Volkswagen Passat Review logo

Volkswagen Passat Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      Large family car
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Classy family and business saloon”

Best bits

  • Sharp, neat, but understated styling inside and out and CarPlay and Android Auto on all models
  • Good choice of economical petrol and diesel engines 
  • Spacious, smart interior and a large boot, even in saloon guise here

Not so great

  • The boot is big, but being a proper saloon means it’s not as easily accessed as hatchback rivals
  • The more expensive models really are in the premium pricing sphere 
  • Smart and classy as the saloon is, the estate version is an even more capable car

Read by

Volkswagen Passat Front View

Overall verdict

Volkswagen Passat Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Passat Front Side View

Driving

Volkswagen Passat Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Passat Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Volkswagen Passat exemplifies how the company has carved an enviable position above its mainstream rivals, pitching its models between the once dominant, high-volume mainstream marques and those premium brands."

Volkswagen Passat Front View

That means you’re as likely to utter BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or even the Passat’s close Audi A4 relation, as you might the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia when considering the Passat.


This Passat was originally introduced in 2015, when it quickly won the prestigious European Car of The Year award. It was substantially overhauled for the 2020 model year with a revised engine line-up, improved technology and connectivity. The Passat is available as a saloon, as reviewed here, as well as a handsome, usefully spacious Volkswagen Passat Estate, and as a plug-in hybrid model - the Volkswagen Passat GTE - as both saloon and estate model.


Being a big-selling mainstay in the Volkswagen model line-up it’s offered with a wide range of engines and transmissions, with a choice of three petrol engines of 1.5 and 2.0-litre capacities with outputs spanning from 150PS up to 272PS. 


The turbodiesel engine range offers even more choice, with four power outputs from the 1.6 and 2.0-litre capacities, from 120PS to 240PS. There’s the option of either a six-speed manual transmission, or a seven-speed DSG automatic, the majority of the range being front-wheel drive, with the most powerful models gaining Volkswagen’s 4Motion four-wheel drive system.


The revisions for the 2020 model year didn’t just bring under the skin changes to improve economy and emissions, but also sharpened up the Passat’s already handsome looks, while adding a more comprehensive offering of safety equipment, as well as standard fitment of Volkswagen’s Travel Assist, which allows the Passat to drive at speeds of 130mph (where allowed) in a partially autonomous mode.  


The saloon’s trim levels start with the SE, followed by the SE Nav, SEL, and R-Line. The saloon marketplace is in decline, with competition for buyer’s money from estate cars, SUVs and crossovers diminishing their appeal, but the Passat remains an appealing prospect, however unfashionable or not the regular saloon might be considered in the current marketplace. 


As a foil to the too-obvious premium players the Volkswagen Passat exudes considered classiness, which is a sizeable part of its appeal, as is its neatly designed, spacious interior. 


Spacious, comfortable, considered and classy, there’s a lot to like about the Volkswagen Passat, enough indeed to consider it very worthy of rivalling those omnipresent premium rivals. Not exciting, admittedly, instead the Passat is deeply satisfying, which is arguably more appealing in your daily driver, which makes it easy to recommend here.    


All the car you could really want or need, the Passat is a fine all-round choice for the family or business buyer, or a combination of both. 


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Volkswagen Passat (2011-2015) review.

Is the Volkswagen Passat right for you?

It’s difficult to argue against the Passat, the saloon car might not be the most on-trend vehicle in the car showroom these days, but its endured regardless, and the Passat underlines why. It’s a classy, understated family car, that goes about its business effortlessly, with a spacious interior and sizeable boot.


 It’s bigger inside than most of its premium alternatives, makes the interiors of its mainstream rivals look shoddy in comparison, and while it’s not an SUV, neither are you paying for a lot of four-wheel drive hardware, to buy, and run, that you don’t really need. We reckon anyone, and we mean absolutely anyone, would be delighted to have a Passat, it’s that good an all-rounder, even here in saloon guise.

What’s the best Volkswagen Passat model/engine to choose?

The best Volkswagen Passat for you depends on what you’re intending on using it for. If you’re going to be doing lots of motorway miles then it’s impossible to ignore the long-legged ease and superb fuel consumption offered by the diesel models, and, in particular something like the 150PS 2.0-litre TDI EVO SCR. With the six-speed manual you’ll be able to get in the 60mpg sphere on a long cruise, though we’d take a bit of a hit – around 3-4mpg – and opt for the seven-speed DSG with the same engine, for the ease it brings. 


The TSI turbocharged petrol engines are impressively economical, if not yet in the same league as their diesel alternatives, but if you’re after a Passat that’ll spend more time on shorter drives then the 150PS 1.5 TSI EVO is a fine choice. 


If you can stretch to it, the plug-in hybrid GTE is well worth considering, too. As for trim, all Passats come well specified, but the best balance of connectivity and comfort is the SEL model. 


What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Passat?

Occupying the middle ground between the mainstream and premium makers the Passat has a broad mix of rivals from the Ford Mondeo to the BMW 3 Series and everything around and between them. Perhaps the closest brand match that spans both categories like Volkswagen would be Volvo, with its Volvo S60 saloon, with the Mazda 6 also a little bit of a cut above the humdrum, too, again without quite being elevated to premium status. If you want premium feel and even more space, a Skoda Superb is also well worth considering – it’s vast inside.

Learn more

Volkswagen Passat Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Passat Front Side View

Driving

Volkswagen Passat Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Passat Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification