What is it?
The Passat is the consummate estate. When Volkswagen signed off the seventh-generation car in 2011, we were happy to give it a worthy four stars and second billing to the Mondeo. The reason the Ford takes top honours for us is that it offers more of a driving experience than the smooth-riding Volkswagen.
Little has happened since, apart from VW introducing this Highline spec (for both estates and saloons) in place of SE, which bows out as the Passat’s best-selling trim option.
What is it like?
However, VW believes that it can entice more patrons to the range with the new Highline since it will be more generously equipped than the SE. Included as standard is a touchscreen sat-nav, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and DAB plus Bluetooth connectivity. VW says that the extras work out to be worth £1680, but the new Highline commands just £500 over the SE.
For a car of its size and weight, the diesel BlueMotion Technology offers pretty remarkable economy. However, the new Mazda 6, with its SkyActiv tech, could well equal or better the VW’s impressive ecological credentials when it’s road tested in the UK early this year. The Japanese car also promises to be dynamically more entertaining than the Passat.
Should I buy one?
Clearly, VW knows how to build sporty cars, but the priority with its practical estate is to ensure that it’s a refined and comfortable cruiser. The welcome extra kit in the new Highline model just makes it an even more comfortable place in which to cocoon yourself on Britain’s broken roads.
Volkswagen Passat Highline 2.0 TDI 140 DSG estate
Price £26,045; Top speed 131mph; 0-62mph 9.8sec; Economy 54.3mpg (combined); CO2 135g/km; Kerb weight 1601kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 138bhp at 4200rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch auto