First DriveCheapest diesel has all of the polish of its rangemates. A car of real class, although not such a rewarding one to drive.
First DriveThe all-new VW Passat has been given added polish to tempt buyers away from upmarket rivals, but the price is a bit more premium, too
What is it?
This is the VW Passat Bluemotion estate, the eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly) version of VW’s cavernous family load lugger.
The VW Passat Bluemotion estate gets a similar set of green tweaks to the Passat Bluemotion saloon.
Third fourth and fifth gears on the five-speed manual gearbox are lengthened, while a lowered cooling system, lower suspension (8mm at the rear and 15mm at the front) and improved underbody airflow help reduce drag to a Cd of 0.27.
As a result the VW Passat Bluemotion estate manages a combined fuel economy figure of 54.3mpg and emits just 137g/km of CO2.
A new common-rail version of the Passat Bluemotion is on the cards, but for now the engine is still VW’s clattery but efficient 104bhp 1.9-litre pumpe duse diesel.
What’s it like?
As a sensible (and spacious) family car, the VW Passat Bluemotion estate is a fine tool. Its performance won’t set the asphalt alight, but 104bhp and 184lb ft of torque is comfortably enough to keep the VW Passat Bluemotion estate moving along at a brisk pace.
The ride is also surprisingly comfortable and the cabin is decently refined (except for some harsh diesel-sourced vibration through the pedals and gearshift).
Inside the Passat Bluemotion estate is pretty much regular Passat, which means fine-quality materials and sensible, understated design. It really is a very relaxing environment in which to undertake long journeys.
And you can undertake very long journeys; we recorded an average of 50mpg without trying particularly hard.
The only caveat is the slightly uninspiring handling. Although the chassis is grippy and predictable, there’s little excitement to be had.
Should I buy one?
If you want a faithful, comfortable, straightforward car that will swallow the family’s clutter – and big distances – without complaint then the Passat Bluemotion estate is hard to fault. Although perhaps it would be wise to wait for the common-rail diesel engine, which promises even better efficiency and more refinement.