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

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?

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.

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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

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Comments
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Bazz79 17 January 2016

Good for 300,000 miles

Feel I need to defend this car as I've had a saloon version in a lower spec since new. I'm a taxi driver and have driven it close to 300,000 miles and it has only not started once (flat battery). It's feeling a little bit old now but it still dose 48 miles to mpg round the doors and everything apart from the aircon still works. Ok it's not exciting but it drives beautifully and the build quality compared with its rivals is in another league. I've had a few different taxis like the mondao st, skoda octavia and rent a few others and they don't come close.
I'm only replacing it because I need an estate and I'm getting this model on a 65 plate with 16,000 mile on for 17,000ish.
When this review said this car was a class leader I think they ment it just dose everything well, very well. If you don't need a reliable well built car and you change cars every couple of year then buy a Alfa.
audiolab 28 June 2014

why wait for the new model

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 !

danielcoote 26 June 2014

Really

"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.

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