Volkswagen Passat logo

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat Estate front

heycar review

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    Heaps of space in the back

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    Room for everyone

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    Tastefully decked out inside

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    Smart and sophisticated

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    A boot that goes on and on

Need to know

Volkswagen has been building the Passat Estate for over forty years, and if you need to carry a lot of stuff over a long distance, then it remains one of the best options available. A recent 2019 facelift to this eighth generation model overhauled the looks and interior, and introduced a new range of trim levels. There are no less than eight to choose from: SE, SE Nav, SEL, R-Line, R-Line Edition, GTE, GTE Advance and finally, the off-roading Alltrack. It features classy styling, a comfortable and spacious interior, and an impressive range of engines that covers everything from smooth petrols to frugal diesels and a plug-in hybrid. Most estate buyers opt for diesel engines though, and the latest 2.0-litre models (in either 148bhp or 187bhp guise) are remarkably efficient while still providing strong performance. The majority of the range comes paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but the lower powered 2.0-litre diesel and entry-level 1.5-litre petrol are available with a manual.

Common questions

  • What is the most efficient version of the Passat Estate?

    The Passat GTE is one of the quickest versions, yet also one of the most frugal too. How? Well, it’s a plug-in hybrid, so it comes with an on-board electric motor and battery pack that need recharging from a wall socket or public station. Combined with a gutsy 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, this system has a combined output of 215bhp, but emits just 39g/km of CO2.

  • Does the Passat Estate make a good used car?

    Passat Estates are often used as workhorses, so the most popular used models are diesels that will often have covered many miles, so if your budget allows, then we would opt for the 2.0-litre model in at least SE trim, since the entry-level 1.6 TDI in S trim is not the smoothest.

  • What is the difference between the Alltrack and the standard Estate?

    The Alltrack model bridges the gap between the Passat and VW’s SUVs with a standard four-wheel drive system, automatic gearbox, raised suspension, and tough exterior styling that includes extra underbody protection and plastics cladding around the wheels.

  • What size is the boot on the Passat Estate?

    Few cars can carry as much as a Passat in estate guise, and the latest model is no exception, with a 650-litre capacity with the rear seats up. That amount swells to 1,780 litres with the back bench folded, although the four-wheel drive Alltrack can’t carry quite as much.

Exterior design

The Passat Estate is a smart looking five-door car, with a timeless design that should age well. All models come with at least 17-inch alloys, fog lights, and a four bar chrome grille that runs the whole width of the bonnet, before blending into the LED headlights. It’s actually a little shorter than the previous generation (2010 - 2015) but with more space between the wheels to improve the amount of passenger space on board. Sportier R-Line versions come with a bodykit, larger wheels, and unique front and rear bumpers, while the ‘Edition’ version gets the same upgrades, but instead of featuring chrome detailing on the grille, around the windows and exhaust tips, it has a gloss black finish instead, and matching black alloys. The Alltrack looks ready for rougher terrain, with a ride height raised by 27.5mm, plastic cladding around the whole underbody to protect it from rocks, and subtle Alltrack badges.

Interior design

The Passat Estate is roomy inside, with an excellent driving position that comes with such a wide range of adjustment that almost anyone can get comfortable behind the wheel. Visibility is great, despite the large overall size of the car, and it comes with front and rear parking sensors come as standard to help out in tight spots. Cabin quality is a cut above what you’d find in its rivals, with squidgy soft plastics and precise shut lines between all the panels, so it feels solid and expensive. Those in the front are treated with plenty of useful cubbies, deep storage bins and a generous glovebox, plus a padded central armrest, while passengers in the back have loads of legroom, and even more headroom than in the saloon version. All models come with at least an 8.0-inch touch screen infotainment display, with DAB, USB and Bluetooth connectivity (plus sat-nav if you go for the SE Nav trim or above) that is easy to operate and fairly quick to respond to your inputs. The boot is not just big, but clever too, so it offers 40:20:40 split folding, and you can drop the seat backs by pulling a lever, while there is also an adjustable floor so you can choose between maximum capacity or no loading lip.

What to look out for

The GTE Advance version gets a set of digital dials that display sat-nav information right into the driver’s eyeline, and an upgraded 9.2-inch infotainment system that is optional on other trims. They make the interior feel very hi-tech, but we don’t think it’s worth the extra cash. Unusually, the more powerful 2.0-litre is actually more efficient than the 1.6-litre, returning close to 60mpg thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology, and emitting just 128g/km. If you pick the GTE Hybrid then the Passat has an electric-only range of 30 miles with a fully charged battery, and incredibly low CO2 emissions make it a very affordable company car. The Passat Estate is a good financial prospect for private buyers, thanks to its high predicted residual costs (better than almost all rivals) and low running costs, although the four-wheel drive versions are more expensive to buy, and less economical than the standard models.

What we think

The Passat Estate is a compelling choice for family buyers. An enormous boot, stylish cabin and impressive list of standard kit are big plus points, along with punchy yet frugal diesels that make it the perfect companion on long trips. It feels plush without a premium price tag.

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