VW's frugal diesel estate comes at a price

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

Add a comment…
jelly7961 11 May 2009

Re: Volkswagen Passat (05-) 2.0 TDI CR 110 Bluemotion

Audi Tastic wrote:
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?

If you have ever driven a Prius (with low rolling-resistance tyres) in the wet you would be scared.... very scared!
J400uk 9 May 2009

Re: Volkswagen Passat (05-) 2.0 TDI CR 110 Bluemotion

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

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.

RobotBoogie 7 May 2009

Re: Volkswagen Passat (05-) 2.0 TDI CR 110 Bluemotion

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?