sale in the UK priced from £54,990

Most Popular

What is AdBlue?
What is adblue?
Tips and advice
18 Oct 2021

What is AdBlue?

Top 10 best company cars 2021
Hyundai Ioniq 5 front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
14 Oct 2021

Top 10 best company cars 2021

Genesis GV80 SUV review
Genesis GV80 SUV
Genesis GV80
19 Oct 2021

Genesis GV80 SUV review

More on Passat

Volkswagen Passat saloon (2011-2014)
Volkswagen Passat saloon
5 Mar 2014

Volkswagen Passat saloon (2011-2014)

"The Volkswagen Passat is a high quality saloon that makes a comfortable and relaxing motorway cruiser."
Volkswagen Passat estate (2011-2014)
Volkswagen Passat Estate
9 Jan 2014

Volkswagen Passat estate (2011-2014)

"The Volkswagen Passat estate is as comfortable and luxurious as the saloon, but with a bigger boot and a more practical interior."
New Volkswagen Passat models launched
Volkswagen Passat saloon
2 Jan 2014

New Volkswagen Passat models launched

The Volkswagen Passat is available in two new trim levels for 2014
Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estate (2012-2014)
Volkswagen Passat Estate
22 Nov 2013

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estate (2012-2014)

"The Passat Alltrack is a four-wheel drive alternative to the usual large SUVs; and it's a good one too."
Volkswagen Passat estate (2005-2011)
Volkswagen Passat Estate
18 Jul 2013

Volkswagen Passat estate (2005-2011)

"The Passat Estate isn’t the most spacious model in the family estate sector, but it has a large, square boot, an easy-to-fold rear seat and a variety…
Volkswagen Passat saloon (2005-2011)
Volkswagen Passat saloon
28 Jun 2013

Volkswagen Passat saloon (2005-2011)

"The VW Passat is good to drive, refined and spacious, and adds a dash of class to the family car market."
Volkswagen Passat R-Line revealed
Volkswagen Passat R-Line saloon 2013 front quarter
Volkswagen Passat saloon
14 May 2013

Volkswagen Passat R-Line revealed

The VW Passat R-Line is available to order now with a new 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Ioniq 5
Best cars
20 Oct 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks