Given the abundance of new SUVs has the estate car had its day? asks Geraldine Herbert.
What is it? Estate Cars are a hard sell in this country, we gravitate toward SUVs with their chunky styling and commanding view over practicality and space but Volkswagen’s new Passat Estate highlights just how much we are missing out on.
Who is it aimed at? If space is your key consideration than nothing comes close to the humble load-lugger and the Passat Estate is a comfortable, practical and very stylish choice.
Styling? Refreshed last year the latest incarnation is not remarkably different but nods towards the modern and the familiar. What’s new is the redesign of the front and rear bumpers, the radiator grille and the logo have all been redesigned while new LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights and tail light clusters add a sharper and more sophisticated look.
Under the Bonnet? There’s an engine for all tastes including a 2-litre 150bhp diesel, 1.5-litre 150bhp petrol as well as a 1.4-litre petrol plug-in hybrid GTE. Our R-Line estate test car was powered by the diesel version which was mated to the smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox.
What about inside? Inside it is beautifully put-together and multi-talented. The refreshed interior comes with the new MIB3 infotainment system and the all-digital instruments can be configured via the steering wheel at the touch of a button. There is also now the option of the new Travel Assist driver assistance systems which essentially combines lane-keeping assistance and active cruise control systems. While it won’t pilot you home while you catch up on some reading it will allow the car to drive itself, semi-automatically, on motorways. The 650-litre boot can more than cope with anything a family can throw at it but if you do need larger space fold down the seats and it extends to 1,780 litres.
On the Road? Designed for comfort rather than sportiness it will cruise comfortably. Still, more reassuring is just how solid it feels on the road. Beautifully refined the only interruptions are likely to come from noisy passengers.
And Safety? The Passat comes with a reassuring five-star overall rating from Euro NCAP and an impressive array of safety equipment to keep you and yours safely cocooned.
What are my options? With four trim grades, Passat, Business, Elegance and R-Line. there is a Passat estate to suit most tastes and budgets. Our R-Line test car gains a host of exterior enhancements including 18” R-Line alloy wheels and an R-Line radiator grille, front bumper, LED front fog lights and Silver Roof Rails.
Will it break the bank? Our top of the range R Line test car was priced from €41,150 but optional extras increased the price to €47,723. On a mix of urban and rural roads VW reckons it will return 5.2 litres per 100 and CO2 emissions of 141 g/km mean annual motor tax is €190. You shouldn’t fret about breaking down or costly repairs, as Volkswagen has a good reputation for building reliable cars.
Verdict? The Volkswagen Passat has been the default saloon choice for years and more than 30m have found homes since it first launched in 1973. While the saloon may be the more popular option the estate is well worth considering if you need a capacious load-lugger. It is good to drive, well equipped and beautifully finished throughout. So while SUVs and crossovers have captured the attention of many buyers the next time you try shoehorning your luggage and family essentials into the boot, roof rack and trailer spare a thought for the humble estate car.
What it says about you? You may be eminently sensible but you appreciate understated elegance
Volkswagen Passat Estate ‘R-Line’ 2.0TDI 150HP EVO DSG
Engine: 2 litre diesel 1968 cc
Max speed: 213 km
0-100: 9.1 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 135-145 (€190)
Delivery Charge: €800
Model price range from: €36,750
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.1-5.5 per 100 km
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 650(1780)
Height: 1586 mm
Wheelbase: 2786 mm
15th July 2020