If familiarity really does breed contempt, be prepared to dislike the Volkswagen Passat’s interior, which seems to share a sensible amount with its range siblings and its predecessors. In truth, the clarity of its systems and layout suggest that you should feel anything but antipathy towards it.
Few, indeed, are the cars that offer such a high-quality driving position, widely adjustable in both the seat and steering wheel, with nary a hint of driver offset. The seats are large, wide and, if we’re being critical, a touch flat for more enthusiastic driving, but adequately suited to motorway mile-eating, the Passat’s more natural habitat. The seat cushions feel firm on first acquaintance but allow room for a driver to shift around and achieve a decent posture.
The amount of room in the front and rear is fine for the class. The saloon’s boot has smaller headline figures than Ford’s cavernous Mondeo and it’s the same story with the wagon – 513 litres versus 542 litres with the rear seats in place, and 1641 versus 1733 with them folded – but we can’t imagine many drivers will feel short-changed by the Passat’s load bay. Usefully, there is a rear-seat release catch just inside the boot, following which the split-fold rear seat can be nudged down by a piece of long luggage.
If there is something to feel disappointed about within the Passat’s interior, it’s the quality of the graphics on the stereo unit of cars that lack the optional navigation system. The single-colour LCD display, backlit in blue, is little more appealing than your average digital watch. The screen between the dials is a touch better, but it takes delving into the options list to find a more palatable array of readouts.