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Comfortable, practical and spacious - Volkswagen's latest Passat continues to impress

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI 190 GT DSG
The new Volkswagen Passat is now in its eighth generation

The Passat wants to head upmarket. Does it have the substance?

8 October 2014

What is it?

This is the model Volkswagen anticipates will account for the majority of new Passat sales in the UK, the £25,965 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology.

Part of a four-strong range of new diesel-powered Passat models slated for UK sale later this month, the roomy five-seater is poised to become a familiar sight on our roads. Or so Volkswagen would have us believe, anyway – it points to “unprecedented pre-order activity” for the new car.

The apparent optimism for the new eighth-generation model is backed up by its styling, which gives the latest Passat an instantly more up-market appearance than its predecessor.

More structured than before and with a liberal lathering of chrome, the exterior is evolutionary in design but also possesses a true air of elegance. A heavy swage line running from the front wheel arch back along the flanks, flatter roof line and more flowing C-pillar treatment stretch the car visually, while larger door apertures help to provide easier access to the cabin, both front and rear.  

The various examples of the new car we drove also had terrific attention to detail, superb surface finish and excellent solidity. It may compete in the volume market, but the perceived quality of the new Passat is in many respects even more impressive than that of such highly regarded cars as the Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.       

Dimensionally, the new model is smaller than the one it replaces but, thanks to the adoption of Volkswagen’s highly flexible MQB platform structure and a significantly longer wheelbase, it manages to offer greater levels of accommodation than ever before.

As with the exterior, the interior of the new Passat also represents a significant break from the old model. It receives a more contemporary styled dashboard along with broader, newly designed seats, sizeable storage bins in the doors and centre console, a long list of standard safety features and outstanding trim quality.

The saloon version comes with a boot that has grown by 21 litres in capacity to 586 litres. The estate driven here receives an additional 47 litres to increase its load carrying space to an impressive 650 litres. This can be extended to a capacious 1780 litres when the split fold rear seats are folded away.

In place of standard analogue instruments, buyers will be able to option the new car with a state-of-the-art configurable 12.3-inch TFT colour monitor instrument pack similar to that offered on the new third-generation Audi TT, although not until mid-2015.

In another first, the new Volkswagen also gains an optional heads-up display unit that uses a separate glass panel mounted within the top of the dashboard to project relevant information into the driver’s line of sight.

Among a long list of safety technology included either as standard or optional is Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, which warns of traffic in your blind spot; Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically accelerates and slows the car in heavy traffic up to a predetermined speed.

Also offered is Emergency Assist, which can potentially stop the car when the driver is injured or incapacitated, and the latest generation of Volkswagen’s Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking – which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to aid pedestrian detection.

VW's standard five trim levels S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line will be available across the line-up.

What's it like?

Spacious, comfortable and practical, which are exactly the qualities potential buyers will expect from the mid-range Volkswagen.

With outstanding refinement and the very latest in connectivity options, the new Passat also feels a good deal more mature and sophisticated than its predecessor.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail unit produces a peak power figure of 148bhp at 3500rpm, along with 251lb ft at 1750rpm.

The engine uses a new mounting principle that, with greater rigidity to its new hot formed steel body structure, is claimed to further dampen vibration and, in combination with improved sound deadening properties incorporated within the engine bay, provide it with generally more refined nature than before.

And so it proves, too. The expected volume seller of the new Passat line-up idles quietly with only a slight trace of traditional diesel chatter. On the run, the engine is quite smooth and engagingly flexible, making it an agreeable if not particularly sporting option.

The standard six-speed manual gearbox operates in an unobtrusive manner with an agreeable lightness to the weighting, although for those who rack up big distances the optional six speed automatic dual clutch gearbox with optional remote shift paddles is well worth consideration. Both units come with standard stop/start and brake energy recuperation functions and channel drive to the front wheels.  

Volkswagen claims a 0-62mph time of 8.9sec for the manual, and says the model can average 68.9mpg. CO2 emissions are claimed to be 109g/km.

There is a distinct Teutonic firmness to the Passat’s new underpinnings, with taut springing and firm damping combining to provide excellent body control. Despite this, the Passat continues to provide pleasingly absorbent and nicely controlled ride qualities. Road noise and wind roar is tremendously well suppressed, making it an excellent long distance proposition.

In handling terms, the new car is very proficient, offering direct steering response, strong traction and plenty of grip during cornering.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a new company car or are seeking wheels for the family, the new Passat estate 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology should certainly be on your shortlist. 

For sheer ease of driving, everyday practicality, perceived quality, running costs and available equipment options the new Volkswagen is close to class leading.

Volkswagen Passat estate 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology 

Price £25,965; 0-62mph 8.9sec; Top speed 136mph; Economy 68.9mpg; CO2 109g/km; Kerb weight 1430kg; Engine 4 cyls in-line, 1968cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

8 October 2014

I think the conclusion of this review is it's a good car but I really can't judge how good. We need a head to head with the new Mondeo, Mazda 6 and Insignia.

8 October 2014

I had a 2L diesel Passat around 10 years ago. I was doing a lot of miles so needed a cheap-ish but "reliable" car. The Mercedes and BMW would've cost too much for doing hyper miles while Audi is just a tarted up Volkswagen. So I chose the Passat. It did the job. The engine was smooth in power delivery up to a point and the car was spacious, comfortable and quiet inside. External styling was as mind-numbingly boring as only a Volkswagen can be and I found the interior rather dark and cabin plain. But it did the job and I was lucky enough to get rid of it just when it started developing problems. The only reason I chose Passat over rivals was its lower price and it seems to have lost its edge there.

8 October 2014

...have never had it so good. Gone are the days of poverty spec and low powered gloom boxes. Drivers in low to middling company cars have some superb machines to choose from these days. Just pick whichever badge you happen to like and you're unlikely to be disappointed.


8 October 2014

I'm sure this car is a fantastic car, but it looks very clinical. Mazda 6 and the new Mondeo both look a lot better. I can see it's appeal, but not for me

8 October 2014

I am usually a fan of estate versions but this passat looks better as a saloon ?

8 October 2014

This seems to be a very competent and efficient machine, but,unfortunately, its followed that droopy, round-shouldered look of the Golf, giving it a rather weak looking front end.

8 October 2014

As ever I'm confused. The text says Autocar drove the 2.0Tdi Bluemotion Technology Estate which costs £25,965. OK, but that refers to the engine - which trim did you test drive?

autocar wrote:

VW's standard five trim levels S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line will be available across the line-up.

.
So which one costs £25,965? Is that in base 'S' form? If so that's incredibly expensive.

TS7

8 October 2014
scotty5 wrote:

As ever I'm confused. The text says Autocar drove the 2.0Tdi Bluemotion Technology Estate which costs £25,965. OK, but that refers to the engine - which trim did you test drive?

autocar wrote:

VW's standard five trim levels S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line will be available across the line-up.

.
So which one costs £25,965? Is that in base 'S' form? If so that's incredibly expensive.

It's the SE.

If one heads over to the VW website it's available to configure.

Still don't understand the fascination for coal mine interiors. Much better in beige leather. The 'poverty spec' S starts at £23,745 for the 1.6 TDI, £24,870 for the 2.0 TDI.

Could never buy this Passat myself, one can only have diseasel engines.

TS7

8 October 2014

...will fully spec a top of the range R-Line. £50,575 with all the boxes ticked. Coming to an Autocar road test someday soon!

9 October 2014

Yet another unimaginative swine of a car that no self-respecting petrolhead would be seen dead in. Bloody awful.


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