Volkswagen Passat Review & Prices

The new Volkswagen Passat is very practical and has a high-tech interior, but long-distance drivers might miss having a diesel option

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RRP £38,500 - £51,160 Avg. Carwow saving £3,115 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£35,882
Monthly
£405*
Used
£31,495
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wowscore
8/10
Reviewed by Darren Cassey after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Uber practical
  • Comfortable motorway cruiser
  • Quality interior

What's not so good

  • Frustrating infotainment
  • No diesel
  • Just… a bit dull

Find out more about the Volkswagen Passat

Is the Volkswagen Passat a good car?

The Volkswagen Passat is back, and this time there’s no saloon option – you can only get it as a mega spacious estate. That’s no problem, though, because the Passat has always stood out for being big, practical and not quite as expensive as the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate.

It’s a bit like buying designer gear from TK Maxx – you’re getting the same sort of quality as you would from a big name store, but you don’t feel quite as posh in the process.

Not that the Passat looks like a cheap alternative. It’s always had an understated class, and that continues with the latest model – it’s perhaps not as elegant as its predecessor but it’s certainly smart enough. And if you go for the R-Line model you get a big, imposing grille up front to go with the smart full-width rear light bar that’s standard across the range.

It’s inside where Volkswagen has really taken the Passat up a notch, though. There’s a massive infotainment display in the centre of the dashboard that runs Volkswagen’s latest software. It’s a big improvement on recent VW systems, even if it is a touch annoying having to do everything through the screen.

Running behind this and into the digital instrument display is an illuminated panel that gives the Passat a cool modern look, particularly at night.

The Volkswagen Passat is really practical and comfortable to drive, but it is a bit dull

There’s buckets of space whether you’re sitting in the front or the back, and there’s loads of room for a child seat, though an SUV requires you to bend down less. With a boot capacity of 690 litres with all seats in place, or 1,920 litres if you fold the second row down, there’s huge luggage capacity and useful square space that makes it easy to load up.

Despite the Passat’s popularity with long-distance drivers, there are no diesel engines anymore. At launch you can only get a 1.5-litre petrol making 150hp, but company car buyers will be more tempted to wait for one of the two plug-in hybrid options, coming later in 2024, because of the lower benefit-in-kind rate. Both offer an excellent electric range of around 60 miles, as well as impressive charge speeds by hybrid standards.

They are a great choice if you do a lot of city driving, because the long range means you can pootle around on electric power to keep fuel bills down, but whichever engine you go for the Passat is a refined and comfortable car to cruise around in. It’s at its best on the motorway, and while you do notice a few sharper bumps in the cabin, the car settles quickly. It’s not particularly sporty though, so a BMW 3 Series Touring will be better if you want to make the most of the occasional twisty road.

Find out how much you can save by browsing the latest new Volkswagen Passat deals available on Carwow. You can also get a great price on a used Passat, or other used Volkswagen models, through our network of trusted dealers. And when it’s time to sell your car, Carwow can help with that, too.

How much is the Volkswagen Passat?

The Volkswagen Passat has a RRP range of £38,500 to £51,160. However, with Carwow you can save on average £3,115. Prices start at £35,882 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £405. The price of a used Volkswagen Passat on Carwow starts at £31,495.

Our most popular versions of the Volkswagen Passat are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.5 TSI Life 5dr DSG £35,882 Compare offers

Prices for the petrol-powered Volkswagen Passat start around £38,500, and it’s about £3,000 extra for the better-equipped Elegance model, then another £1,000 again for the top-spec, sporty R-Line.

This makes it competitively priced among other posh estates, costing less across the range than the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes E-Class Estate and Peugeot 508 SW. The only alternative that’s likely to be cheaper is the new Skoda Superb Estate, though prices have not yet been confirmed.

There are three trims available, called Life, Elegance and R-Line. Entry-level Life models get 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and that massive infotainment system inside. Step up to Elegance and you get some extra sound insulation, heated front seats and a tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof. Top-spec R-Line models get a sporty exterior design with 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as a sports suspension setup, drive mode selection and sports seats. Most of the upgraded kit is available on lower trims as part of optional equipment packages so you can pick and choose if you want.

Performance and drive comfort

The Volkswagen Passat is comfortable and quiet at higher speeds, but it’s not much fun on a twisty road

In town

The Volkswagen Passat was always a big car, but with the latest one being even bigger, it’s mildly intimidating to drive around town, and you don’t have the advantage of a high driving position improving visibility like you would in a big SUV. However, to make up for this, the Passat’s steering is pretty light, so it doesn’t feel at all cumbersome.

You’ll barely notice lumps and bumps in the road thanks to the soft suspension, which means you won’t wince if you hit a pothole and negotiating speed bumps won’t have you making a detour for the nearest chiropractor.

All cars have a reversing camera so you don’t have to worry about judging just how far back the car goes, and a system that automatically parks the car is also standard fit. This includes a ‘memory’ feature, so if you have an awkward manoeuvre to park up at home or work you can ask the car to remember the movements and do it for you in the future.

On the motorway

The Volkswagen Passat’s natural habitat is cruising along at 70mph on the motorway. The suspension is soft so most bumps pass by like minor ripples in the road surface, and there’s little wind and road noise to contend with. Some sharper edges can send a thud through the cabin, but impressively for a comfort-focused car the suspension recovers quickly – there’s no wobbling around.

Continuing the Passat’s impressive list of standard equipment is the inclusion of adaptive cruise control, which will maintain your distance to the car in front in traffic. This can also work with the lane-keeping system to automatically nudge the steering to keep you centred in your lane – though you can turn this off if you don’t like it.

On a twisty road

The Passat shouldn’t be top of your shopping list if you’re after a practical estate that can also put a smile on your face when you find yourself on a winding country road. That light steering means it can be tricky to judge your inputs when going through a corner quickly. And the soft suspension means all bumps in the road surface are well filtered out, so you don’t get much feedback about how much grip you have. It’s perfectly capable of going round a corner quite quickly, but there’s an almost video game-like level of detachment. If you want to enjoy a twisty road, the BMW 3 Series Touring is a more enjoyable choice.

Space and practicality

There’s buckets of space throughout the Passat, but it’s low to the ground so getting kids in the back can be tricky

The Volkswagen Passat is quite a big car, so those in the front seats will find they have plenty of space to stretch out. Coupled with the fact there’s a lot of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat, and it’s easy to get a comfortable driving position.

Practicality is also a plus point, with big door bins, a deep armrest cubby hole and a covered area that’s good for storing your phone away from prying eyes. This space is also home to a pair of USB-C slots, while a 12V socket is under the armrest.

Space in the back seats

There’s loads of room in the back of the Passat. Even taller passengers will find plenty of headroom and legroom. Those in the outer seats might find their hair brushes the roof with three across the back, as they’re forced to the edge of the seat a bit, but at least there’s room for more feet in the footwell because the middle passenger has to straddle a large transmission tunnel.

All of that space means it’s easy to fit a child seat without having to force the person in front to push their seat forward, and the ISOFIX mounting points are under flip up covers so you won’t lose them. The downside is that the Passat is quite low to the ground, so it’s trickier to get a child in than it would be in an SUV.

Practicality is, again, pretty good though. There’s a pouch in the seat back and the door bins are smaller than in the front but still able to take a small water bottle. The centre armrest folds down to reveal a phone holder to make it easy to watch movies on the go, and a couple of cupholders, though larger bottles won’t fit.

Boot space

Luggage capacity is the Volkswagen Passat’s trump card. With 690 litres of space, it has considerably more boot space than any similarly priced alternatives, which all hover around the 500-litre mark. All except the new Skoda Superb Estate, which is built on the same underpinnings as the Passat and has identical boot capacity.

The Passat’s boot is not just big, it’s also a good square shape, which means it’s easy to pack bulky items in. There’s also no lip and the bumper sits low to the ground, so you won’t struggle to lift heavy items in and out. You also get some good underfloor storage for lesser-used items, which is also a useful place to keep the charging cables in the hybrid.

You fold the seats using levers in the top of the seat, which makes them ping down so you don’t need to go round and push them, and they lie pretty flat so you can push heavy objects through easily. This opens up 1,920 litres of space, which is, again, the same as the Superb but more than its alternatives manage.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Passat’s interior has a posh ambience, but the infotainment system is clunky

Drop down into the comfortable front seats of the Volkswagen Passat and you will be impressed by how posh and upmarket the interior feels. There are squidgy plastics on all the stuff you regularly touch, with a few cheaper materials relegated to lower in the cabin.

The design isn’t as sophisticated as an Audi or BMW, nor as cool and quirky as a Peugeot 508 SW, but there are some neat touches. For example, the dashboard features an illuminated panel that runs behind the infotainment screen and into the digital instrument cluster, which is particularly swish.

Speaking of which, the 12.9-inch infotainment screen dominates the dashboard. Volkswagens of recent years have had pretty terrible infotainment software, which is typically glitchy and unintuitive to use. However, the latest version is much better, with snappier responses to your touch and menus that are more logically laid out. You also get proper buttons on the steering wheel, instead of the infuriating touch-sensitive panel used in cars such as the ID3.

However, Volkswagen hasn’t fully shaken loose its ergonomic woes. For example, some features that should be close at hand are anything but; changing the drive mode through the touchscreen is a clunky, distracting process.

If you’re willing to learn to live with these frustrations, or learn the button press routines you regularly use, then the Volkswagen Passat is a lovely, comfortable place to eat up big miles.

MPG, emissions and tax

There are three engine choices in the Volkswagen Passat, made up of a single petrol and two plug-in hybrids.

At launch you can only get the petrol. It’s a 1.5-litre unit making 150hp, and despite looking like not a lot of engine for quite a big, heavy car, there’s enough performance on hand for general driving situations. Economy is good for a big car too, at up to 51.8mpg in official tests.

The pair of plug-in hybrids will be of particular interest to company car buyers, because they will incur the lowest benefit-in-kind rates. Both have an impressive all-electric range of around 60 miles, and can charge at up to 50kW at a public chargepoint, which is fast for a hybrid.

If you want the best economy though, you’ll want the lower-powered option. It makes a combined 204hp, compared with 272hp for the upgraded version. Official figures haven’t been confirmed yet, but that long range means they’ll be mighty impressive – assuming you can keep the battery regularly topped up.

Vehicle Excise Duty is on the lower side for the petrol thanks to its CO2 emission rating of 124g/km, though the plug-in hybrids should be much cheaper here too.

Safety and security

The Volkswagen Passat has not yet been safety tested by Euro NCAP. However, you can expect a strong showing, as all but one of the eight cars Volkswagen has put through the test since 2022 has scored full marks.

Most of the assistance kit available for the car comes as standard, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic parking and a system to help avoid oncoming vehicles. Progressive steering, which makes the steering lighter at low speeds and less sensitive at high speeds, is standard on R-Line models but an optional extra across the other trims. It’s the same story with the driving modes, which allow you to alter the car’s characteristics to be more sporty, comfortable or economy-focused.

Reliability and problems

With this being a new model, it’s not clear how reliable the Passat will be, though it does use tried and tested parts that have been used across various Volkswagen brands. The company has suffered in recent years with its glitchy infotainment system, so that’s something to keep an eye out for despite the fact the Passat runs the latest updated software.

Volkswagen offers one of the more basic warranties among car manufacturers in the UK. You get three years of cover, with the first two years covering unlimited mileage, but a cap of 60,000 miles being put on the final year. This is the same as you get with Audi and Skoda, while Mercedes offers unlimited mileage over the same time frame.

Buy or lease the Volkswagen Passat at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £38,500 - £51,160 Avg. Carwow saving £3,115 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£35,882
Monthly
£405*
Used
£31,495
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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