I’m in eighth heaven! RAY MASSEY takes a look at the new Volkswagen Passat Estate
- The Passat has been around for 42 years, the first model came out in 1973
- The estate car is the fourth biggest-selling VW in the UK
- The new model has everything from keyless entry to heated seats
- Only diesel models will be on sale initially and there will be a beefed-up 4×4 version hitting the road in July
Volkswagen Passat Estate SE Business 2.0 TDI 150PS
Price as driven: £31,270
The Volkswagen Passat Estate SE Business 2.0 TDI 150PS (pictured) is the eighth generation of the model
- It’s hard to believe, but the Passat has been around for 42 years. More than 22 million have been made since 1973. So this is the eighth generation. It’s a proven and indefatigable workhorse — the fact that the estate version comfortably outsells the svelte saloon testifies to that.
- Brits bought 10,000 estates in 2013, against 7,600 saloons. The Passat is the fourth biggest-selling VW here after the Golf, Polo and Up!.
- Used as much for work as for leisure and pleasure, these estates can take a pounding. This new version really does look and feel like the business, but is it more than just a pretty face?
- It certainly has kerb appeal with elegant styling. Even the doorman at a fivestar London hotel — more used to parking Ferraris, and Bentleys — was moved unprompted to comment on how smart it looked.
- Goes from rest to 62mph in 8.9 seconds — and feels faster as you go through the six-speed manual gearbox. Top speed is 135mph.
- Five driving modes include comfort, normal, sport or ‘eco’. I kept it mainly on sport and enjoyed plenty of power when needed, yet with a nimble, well-balanced ride on all types of road.
- Excellent economy. It averaged 68.9mpg — 76.3mpg when cruising and 59.9mpg around town. CO2 emissions are a low 107g/ km. An even more frugal 78mpg BlueMotion version arrives in June.
- A stop-start system helps keep fuel bills low. There’s keyless entry, plus and heated seats and steering wheel for which, in this cold snap, I was very grateful.
- Ample flexible interior space; slightly more than in the outgoing model, even though its exterior dimensions are slightly smaller. The three rear seats fold nearly flat for extra load lugging capability.
- Smart but unfussy interior, with supportive seats that have plenty of reclining and setting options to ensure comfort for drivers and passengers of all shapes and sizes. Stylish cloth fabric on the seats with silver inserts also add to the business-like feel.
- Easy to drive and intuitive to a degree that means you quickly become at home.
- Five trim levels from launch: S, SE, SE Business (my vehicle), GT and R-Line. The latter two include a range topping two-litre bi-turbo TDi diesel engine with 240 bhp and four-wheel drive. From £22,215 for the saloon, but add on £1,530 for the estate.
- Lots of electronic kit to keep you safe and stable on the road.
- Easy-to-read dials, but VW plans an optional 12.3 in display to replace the conventional instrument cluster.
- Rear cameras make reversing into the tightest of spaces much easier.
- There may be a lot of technology on board but it’s simply displayed on an uncluttered dashboard. The touchscreen is relatively easy to navigate.
- For anyone keen on the great outdoors, a ‘trailer-assist’ feature helps to manoeuvre trailers more accurately.
The Passat has been around for 42 years, pictured here is the first generation of the model in 1973
- Only diesel models are on sale at first. A frugal plug-in hybrid GTE version with a 1.4-litre TSi petrol and electric motor version is to follow in October, promising a combined range of more than 620 miles or 31 miles in pure electric mode. A beefed-up 4×4 version will hit the road in July.
- Extras hiked the base price of the version I drove from £26,665 to £31,270. These included the winter pack of heated front seats, windscreen washer jets (£280), heated steering wheel (£135), heated windscreen (£150), and a whole lot more. The dynamic chassis control (£700), 18-inch anthracite alloys (£665), sound insulating glass (£310), climate control (£590), all-round cameras (£590), and a system that enables you to connect your smartphone to the car’s information and entertainment system (£160).