Volkswagen is historically known for its reliability, use of quality materials and excellent build quality and with the turn of the new Golf 7 back in 2012, they upped their game further with a move upward toward the premium end of the market. The 2015 and latest generation of the Volkswagen Passat has followed that trend. The new Passat has taken subtle styling cues from the coupe like Passat CC, given a more upmarket executive appearance, has a more spacious cabin and a new interior design that would complement the inside of any premium marque.
At first glance, like the Golf, there is no mistaking that this is a Passat. Volkswagen’s current design ethos of evolution rather than revolution reigns through in a way that has maintained the character of the car, but at the same time adding style and elegance to this newer generation. The interior and dashboard design in particular is much more streamlined than before with a slick chrome tipped air vent design that stretches from end to end of the dashboard. The centre console receives the familiar 7.5 inch LCD touch screen complemented by a stylish analogue clock face sitting neatly above the touchscreen. It gets the same steering wheel design as the Golf and a familiar set of dials in front of the driver. The new Passat’s seats are big and comfortable with our test car being fitted with the leather option. Rear passengers benefit too with extra legroom thanks to the additional 78mm of space created by the MQB platform it sits on. Another advantage of this chassis means the boot is a massive 586 litres meaning storage is far from an issue.
Driving the Passat is a comfortable and refined experience. Our test car was fitted with the 1.6 TDI 4 cylinder turbo diesel with 120hp and 250Nm of torque fitted with a 6 speed manual transmission. This particular Passat carries the Bluemotion badge meaning it benefits from additional fuel saving technology. It would be fair to conclude that this particular model is designed for economy rather than performance. It may not be the most refined pick of the diesel engines and it may sound strained under hard acceleration, but it is hard to argue with the combined fuel consumption of 3.8l/100km (71mpg), a figure than any business man or fleet manager would be very happy with. While overtaking may not be this engines forte, the trade-off of performance in return for comfort and frugalness is hard to deny. If you do enjoy a bit more responsiveness and driver engagement, the 2.0 TDI may be the diesel option of choice.
The new Passat has a starting price of €27,455 for the 125hp 1.4 TSI Trendline and is very competitively priced when you consider its competitors in the shape of the new Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia and Mazda 6. If saving fuel and five day a week motoring driving is your way of life, than the 1.6 TDI may well be the car for you. The jump to the 2.0 TDI of €33,195 is a considerable extra investment in the name of some additional performance but it does include a Bump in trim to Comfortline level.
There is no mistaking the build quality and reassurance that comes with the Passat brand with a choice of three trim levels and many engine variants. While some may offer more refinement than others, there’s no compromise on style or comfort.