From £23,0608
Price, fuel economy, range and depreciation

The Passat GT on test, a range-topper (sporty-looking R-line aside) well stocked with options, comes in at an incredible £34,955 – only a whisker below the starting price of a BMW 520d Luxury.

However, the bulk of Passat sales will be taken by the more reasonably priced SE and SE Business. The SE model, as a saloon, costs the best part of £25,000, meaning that it meets a Titanium-spec Mondeo at about eye level. (Ford’s latest Mondeo starts almost £2k cheaper than the Passat.)

The Passat's premium price isn't quite backed up by premium-brand residual values, but they're still more than respectable

The match-up isn’t particularly incongruous given the VW’s level of standard kit. On an SE, a 6.5in touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB tuner, adaptive cruise, drive profile select, emergency brake assist and 17in alloy wheels are standard.

SE Business is probably the best compromise of price and equipment and is £1300 cheaper than a GT. It denies you the high-powered engines, but you're not missing much. The 17in wheels should improve the ride, too.

If we gloss over the fact that VW will only introduce a sub-99g/km CO2 variant with the forthcoming Bluemotion model, the Passat is also competitive on running costs. Our GT emitted 119g/km as a result of its higher-powered engine and big wheels, but the more popular diesels will start at 103g/km for the 118bhp 1.6-litre unit, when equipped with the DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

On average, our True MPG evaluators recorded the Passat 2.0 TDI 190 GT at 45.4mpg – distant from the 61.4mpg quoted by VW, although only 8mpg shy of the less powerful Mondeo that we tested.

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Claimed fuel economy for the entry-level 1.6 TDI 118bhp variant is 70.6mpg, while the 2.0 TDI 148bhp version is quoted at 64.2mpg.