The Volkswagen Passat GTE’s hybrid powertrain gives it several distinct characteristics in day-to-day use.
And while the most performance-orientated of them may not be forceful enough to make the car a convincing sports saloon, the breadth and range of the car’s overall motive repertoire is impressive.
VW’s claims concerning charging time, electric cruising range and acceleration are to be believed.
Using the supplied seven-pin charge cable and a 16A wall socket, we charged the 9.9kWh battery from a 25% state of charge to full in less than two hours, then covered 25.5 miles on electric power before that charge ran out.
Performance is more than adequate running on battery power alone (0-60mph in 13.2sec, for the record), with the powertrain configured to ‘sail’ when you lift your foot from the accelerator.
There’s no drag to slow you down other than when the car detects that you’re running downhill, when gentle regenerative braking is blended in to keep tabs on your prevailing speed. Get good at coasting – which, by another name, is what you’re being encouraged to do – and you could probably improve on VW’s 31-mile zero-emissions range estimation in urban and rural motoring.
In Hybrid mode, the car has creditable powertrain response even when the combustion engine has shut down, which it’ll do at modest motorway cruising speeds when load conditions are light.