What is it? Volkswagen has finally got serious about its Passat. It’s always seemed to lag behind the main star in the range the Golf, the popular sibling who had the best wardrobe leaving the Passat to fill the role of safe, sound and reliable older brother. It was the car of choice if you didn’t crave attention or demand a lively drive. All that changes with the launch of the eight-generation family car.
Who is it aimed at? If practicality, economy and style in a family car is what you need then the Passat Estate just might be what you are looking for.
Styling? The new Passat is elegantly designed and beautifully trimmed and now with a more angular and sharper look it sits better with VW’s more desirable line-up and with it Volkswagen have high hopes of tapping into the premium section of the market for the first time.
Under the Bonnet?Fitted to our test car was a spirited 2.0-litre, twin-turbo diesel producing 190 bhp that manages more than 60mpg with emissions of 123g/km. It also makes this estate surprisingly nippy,ably supported by a super smooth semi-automatic DSG gearbox. Engine noise is well supressed and it is only if you drive it aggressively that you will notice any engine noise at all. It comes as no surprise from Volkswagen that there are a huge range of engine choices but it is the 1.6 TDI 120bhp that will blow you away in terms of fuel economy, it returns 4 litre per 100 km or 70 miles to the gallon and has CO2 emissions of just 105g/km making it only €190 to tax. On the road it has enough performance to suit most people’s needs, going from 0 -100 in a very respectable 10.8 seconds, it has the perfect blend of performance and fuel economy. If petrol is your preference then there are two 1.4-litre engines to choose from, a 125bhp or 150 bhp which uses Volkswagen’s Active Cylinder Technology. This operates by shutting off two of the engine’s four-cylinders when not required, which means that you’ll get a lot more out of your fuel tank.
What about inside? Inside, the Passat is impressively equipped and from the leather seats to the steering wheel everything feels satisfyingly substantial. There are few if any rivals with an interior this classy. On the practical side, the longer wheelbase means there are acres of leg room both in the front and back where passengers get serious legroom without compromising the impressive boot space, which at 650 litres will swallow anything a family can throw at it.
On the Road?On the road the steering feels good, composed and enjoyable to drive and yes it could just be a bit more fun but that is not what this car is all about – behind the wheel the Passat is designed to take you hundreds of stress free miles rather than give you a roller-coaster ride on your favourite back road.
And Safety? The Passat gets a host of new safety technology including Traffic Jam Assist which makes stop-and-go driving more comfortable; Emergency Assist, which can potentially step in and stop the car if the driver becomes incapacitated; and the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking. It was also awarded the maximum five stars when tested by the EuroNCAP.
Options? There are three trims to choose from Trendline, Comfortline and Highline and the spec levels are pretty generous. Standard equipment includes Air Conditioning, a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, an electric parking brake, leather steering wheel and keyless engine. Our test car came with the range topping Highline fully loaded with extras such as 17-inch alloy wheels, Adaptive Cruise Control, leather seats, Heated front seats, electrically folding exterior mirrors, rear tinted windows and an interior chrome trim.
Economy and cost? Official figures suggest that our test car should return 4.1 litres per 100 or more than 60mpg while emissions are123g/km. The Passat Estate has a starting price of €29,225 for the 1.4-litre 125bhp TSI petrol model. Pricing for the diesel range, starts at €31,200 for the 1.6-litre 120bhp TDI version. At first glance the range does seem expensive but when compared to rivals and equipment levels it is actually quite competitive. The Opel Insignia Sports Tourer is priced from €27,595 for the 1.4 petrol and the 2.0 diesel is €29,595. The New Ford Mondeo estate has only one petrol option, their 1.5 EcoBoost at €33,670 while their 1.6 diesel starts from €32,695.
Verdict? Crossovers and SUVs may boast decent space and practicality to warrant their credentials as ideal family vehicles but if you want a proper load-lugger it is hard to beat an estate. The VW Passat Estate blends practicality with the classy style of the saloon. But the real trump card of this new Passat is the sheer quality and refinement and it gives rivals a serious run for their money but whether Volkswagen have done enough to tempt buyers away from BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz, only time will tell.
Why you’ll buy one? Refinement; Quality; Stylish looks
Why you won’t? Pricey Options;lacks premium badge
Watch our video review below (Video Filming by Kyran O’Brien)
VW Passat Estate 2.0TDI DSG 190HP ‘Highline’
Engine: 1968cc, 140 kW (190bhp) @3500 400Nm @1750
Max speed: 233km/h
0-100 kph: 7.9 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 120 g/km (€200)
Model price range: €29,975 (as tested €48,129)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.6 l/100km (61.4mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 650 litres(1,780)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2791 mm
18th February, 2015