What's good? Spacious. Luxurious. Stylish. Powerful.
How many women do you see driving Volkswagen Passats? Not many. Why? Well, they're rep barges - cars at home on the motorway funded by a company car policy, and they're not very feminine. But this latest version is the kind of car husband and wife can enjoy together, as I found out recently, and especially so with the new 2.0 BiTDI engine that's extremely flexible yet frugal. For families, the saloon version should be enough, however for growing families and those with a dog, the estate is where it's at, and with AWD for added security in slippery conditions.
The Volkswagen Passat 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION Estate costs £36,040. Let's take a closer look at this premium family estate to see if it's worth the asking price.
The new Passat follows the same design philosophy as the new Golf - squashed rear lights, smoothed bumpers, and angled headlights. Now in its eighth iteration, the estate is a surprising 2mm shorter than the previous car despite appearing to be longer, yet Volkswagen have managed to work wonders with interior space (more on that below) thanks to a longer wheelbase.
There are a total of 24 versions of the Passat Estate to choose from, but the one we're focusing on here today is the 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION Estate in GT spec. GT is the second highest in the range, behind R Line, and it shows with 18-inch alloy wheels, black radiator grille with chrome trimmed louvres, decorative trims on the lower part of the car, front, side, and rear in chrome, LED daytime running lights, and chrome window surrounds. There's no mistaking this is a top-spec car, and it looks very stylish indeed.
The Passat Estate's driving experience is dominated by an all-new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine, which kicks out 237 horsepower and a healthy 369 lb /ft of torque. This is sent to all four wheels through a 7-speed semi-automatic dual-clutch (flappy-paddle) gearbox that blitzes through the gears to get the car from 0 - 62 mph in 6.3 seconds - that's faster than a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Despite its raw pace, though, this car never feels frantic and you don't need to work the engine particularly hard to really get moving, because maximum torque is available from 1750 rpm, and the DSG gearbox always makes sure that you are in the 'sweet zone', so to speak.
4MOTION is VW's take on Audi's Quattro. It's a similar set-up here as it is in an A4 Avant Quattro, and it works well to limit slip in damp or wet conditions, which will come in handy during winter.
Elsewhere, in GT spec, the Passat Estate handles rough roads easily. It has a lowered suspension over non-GT cars and sits on 18inch alloys, but those alloys have a decent tyre wall and the stock rubber soaks up bumps with aplomb, obviously benefiting from the cars subtle suspension set up.
Luxury seekers will fall in love with the Passat's interior. It's awash with high quality materials and luscious switchgear, as well as plenty of standard technology - the highlight of the cabin is the 12.3-inch Audi TT-style centre instrument display which can show navigation maps, car data, driving data, or anything else you wish it to - this is a £750 option on Passat's, but in GT spec it comes as standard. 2nd to the 12.3-inch display is the large centre-console touch-screen display, which you control all media through. The centre console also has lots of little storage spaces and cup holders for longer journeys.
It's a big step up from the previous Passat that's for sure. Strangely for a Volkswagen, it's not a dull place to be either; the technology helps, but design implementations such as the full-width air vent on the top dashboard give the Passat (dare I say it?)... an edgy and innovative look.
A huge boot further adds to the Passat's appeal. It's got an extra 47-litres over the older model for a total of 650-litres of space, or 1,750-litres if you fold down the rear seats.
That's 120-litres more than a Mondeo Estate.
Trim and equipment
As mentioned, GT spec is the second highest spec on the Passat Estate and the 2.0 BiTDI engine is the most powerful and expensive engine available. Just to recap, all of this means you get 18-inch alloy wheels, black radiator grille with chrome trimmed louvres, decorative trims on the lower part of the car, front, side, and rear in chrome, LED daytime running lights, and chrome window surrounds, as well as a 12.3-inch Audi TT-style centre instrument display and large centre-console touch-screen display.
Standard equipment also includes alcantara/ leather ergoActive seats, heated windscreen, automatic wipers, LED interior lighting, Convenience pack (ambient lighting, auto-dimming rear-view mirror), 3-zone climate control, start/ stop with regenerative breaking, front and rear parking sensors, full Bluetooth phone and media integration, multi-function steering wheel, and a host of safety features, including the excellent Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) + Driver Alert.
There is a trade off for all of the additional flexibility and power of the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine over a single-turbo diesel engine, and that trade off comes at the pumps.
The official combined cycle of this car is 52.3 miles per gallon, with a 140 g/km CO2 rating. That translates to £130 annual car tax, and although we can't make any claims about fuel consumption, we suspect low- mid 40s is what most drivers will be able to achieve.
This car is a winner. It might be on the wrong side of £36k, but it's packed with technology and equipment and looks the part. It's backed up by a strong engine that'll 'smoke' most hot hatches on the road and it'll transport a family + dog in total comfort on the weekends, whilst soaking up the miles on business days. All in all, the Volkswagen Passat 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION Estate is a top family car.