Volkswagen’s next-generation Passat GTE plug-in hybrid revealed

So what’s this?

It’s Volkswagen‘s new Passat GTE. That’s a plug-in hybrid powertrain, crammed into the Passat saloon and estate cars.

What’s new?

Well, actually the entire Passat range is. The GTE above may be headlining the Paris Motor Show in October but it’s part of the all-new Passat range that will go on sale next year, based on the new Volkswagen MQB platform that’s slowly transforming the marque. There’ll be more details available on this “B8″ generation Passat down the line.

So what powers it?

In this instance, there’s a pair of power units. First is the conventional 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, offering up a pretty considerable 154hp. The “E” part comes from a 113hp electric motor, which can drive the car all by itself for up to 31 miles with zero emissions. The lithium ion batteries used to power the electric motor can be charged either from the mains or, in Charge mode, the petrol engine. The two will work together to develop a maximum power output of 214hp and a range of up to 620 miles from the 50-litre fuel tank – though it records up to 141mpg and 45g/km in hybrid mode.

Anything else?

The batteries will charge from 230V mains in just over four hours. Volkswagen will install an optional wall box for you that, at 3.6kW, will charge the battery in 2.5 hours – the same as at public charging stations.

How much will it cost me?

That’s almost a million dollar question. It’s a long, long way off yet – conservatively pinned for a market launch in October 2015 – and without the new Passat range even on sale yet it’s tough to say. Anticipating the new Passat to broadly take the place of the old one in the pricing structure, you should be setting aside around £38k for the saloon and £40k for the estate – though this is before the £5k government grant for such vehicles.

Any alternatives?

The Passat is the fifth application for Volkswagen’s plug-in technology, so naturally the Golf GTE – same package, but smaller, cheaper car – is a natural alternative. There’s the Audi A3 e-tron too, which is broadly the same vehicle. If you’re looking for a larger vehicle like the Passat though, the only really like-for-like alternative is the Volvo V60, which also has a plug-in hybrid model. There’s also the Toyota Auris Touring Sports, which has a conventional hybrid and better range on paper.

In a line…

An ultra-frugal family car for the real world.

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