To use a general rule of thumb, a Volkswagen Passat works out more expensive than the Ford Mondeo. It is also around the same more than the Skoda Superb, which has a more generous roster of standard equipment.
Of its mainstream rivals, though, the Passat promises the best economy and the lowest carbon emissions. Although our test average of the lower-powered 2.0-litre diesel 49.8mpg falls short of the claimed 61.4mpg combined figure, it is still impressive for a car of this size, while CO2 emissions of 120g/km put the Passat into the lowest band for benefit-in-kind tax. Without a stop-start system, the Superb, which shares the same engine, is significantly less efficient.
Choose the smaller 1.6 diesel and you’re promised exceptional fuel returns of 65.7mpg (64.2mpg for the estate), while CO2 emissions drop in turn. Assuming a similar return to our tests of the bigger diesel engine, you should easily expect to top 50mpg in real-world use.
Of the petrols, the 1.4TSI gets Bluemotion tech to keep economy high and emissions low. And for a petrol-powered family car, it’s claimed average of 47.9mpg and 138g/km are again impressive.
The other petrol cars are efficient for their size, but you would have to be a low mileage driver for them to make any economic sense. Given the Passat's qualities as a motorway driver, it's likely therefore that few drivers will choose them.
VW is evidently hoping to push the Passat upmarket with the CC and Alltrack additions to the range, and the pricing of these models reflects that attitude. The 2.0 TSI CC carries a premium of more than £3500 over the saloon, for example, and the 168bhp Alltrack is £4610 more expensive than the equivalent Passat estate.
The days when VWs were poorly equipped a long gone – even the entry-level S model gets alloy wheels, air conditioning, a USB socket and four electric windows. However, Bluetooth is an option, but standard on SE models and above. Higher-spec cars also get DAB radios as standard.
In addition to the usual safety features, this new Passat is offered with two optional systems: Fatigue Detection, which measures the driver’s inputs during the first 15 minutes of a journey and then emits an audible warning if it thinks there is a risk that the driver is about to drift off, and a City Emergency Braking function, which automatically stops the car if it senses a collision.