What is it?

This is the fuel-saving champion of the Passat range, the BlueMotion 1.6 TDI. Volkswagen has muddied the azure waters of its BlueMotion ethos by adding BlueMotion Technology-badged vehicles to its line-up in recent months. These are cars which have adopted certain fuel-saving technologies without going the whole eco-hog, but it has perhaps made it less clear which versions of each car are in fact the most economical. Of the 24 variants in the current Passat line-up, 15 of them carry the BlueMotion Technology badge, but only one car – this one – is actually defined as a BlueMotion model.

And this 1.6-litre TDI-engined sub-premium mid-sized saloon comes with some pretty impressive headline numbers, with an official combined economy figure of 69mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km. Whether you’re a private buyer or choosing from a company car list, those numbers aren’t to be sniffed at.

What’s it like

Well, it’s certainly economical, and some of the numbers displayed on the trip computer beggar belief at times. How about a projected 915-mile range after a fill up? Or a claimed 71.8mpg at the end of a 36-mile motorway and urban commute? Most impressively, a genuine 58mpg on a drive from southwest London to Sheffield without even trying, with the gauge still reading well over half full with 440 miles’ worth of diesel left in the tank at the end of the 406-mile round trip. And our car only had 2000 miles showing on its odometer. There are without doubt even more impressive figures to come once the engine has more miles under its belt.

Even as it is, this is a refined and relaxed motorway cruiser. It’s not fast by any means – far from it – but the Passat BlueMotion is more than capable of keeping up with the motorway flow. And neither is its ride or refinement badly compromised in the name of frugality. The ride is a little lumpier and noisier over some surfaces than other Passats elsewhere in the range, but the difference is so minor as to be a perfectly acceptable trade-off.

This is, however, not a car entirely immune to criticism, and almost all of this can be pointed at the engine’s performance, or lack of it. For while VW’s 104bhp 1.6 TDI motor is clearly an economical powerplant, it’s asking a lot of it to haul a 1505kg saloon around in anything other than a sedate and orderly fashion.

Enthusiastic drivers will perhaps quickly tire of chasing ever-more improbable numbers on the dash display, and find themselves wanting just a little more in the way of straight-line performance and overtaking ability at least every now and then.

Should I buy one?

Possibly. This is without doubt an impressively refined, solidly well executed and astonishingly economical saloon. But you’ll need to be sure that the compromises you’re embracing in the name of saving fuel, money and the planet aren’t going to start to grate after a while, namely the absence of any significant punch from the engine.

If you regularly carry a car full of passengers and their luggage over any distance, then the Passat BlueMotion’s lack of performance might be an issue. By way of comparison, the £21,355 Passat 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology offers a more powerful and flexible 138bhp and 236lb ft, and yet still delivers an impressive official combined economy figure of 61.4mpg allied to 119g/km of CO2.

Alternatively, the smaller Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI five-door uses exactly the same engine as the Passat BlueMotion but weighs 191kg less (about the same as two passengers and their luggage). As a result, it offers better straight-line performance than the Passat BlueMotion, but it returns even better economy (74.3mpg combined) and emits even less CO2 (99g/km). And it’s cheaper, too, at just £19,430.

Tim Dickson

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion 1.6 TDI 105

Price; £20,285 (price as tested £22,585); 0-62mph: 12.2sec; Top speed: 123mph; Kerb weight: 1505kg; Economy: 69mpg (combined); CO2: 109g/km; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Max power: 104bhp at 4400rpm; Max torque: 184lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
26

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

The only piece of information that wasn't in the report was what the car returned driving it normally on a 36 mile motorway and urban route - the sort of journey it will do in real life.

It really does seem a down size too far for this car but hey if that's what gets the right numbers in the fuel consumption tests, that's what they need to do. Back to the real world.......

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

I'd love to see how this 105bhp version of the 1.6 diesel would perform in the Polo. Especially in Bluemotion form.

In fact, there are plenty of instances when manufacturers could put a higher powered diesel engine into its superminis as well as the Polo (and its twins). The Fiesta and Mazda2 aren't available with the 1.6TDCi 110, which seems ridiculous.

The Corsa is the only mainstream exception that I can think of, with it's availability of a 130bhp 1.7CDTi. It seems like a great idea, because there's loads of power and torque in a light car, which makes for a very economical and quick little car. I would like to drive one. I'd much prefer to drive the new VXR Nurburgring Edition Corsa though.

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

Fidji wrote:
The Corsa is the only mainstream exception that I can think of, with it's availability of a 130bhp 1.7CDTi

What about the Seat Ibiza 2.0 TDI FR with 141bhp?

I think the Fiat Grande Punto is still available with the 1.6 multijet 120ps engine as well.

What if the hokey-cokey really is what it's all about?

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

5cylinder wrote:
What about the Seat Ibiza 2.0 TDI FR with 141bhp

Well remembered; I didn't think about that. The 170bhp version would be even better in a car the size of an Ibiza.

5cylinder wrote:
I think the Fiat Grande Punto is still available with the 1.6 multijet 120ps engine as well

I did think of that one, and thinking about it, I believe you can get an equivalent MiTo.

What surprises me is that the market for hot diesel superminis is so sparse. Manufacturers have the engines and the cars for the job, and the fact that the cars are smaller aids performance, economy, running costs, usability and cost. There's a big open window awaiting most mainstream carmakers, and it seems ridiculous that these gaps are being left unfilled.

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

I'm surprised that Skoda never replaced the Fabia vRS diesel - that sold really well, didn't it?

And it came with a 'proper' gearbox!

What if the hokey-cokey really is what it's all about?

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

5cylinder wrote:

I'm surprised that Skoda never replaced the Fabia vRS diesel - that sold really well, didn't it?

And it came with a 'proper' gearbox!

It did sell very well indeed. It would have done even better if it had the 150bhp version of the 1.9TDI instead of the 130bhp version.

Again, a manual gearbox is much better than a DSG. Especially on a small car like this. The Skoda version of this small hot hatch should be there to save money, and a proper manual would knock about a grand off the price, as well as making the car much more enjoyable to drive. Still, it's good that they're making a Fabia vRS estate. I'm not surprised that they ditched the Fabia saloon; it was a flop here in the UK. It did sell very well elsewhere, as do most saloon versions of small cars.

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

Fidji wrote:
It did sell very well indeed. It would have done even better if it had the 150bhp version of the 1.9TDI instead of the 130bhp version.

I doubt it.

If you remember (not many people will) Seat did a Cupra version of the Ibiza based on the 150 engine (it was actually a 160). Didn't sell that well. Wasn't that economical either.

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

LateKnight wrote:

Fidji wrote:
It did sell very well indeed. It would have done even better if it had the 150bhp version of the 1.9TDI instead of the 130bhp version.

I doubt it.

If you remember (not many people will) Seat did a Cupra version of the Ibiza based on the 150 engine (it was actually a 160). Didn't sell that well. Wasn't that economical either.

I think that the 2.0 TDI 170 in the current Ibiza would be better than the 1.9 TDI 160 in the old Ibiza.

As Harry Hill says, there's only one way to find out... Get Seat to put it into production.

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

Perhaps I am off topic here, but I have to admit that I find driving small block diesel engines a bit miserable generally speaking. I hired a Nissan Qashqai 1.5 litre turbodiesel and drove it from Milan airport to the ski resort and it was fine on the motorway but really struggled as we got into the hills. As it was dark, it was all too easy to come ito the corners in too high a gear, come off boost and then struggle round the corner at crawling speed. It didn't feel much better in a lower gear as diesels hate revs. A friend following in a 1.4 litre (petrol) Clio had no such problems and couldn't work out why I was driving so slowly. It is difficult to believe that the VW Passat would be any better, as it is 100kg heavier...

On a similar note, I can certainly understand why there aren't more diesel hot and warm hatches on the market. Presumably, there is a lack of demand, as petrol heads tend to worry less about the cost of their miles and are more concerned about enjoyment. On that note, diesel engines fall down. They are heavier than their petrol counterparts, so handle less well...typically a 100kg+ penalty, a bit like having a fat mate strapped to your bonnet. Their inability to rev past 4,500 rpm also spoils some of the fun, as does the lack of aural stimulation. In addition, they produce a lot of torque. Bearing in mind that most hot hatches are front wheel drive, this produces terrible torque steer.

So, while a hot diesel hatch may look attractive on paper, the reality is rather less enjoyable...

Re: Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI

2 years 42 weeks ago

I expect that this car is in the Passat range to tempt the small number of people who want this size of car and still need economy above all other considerations. It will also help VW corporate CO2 figures as well.

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