£24,230 - £37,790 Price range
50 - 74 MPG
The Volkswagen Passat estate has always been considered the leader in its class and this all-new version not only reinforces that image, but tries to move the car up market. The Passat’s closest rivals, nevertheless, remain the Mazda 6 estate, Skoda Superb estate and the load carrying version of the Ford Mondeo.
Buy the new Passat estate via carwow and you can save an average of £5,880 against the list price.
The interior of the new Passat has received a lot of attention and the quality of materials you’ll find can match more up-market models such as the Mercedes C-Class. The boot is huge and is almost on a par with bigger estates such as the Mercedes E-Class.
Driving the Passat estate is not much different to any other VW – lots of grip, safe handling and a comfortable ride on longer journeys. Wind and road noise are both kept to a minimum. Engine wise, there are only diesels to choose from – the pick of the range is the 2.0-litre diesel, which is quick and cheap to run. There’s also a hybrid version, called the Passat GTE, and if you don’t want an estate car then read our Passat saloon review.
Standard equipment is plentiful including adaptive cruise control, city emergency braking and driver profile selection. Read on for our full Passat Estate review to see if it is the car for you.
Cheapest to buy: 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Diesel
Cheapest to run: 1.6-litre TDI SE Diesel
Fastest model: 2.0-litre BiTDI DSG Diesel
Most popular: 2.0-litre TDI SE Diesel
The Passat’s dashboard features a 6.5-inch touchscreen which controls most of the entertainment functions, with an 8-inch screen available as an option. One tester commends the “outstanding trim quality” while others seem almost universally in praise of it, too. We say “almost”, as one reviewer says that some plastic lower down in the cabin are not quite as you’d expect. This is the only (minor) criticism of an otherwise excellent cabin, though.
Volkswagen Passat Estate passenger space
The latest Passat sits on a platform offering an 80mm increase in wheelbase over the previous generation. This results in excellent accommodation for all passengers, offering class-leading levels of room. As one tester notes, the rear seats offer “space for three tall adults to stretch out in comfort”.
Volkswagen Passat Estate boot space
The boot is massive. The 650 litres on offer is not only 47 more than the old one, but even runs the larger Mercedes E-Class Estate very close. By folding down the split-folding rear seats, that figure expands to 1,780 litres. The load area is wide and square, making it a doddle to chuck big items in the back. There are also “sizeable storage bins in the doors and centre console” making the cabin a practical place to sit.
To help figure out if the Passat is the right size for your needs take a look at our guide to its internal and external dimensions.
Thanks to several weight saving measures, including the extensive use of aluminium in suspension components which were previously made out of steel, the new car weighs on average 85kg less than before. Trimming the equivalent of an average-sized male from the weight has had a marked effect on the driving experience. Testers comment on accurate steering, good traction and strong grip.
The ride is noted for being excellent in general, but one reviewer mentioned that it does occasionally get caught out by potholes on the larger 18-inch wheel option. Range-topping BiTDI versions get fluid-filled suspension bushings to improve ride quality further. Wind and road noise are very well isolated from the cabin, making the Passat an excellent long-distance cruiser.
One tester seems to sum up the driving experience well by describing it simply as “proficient”. Nobody ever goes as far as to say that the handling is fun, but then that isn’t the number one priority for a car like this, and it does everything else very well indeed.
At launch, all of the engines available in the Passat are diesels. The range starts with a 1.6 118hp motor, which coughs out a tiny 103g/km of carbon dioxide from its tailpipe for annual road tax of just £20. This will make it perfect for company car buyers, but the relatively low power output makes the 1.6 a little strained when the cars filled with people and luggage.
Volkswagen believes that the biggest seller will be the next model up, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, producing 148hp. This model hits 62mph from a standstill in a very reasonable 8.7 seconds, yet still delivers a claimed 68.9mpg with 109g/km of CO2 emissions. There is also a 187hp version of the same engine on offer, which adds a little extra poke without sacrificing the economy noticeably.
Sitting at the top of the range is a 2.0-litre twin-turbo, producing 237hp and a mammoth 369lb/ft of torque. Available as a four-wheel-drive only, it’ll crack 0-62 in 6.3 seconds. Despite the performance, a very reasonable CO2 figure of 140g/km keeps car tax costs low at £130 a year. All models feature stop-start tech to save fuel by switching the engine off when the car is at a standstill.
Volkswagen Passat estate Bluemotion
Volkswagen has also released figures for the super-frugal Bluemotion model. It can return fuel economy of 76.3mpg, while emissions of 95g/km mean that its 118hp diesel engine is free to tax.
New engine mounts and sound deadening materials do a great job of dampening vibrations that make it into the cabin of the Passar. All of the engines available are now impressively quiet and smooth. Most reviewers agree that you’d be hard pushed to tell that there is a diesel under the bonnet.
Two gearboxes are on offer. A six-speed manual is described as “unobtrusive” with an “agreeable lightness to the weighting”, while the seven-speed dual clutch automatic (the only option available for the twin-turbo model) is described as “smooth shifting”.
The latest Passat got a maximum five-star rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2015.
Volkswagen has squeezed all of the latest safety tech into the Passat, with options including blind spot monitoring, led headlights, a head-up display (which displays speed and sat-nav instructions onto the windscreen), and pedestrian monitoring systems.
The Passat will even take the hassle out of what is one of the most irritating aspects of modern driving. Traffic Assist is a feature that will brake, accelerate and even steer for you in traffic jams up to a speed of 25mph. It can park itself and, if you’re towing a trailer, can park that for you too thanks to an optional trailer assist system.
Even if you opt for the basic Volkswagen Passat estate S you won’t feel short changed by the levels of standard equipment – 16-inch alloy wheel, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and DAB radio are all present and correct.
Volkswagen Passat Estate SE Business
We would recommend paying a little extra for the middle-of-the-range SE Business trim. That adds 17-inch alloy wheels, which look better proportioned to the rest of the car, sat-nav and automatic cruise control that takes the strain out of long motorway slogs.
Volkswagen Passat Estate R-Line
Sitting at the top of the range is the R-Line model. It gets huge 18-inch alloy wheels, which give the car more visual purpose (at the cost of some ride comfort); three-zone climate control with separate controls for rear-seat passengers, and sporty R-Line upholstery.
One tester sums up his experience of the new Passat by noting that it is “a good deal more mature and sophisticated than its predecessor.” The latest model has built on the strengths of the previous car, and is better in almost every way, both measurable and subjective.
That it should make you think twice about more premium rivals from BMW and Mercedes is high praise indeed. It’s closest rival, the latest Mondeo doesn’t quite have the same level of quality, but slightly edges the VW in terms of driving enjoyment. Both are exceptionally closely matched though, and if you’re in the market for such a car, both should be on your shortlist.
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