Having established its sub-brand hybrid ‘GTE’ nameplate in the Golf, Volkswagen has subsequently transplanted it onto the Passat – adding a plug-in petrol-electric option to a line-up that has been staunchly diesel-only for the best part of a decade.

This makes sense. VW’s family saloon has always given its segment a polished and likeable bedrock, and the fact that it has never been the cheapest option means its buyers are unlikely to be automatically dissuaded by the premium associated with electrification.

The migration of the GTE badge is a thornier prospect from a marketing sense. Even in the Golf, the concept barely justified its positioning in the hallowed ‘Gran Turismo’ sphere; in the Passat – a model with no sporting pretensions whatsoever – the connection looks even more tenuous.

Accordingly (and doubtless aware that while this is among the most expensive Passats, it’s not the quickest or the most powerful variant), VW has dialled back much of the pedigree and performance rhetoric this time around.

Instead, sensibly, the emphasis is on the limited sacrifices required by switching from diesel to a mix of petrol and lithium ion.

The benefits are much the same as they are in the Golf: a moderate all-electric range, brisk acceleration, admirable (if misleading) claimed fuel economy and the low taxation prospect of 39g/km of CO2 emissions.

That alone ought to make the car – which still benefits from a £2500 government grant and is also available as an estate – alluring to business users, but the GTE will need to cut the mustard in more ways than one if it wants to overshadow the alternatives available at its £34,025 (post-grant) list price.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the talent has come away with it
  • 2017 Range Rover Velar
    First Drive
    23 July 2017
    The Range Rover Velar is the most road-biased car Land Rover has made. So does it still feel like a proper part of the family?
  • Seat Ibiza
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    A model upon which Seat has staked its future, the new Ibiza must now deliver
  • Honda Clarity FCV
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    Honda’s fuel cell flagship reaches its second generation, but is the world ready?
  • Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 N-Connecta 2017 review
    First Drive
    20 July 2017
    A UK drive in Nissan’s crucial crossover shows an update has not cost it any of that which makes it sell so well