From £19,6208
More luxurious Passat offers plenty of kit and tonnes of space, and maintains its class lead over rivals from Vauxhall, Hyundai and Skoda

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2011-2014

The VW Passat is a competent family car - but does it show any flair, and does it stand out amongst established executive saloons from BMW, Audi and Mercedes?

Volkswagen Passat estate Executive Style 2.0 TDI Bluemotion

What is it?

The most luxurious version of the Volkswagen Passat estate you can buy, at least until the all-new model range arrives next year. 

Volkswagen announced earlier this year it would be replacing its older Highline, Sport and R-Line specifications with new Executive and Executive Style packages.

That means this model comes with DAB radio, leather multi-function steering wheel, heated front seats, cruise control, all-round parking sensors and dual-zone climate control granted with Executive trim, as well as the 15mm lowered sports suspension, 18-inch alloys and tinted rear glass which comes with top-spec Executive Style guise.

It should also appeal to company car drivers, with this Passat slotting into the same field as the likes of Ford's Mondeo Business Edition, launched last year. That car cost £833 annually at 20 per cent BIK, and £1666 at 40 per cent. The Passat, meanwhile, comes out at £1100 at 20 per cent, and £2,201 at 40 per cent.

In total, the retail package costs £29,310 if you also opt for the six-speed DSG transmission. However, extras including metallic paintwork, VW's Park Assist system and an upgraded infotainment package took the total price of our test car to just over £32,000. A pricey package, then, but the Passat estate has been seen as something of a benchmark by which rivals like the Hyundai i40 estate, Skoda Superb estate and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer are judged. Question is, then, whether the Passat still deserves its class crown?

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What's it like?

Comfortable and practical, with just a little hint of sportiness under the bonnet. 

The Passat's interior is pleasant enough, if looking a little dated in places. Its leather seats are comfortable and easily adjustable for drivers, and there's plenty of space available for front passengers. Thanks to its 1731mm wheelbase there shouldn't be complaints from the rear bench about leg or headroom either, even over long distances.

The cabin aesthetics are fine, with plenty of soft-touch furnishings dotted about. It might not feel as special to sit in as it once did, though, and in places the Passat is starting to show its age. The analogue clock in the centre of the fascia and the infotainment screen are just two examples that stand out - although the infotainment unit itself is easy to use on the move.

Our test car was powered by VW's 2.0-litre TDI Bluemotion engine, so came with 175bhp and 280lb ft of torque. It feels fairly rapid to accelerate, reaching 62mph in 8.6 seconds, and is quiet and refined at speed with very little noise intrusion into the cabin. The six-speed DSG works as well as it always has, while wheel-mounted paddles allow you to take over when required.

VW says the Passat can manae 54.3mpg on a combined cycle with accompanying CO2 emissions of 136g/km. That's impressive, and places the Passat in VED tax band E, meaning it'll only cost you £130 to tax per year.

Our only complaint with the Passat's mechanical package comes with its road poise, as the lowered sports suspension has resulted in a firm ride. That might not matter on the motorway, but at urban speeds you pick up a lot of road imperfections and bumps. It's a blight on an otherwise calm and smooth experience.

The Passat remains a practical choice, though. As well as a large central storage compartment up front, topped by a height-adjustable arm-rest, there's also a large boot on offer. In total, the Passat offers 603 litres of storage space with the rear bench in place, rising to 1731 litres with it down.

That's more than the Insignia Sports Tourer and Hyundai i40 estate, which offer 540/1530 litres and 553/1719 litres respectively, but significantly less than the gargantuan Skoda Superb estate, with 633/1865 litres.

Should I buy one?

It's a narrow victory for the Passat estate amongs its peers  for the moment, since it remains just ahead of rivals in terms of interior fit and finish. It might be a bit pricey, but the Passat is a comfortable, practical choice for those in need of the extra space brought on with an estate body.

If you're willing to wait until next year for the new model - which is said to come with a 650-litre seats-down luggage capacity as well as a revised infotainment system - then do, but if you do opt for today's car then rest assured you're still getting among the class best.

Volkswagen Passat estate Executive Style 2.0 TDI Bluemotion Technology 

Price £29,310 (£32,100 with options) 0-62mph 8.6 seconds Top speed 137mph Economy 54.3mpg CO2 136g/km Kerbweight 1580kg Engine 1968cc, four-cylinder, diesel Power 175bhp at 4200rpm Torque 280lb ft at 1750rpm Gearbox 6-spd DSG

Join the debate


24 June 2014
...not really! Since when has 136g/km for a 170BHP estate been impressive? Perhaps so in 2010, but up against the 180BHP V60 (99g), and even the much more desirable 320d (112g) for pretty much the same outlay this Passat seems rather a poor business choice.

And for private buyers without such an interest in CO2 the XF Sportbrake would be a cut above the Volkswagen, and offer similar running costs.

The next generation of Passat needs to do much, much better than this bland offering.

24 June 2014
That V60 figure is for the manual transmission, the automatic is 109g/km. Both the V60 and 3-series are smaller cars though, so lower consumption is only to be expected.

If we compare it with rivals in the article we see the Hyundai i40 automatic is 159g/km, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 163ps automatic is 149g/km and the Ford Mondeo 163PS Powershift ECO is 136g/km. Of the ones you've mentioned the BMW equivalent (5-series) is substantially more expensive - although the Volvo V70 is potentially a comparable price and emits 117g/km for it's D4 (181hp) automatic.

Although of course, the way these are tested are known to be rather dodgy (it's the same NEDC test that produces manufacturer MPG figures) and the passat does have pretty high reported MPG figures so it may turn out to be the best in practice - although of course for tax purposes it's only the test figure that matters.

24 June 2014
and listen (or read in this case). No, seriously. He is a bit like Autocar reviewers. He's spent a good deal of money (and time that he has plenty of since he retired recently) on fixing various major (fatal flaws) faults that are widely considered generic with the 2L diesel DSG version of this car. Yet (just like Autocar reviewers) he likes it and most probably would borrow my copy of this week's magazine to read about it.

24 June 2014
Presented with this choice last year, my parents were after a replacement for a 9 yr old legacy. Although technically contenders I was not inspired enough to visit ford, vauxhall, peugeot dealers. Hyundai did not have enough engine options so looked at VW, Skoda, ended up with a pre facelift mk 2 Superb estate, did not really need the estate body but preferred the look. Even with this facelift I think I would still do the same. The Skoda's compliance/ body control is a rare treat in this class.

24 June 2014
Not sure why the Skoda Superb is listed as a rival when this Passat is barely bigger than the Octavia, which looks almost identical and is way better value for money?

26 June 2014
Octavia is 4.66m, Superb is 4.83m, Passat is 4.87m.

26 June 2014
It's just and old, unreliable barge that trades off VW's laughable reputation for reliability!!

26 June 2014
what a hideous name - how could you admit to having a car called "executive Style"? Embarrassing...

26 June 2014
"Question is, then, whether the Passat still deserves its class crown?"

Explain please Autocar? Strange thing to say given the dominance of Mondeo Estate etc in the UK over the last wee while? Class of it's own for what? Dearness? Image over matter?

Think this MK/version is a little better but during my previous commute one of the most frequently spotted breakdown's on the motorway was the Passat (followed closely by the A5).

The VW Group 2.0 diesel is a clattery lump too.

28 June 2014
when it offers 1081 ltrs less space......
"If you're willing to wait until next year for the new model - which is said to come with a 650-litre seats-down luggage capacity"

Hopefully just a typo....seats up possibly !


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