From £19,620
VW's frugal diesel estate comes at a price

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2011-2014
15 million VW Passats have been sold in 100 countries since its launch in 1973

The VW Passat is a competent family car - but does it show any flair?

What is it?

It's the second generation of the VW Passat Bluemotion estate, which promises to be cleaner and more frugal than its predecessor, as well as addressing some of its shortcomings.

Most notably, gone is the noisy 1.9-litre pumpe duse diesel engine, replaced by a 109bhp 2.0-litre common-rail diesel unit. It has the same torque figure (184 lb ft) as the last model and is linked to a five-speed gearbox.

The engine has been recalibrated with a lower idle rate and fitted with a switchable stops-start system to cut emissions and boost economy.

Other modifications made in the name of economy include longer gear ratios in third, fourth and fifth gears, a 15mm lower ride height and a more aerodynamic front profile.

The net result is claimed average fuel economy of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 129g/km – all from a car with the capacity to carry 1641 litres of luggage in the boot (albeit with a consummate drop in economy thanks to the extra weight).

What’s it like?

The new engine transforms the car, providing a major step forward in both refinement and drive. It’s quieter than the old unit, and delivers only a light thrum that is only going to irritate the most noise conscious of drivers.

The stopt-start system is entirely intuitive, too; select neutral at idle and the engine will shut down, dip the clutch and it will spring into life.

As with the Bluemotion 1, the engine delivers 184lb ft of torque. However, it arrives 150rpm earlier at 1750rpm, which means that it feels punchier, if still far from punchy. This is especially noticeable around town, and it’s only when you are in a hurry to join a motorway or similar when the lack of oomph and long gearing stand out.

The 0-62mph time is 11.9sec, which is perfectly adequate; if you want more, then a practical estate car probably isn’t the right choice for you anyway.

The ride quality isn’t quite up to the mark of the standard Passat’s, the low-resistance tyres and lowered ride height come at a slight cost in comfort. It isn’t the sharpest car to drive, either, although it retains the dependable hallmarks of the standard Passat.

The Bluemotion 2 is based on the base model in the Passat range, which means that the equipment list is rather sparse. The small, shiny steering wheel looks particularly cheap, too.

However, the basics are covered; air-con, ESP and 16-inch alloys are standard. Potential fleet buyers will have to consider spending extra on cruise control, though.

Should I buy one?

The Bluemotion 2 costs £475 more than the S model, which means you have to do your sums before going ahead and buying one. The base standard car still falls in the same VED tax band, while the company car tax benefits are marginal – meaning the bulk of any savings will be on fuel bills.

If you rack up the miles, then it makes a sound buy, otherwise it could be a false economy.

Join the debate

Comments
10

6 May 2009

Question to throw out there please;

Common rail was Fiat's (in partnership with Daimler?) and pump duse was VW's right? So I guess the patent on common rail has gone? And VW is acknowledging that common rail is a superior design?

Thanks!

6 May 2009

104bhp and 184 lb/ft?? I woud say that it would be gutless with 5 people on board and luggage!!!

Also will there be an automatic gearbox for it???

6 May 2009

[quote Greg1]So I guess the patent on common rail has gone?[/quote]

A long time ago! VW are very late to the party with common rail injection.

what I'd like to know on these Bluemotion models - do the low rolling resistance tyres increase stopping distances or lateral grip in the wet or dry?

6 May 2009

Thanks!

And good point re low rolling resistance tyres - maybe Top Gear can do a fun comparison article!

7 May 2009

The 0-62mph time is 11.9sec, which is perfectly adequate; if you want more, then a practical estate car probably isn’t the right choice for you anyway..

How patronising! Anyone who owns an E63 Estate (or any number of similar vehicles) would disagree with you too.

7 May 2009

[quote Audi Tastic] all from a car with the capacity to carry 1641 litres of luggage in the boot (albeit with a consummate drop in economy thanks to the extra weight).[/quote]

'a consummate drop in economy thanks to the extra weight' - aye, not to mention a commensurate one.

7 May 2009

Will this engine go and be replaced by the more efficient 1.6 TDi that's being launched?

7 May 2009

I might be being dim here but why is it that lots of eco models only have five speed gearboxes. Surely they'd benefit from a long sixth?

9 May 2009

[quote Orangewheels]Will this engine go and be replaced by the more efficient 1.6 TDi that's being launched?[/quote]

As far as I know yes. This engine was just introduced as a stopgap between the ancient 1.9 TDI been dropped from the line-up and the frugal 1.6 TDI comming out later in the year.

11 May 2009

[quote Audi Tastic]what I'd like to know on these Bluemotion models - do the low rolling resistance tyres increase stopping distances or lateral grip in the wet or dry?[/quote]

If you have ever driven a Prius (with low rolling-resistance tyres) in the wet you would be scared.... very scared!

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