Although Volkswagen refers to this as its seventh-generation Passat, a more accurate representation is that this is a comprehensive refresh of the previous-generation Passat (introduced to the UK in 2006) rather than an all-new car. That said, there is more to report than the visual alterations that bring it in line with VW’s Scirocco-led corporate look.
The changes aim to improve the Passat’s refinement and ecological credentials. Thicker glass and more sound deadening materials have been employed to provide a quieter cabin, while all diesel models use stop-start and battery regeneration technology and are now badged BlueMotion.
It’s meeting that challenge with a range that comprises three petrol and three diesel engines, all transversely mounted, forced-induction four-pots. The petrol selection consists of a 120bhp 1.4, a 158bhp 1.8 and a 2.0-litre unit with 207bhp. The diesels are a 104bhp 1.6 and 2.0-litre units with 138bhp and 168bhp. All diesel models feature a new mounting system designed to reduce engine vibrations.
This generation of Passat also sees the introduction of an Alltrack model. It is a similar design to the Audi A4 Avant, being an estate with 4WD and a raised ride height. VW hopes the security of all-wheel-drive in a conventional estate is enough to tempt buyers out of fully-fledged off-roaders. It is available with the pair of 2.0-litre diesels.
The Mercedes CLS-aping Passat CC can also be found in this revamped line-up, although it now branded simply VW CC. Prices start at £24,395 for the 1.8 TSI.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all models, with DSG optional on all except the 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.4 and 1.8 petrols use a seven-speed DSG with dry clutches, the 2.0-litre petrol and diesels a six-speed DSG with wet clutches.
Trim levels are fairly simple, with S, SE and Sport.
The engine and trim line-ups are identical in either saloon or estate form.