What is it?
This may very well be the version of Volkswagen’s new Passat that matters most: the cheapest and most frugal diesel, and the model likely to account for a large chunk of the number supplied to company fleets and run as company cars. We’ve tried richer and more powerful variants of the car abroad and in the UK already, so does the new Volkswagen’s redoubtable pragmatism and class extends all the way down to entry level?
It’s powered by Wolfsburg’s 1.6-litre TDI engine updated for Euro 6 emissions compatibility and, for this model generation, with a smidgeon more power than before and with a six-speed manual gearbox. Those factors make its sub-11-second 0-62mph claim look more respectable, but more important to owners and fleet operators will be the car’s carbon dioxide emissions.
At 105g/km they’re not outstandingly low; the equivalent new Ford Mondeo qualifies for company car tax at a three per cent lower rate and a comparable Vauxhall Insignia is two per cent lower, while a Mazda 6 offers you considerably more power and performance for a similar price and less tax outlay. So this Passat doesn’t get off to a brilliant start on the spec sheet.