The Passat GTE is a highly accomplished car and also an appealing one in a much broader sense than the traditional big-performing, high kit-level, volume-brand range-topping saloon.

By combining big-car practicality with an intuitive, refined and highly polished plug-in hybrid powertrain, presenting it at a competitive price level and throwing in the Passat’s familiar quality, desirability and in-car technology, Wolfsburg has created one of the best reasons yet to consider switching from a conventional diesel business saloon to an electrified one.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
No great driver’s car, but a worthy range-topping Passat all the same

The GTE’s laid-back pace and its lack of handling bite make it a slightly pallid sports saloon, but as a multi-talented all-rounder, it is very good.

But the market for similar plug-in hybrids has blossomed into a busy niche of cars that look at least as talented as the VW on paper – and which we’ve mostly yet to drive in the UK.

As such, those such as the Audi A3 e-tron, Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine, Mercedes-Benz C350e and BMW 330e are not ranked, and neither is the Passat in relation.

A proper group test is the only fair way to do so, and it will happen as soon as it can. But until it does, wannabe PHEV saloon owners should rest assured that this Passat will be a strong contender.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    This is the new Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    First Drive
    20 February 2018
    The new Nexo SUV is a showcase for both hydrogen power and autonomous tech. Does that make it an appealing purchase?
  • Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    This is the Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The Insignia GSi is Vauxhall's new performance flagship. Can this diesel estate version offer both pace and practicality?
  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante
    The DB11 Volante chassis' torsional rigidity is 22kN/deg, down from 34kN/deg on the coupe – but substantially more than the 14.7kN/deg of the DB9 Volante
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The DB11 Volante is the first convertible variant of Aston Martin's new model generation. How does it compare to the likes of the new Ferrari Portofino?
  • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo front
    The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The top-of-the-line 6 Series Gran Turismo has arrived in the UK, but does a more potent engine increase its unusual appeal?