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First drive: Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen Passat
The new Volkswagen Passat once again sets out to become the benchmark saloon.

   



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Volkswagen Passat

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Volkswagen already sells more than one million Passats each year and given the breadth of changes and improvements that make up this new model it stands to sell even more, while also targeting buyers from the premium segment.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI BMT DSG GT
Pricing: starts at 22,215; as tested was 28,030 on-the-road
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed automatic (six-speed manual is standard)
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 119g/km (Band C, 30 per year)
Combined economy: 62.7mpg
Top speed: 135mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,500- to 4,000rpm
Torque: 340Nm at 1,750- to 3,000rpm

Exterior Design: 5 5 5 5 5

Volkswagen has allowed a certain amount of influence from the svelte Passat CC to seep into the design of the new Passat saloon and it does the overall look of the car no harm at all. The front wears a confident grille design, which is crowned by chrome trim on GT models that neatly flows into the headlight units.

The simple side profile of the Passat is free from superfluous lines barring one running along the car's shoulder line providing just the right amount of definition and emphasising an overall design that is as simple as it is measured. At the rear there are familiar Volkswagen styling features, namely in the LED lights that carry an air of Golf about them. More powerful models in the upper levels of the range feature exhaust tips that are neatly incorporated into the rear bumper design in a style befitting of some of the more premium marques in the Volkswagen Group's portfolio.

Interior Ambience: 5 5 5 5 5

Irrespective of trim line, the sheer level of space inside the new cabin is impressive and without getting out tape measures and callipers out it certainly feels like one of the best in its segment. There is a sense of minimalism with the design stretching across the dashboard that integrates the ventilation outlets in the most subtle of fashion - and of course that familiar, traditional clock face remains front and centre. The centre console is an exercise in simplicity and ergonomics, and while the larger Discover Pro touchscreen system is a joy to both look at and use, at 815 it may remain on the options wish list for most.

Passenger Space: 5 5 5 5 5

Most front seat passengers in the new Passat will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of legroom on offer to them and that is without the need to have their seat moved back along the rails, meaning there are still very generous levels of space for occupants in the rear.

Luggage Space: 4 4 4 4 4

Even though the engineers at Volkswagen have created plenty of legroom for the Passat's rear passengers, boot space hasn't been compromised and at 586 litres it is one of the best in its class. This volume can then be expanded to 1,152 litres by lowering the rear seats - an action that can easily be done from the boot. The Passat's relatively low boot floor height and wide aperture combine to make loading bulkier items that bit easier, although the saloon-only body style does lack the versatility of a hatchback. The cabin features plenty of useable storage compartments, as well as a generously-sized glovebox.

Safety: 4 4 4 4 4

Being Volkswagen's mainstream flagship model, leaving the Phaeton aside for now, the Passat naturally showcases some of the latest safety technology on offer from the boffins in Wolfsburg. A host of standard systems include post-collision braking that prevents the car from continuing along its trajectory following an impact and a passenger cell that is comprehensively covered by airbag systems including a driver's knee airbag. For those looking to spend some extra money on adding technology-based safety systems there is a multitude of options to choose from such as Emergency Assist, which can detect if the driver has become unresponsive and can then sound various alarms to alert the driver; should those fail to provoke a reaction the car can autonomously perform an emergency braking manoeuvre whilst activating the car's hazard lights - and can then call the emergency services.

Comfort: 4 4 4 4 4

The overall length of the Passat has reduced by 2mm, yet the wheelbase has grown by 79mm, pushing the wheels further to each corner. The ride, although on the firm side, does an excellent job at suppressing harsher surfaces. Giving a helping hand in this is a four-link rear axle, and even with cars wearing larger diameter wheels the ride is very good.

Driving Dynamics: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The new Passat utilises the highly modular MQB platform, which, up until now, has been used in smaller cars such as the Golf and Skoda Octavia. Not that it is challenged in a larger car like the new Passat, as it gives a driving experience of a car that feels smaller than its dimensions would suggest. The steering, although lacking any real sense of feel, never leads you astray in terms of what the front wheels are doing while the field of vision is nothing short of excellent thanks to slender A-pillars.

Powertrain: 4 4 4 4 4

Diesel engines are going to be the order of the day for both business and private buyers, and the range on offer in the Passat, although not wildly new, does see modest improvements in both performance and, more importantly, efficiency. The mid-range 150hp unit sampled here provides sufficient levels of performance, but when pressed for more at higher revs does create a bit of din. Mated with the DSG automatic gearbox it makes for total ease of driving, especially in heavy traffic, although the six-speed manual gearbox is reassuringly mechanical in its shift action too.

Potential Alternative

The new Passat certainly raises its game, but it does also come at a price. For now it rules the roost within the Volkswagen Group, but there is a new Superb on the way from the more affordable Skoda brand, whilst the new, long awaited Mondeo promises to be the Passat's biggest rival.

What to Order?

If you can afford to go for the more luxuriously equipped GT then the Passat feels every inch the premium saloon, but the sensible buy could be the SE Business model, which comes in at over 1,300 less and is still equipped with satellite navigation.


Dave Humphreys - 21 Oct 2014



  www.volkswagen.co.uk    - Volkswagen road tests
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2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Richard Pardon.



2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat. Image by Volkswagen.
 






 

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