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Volkswagen Passat GTE Review

Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat

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Volkswagen Passat

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Volkswagen Passat

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Volkswagen Passat

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Volkswagen Passat

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  • Launched in 2015
  • Large family car
  • PHEV
  • Launch year
    2015
  • Body type
    Large family car
  • Fuel type
    PHEV

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Electrified, sensible, stylish family car

Best bits

  • Potential EV-only range is achievable with care
  • Seamless integration of the hybrid drive to the petrol powertrain 
  • Huge standard equipment in GTE guise, huge practicality if you buy the estate

Not so great

  • All that technology doesn’t come cheaply, with the GTEs being among the most expensive Passats to buy
  • The added weight does blunt the Passat’s handling a touch
  • Newer rivals are able to offer a bit more range from their plug-in hybrid systems

Read by

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front Side View

Overall verdict

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front View

Driving

Volkswagen Passat GTE Charging Port

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Passat GTE Rear View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Taking all the strong virtues of the Passat saloon or estate and adding the ability to glide around guilt free in electric-only mode only adds to the Passat’s enormous, rounded appeal. As a stepping-stone into an electrically powered future it’s a convincing one, and it comes with very few compromises.  We reckon the standard Passat is all the car you could ever need or want, and the GTE builds on this even further."

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front Side View

The Volkswagen Passat exemplifies a level-headed, desirable and understated choice in among a huge number of rivals from both premium and mainstream rivals, and the Passat GTE heads the line-up. It’s Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrid model of the Passat, giving customers more choice than the usual petrol and diesel Volkswagen Passat and Passat Estate. Like them, it is offered in saloon and estate bodystyles, with the estate being the bigger selling of the pair.


Originally introduced in 2015 along with the rest of the Passat range, it too was face-lifted in 2019, with the battery pack increasing in capacity to allow 34 miles of EV only driving in the post-2019 Passat GTE. Obviously that maximum battery only range depends on how you drive it, with ambient temperature and your use of things like the climate control impacting negatively on that potential, but even then it should be enough electric-only range for the needs of typical daily driving. 


That gives the Passat real duality of purpose, allowing drivers the possibility of doing shorter daily drives on battery power alone, while retaining the long-legged potential, and ease, of a conventional petrol engine for longer trips. 


You can choose when to use that battery power, too, as while it defaults to electric vehicle (EV) mode when you start it, pushing a button allows you to use hybrid mode, which combines the efforts of both the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with the electric motor. Other driving modes include battery hold, allowing you to retain the battery’s charge to use at your destination rather than immediately from source, as well as charge mode which uses the engine to re-charge the battery on the move. A GTE mode primes both systems to use their combined power to provide the best performance possible.  


That hybrid system is plug in, which means you can charge the Passat GTE at home via a conventional wall socket or charging box, or when out and about using the public charging network. Doing so will take anywhere from around two to four hours depending on what you’ve plugged it in to, the benefits of the plug-in hybrid system meaning you can make substantial savings on running costs, not just fuel, either, but BIK tax if you’re running it as a company car. 


That plug-in technology doesn’t come cheap, which sees the GTE sit at the costlier end of the conventionally powered Passat range. Its standard equipment list does reflect its high price point, with the GTE sitting above the SEL trim and adding GTE signature styling and equipment, and the GTE Advance model gaining all that and more, to include Volkswagen’s most advanced infotainment system which includes its Active Info Display – a configurable digital screen that replaces the conventional instrumentation. 


Arguably the most competent model of an already accomplished, desirable all-rounder, the plug-in hybrid Passat GTE doesn’t add any real compromises into the mix, instead only adding the its conventionally powered relation’s breadth of ability.

Is the Volkswagen Passat GTE right for you?

Like its regular non plug-in relations, it’s difficult to make a strong case against the Passat, and the GTE only makes that more so. That electric-only potential means you can do things like the school run with a clear conscience, not dropping tailpipe emissions while dropping off the kids. 


The potential EV range really should cover most people’s daily needs, and on longer journeys using hybrid mode, it’s possible to achieve excellent economy figures – if not quite the 180.8mpg Volkswagen quotes – think around 70-80mpg without trying too hard. 


Passats have long appealed to sensible drivers, underlined by its estate version accounting for double the sales of the saloon, and the huge preference for turbodiesel power, but diesel’s recent bad press, allied to the huge potential savings you could make running a Passat GTE do make it a very desirable choice indeed. If you’re not quite sure a full electric vehicle is right for you yet, then the Passat GTE mixes the best of both worlds, and it does so rather convincingly, too. 

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

The Passat GTE only comes with a single powertrain (albeit two mated together) its plug-in system using a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with assistance from an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. There is a choice of models though, with the GTE being the standard model, it coming with everything you could possibly need as standard, while the GTE Advance adds kit you might like, things like Volkswagen’s most advanced infotainment, larger alloy wheels and three-zone climate control, but, in reality, are unlikely to miss if you don’t have them. 


That GTE Advance puts the price into the near £40,000 spectrum, and above in the estate, so we’d recommend the GTE model, and with the Passat we’d always default to the estate, not just because of the huge practicality it offers, but because it also looks better as an estate.

What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Passat GTE?

Plug-in hybrids are becoming increasingly common in car manufacturers’ brochures, so there’s quite a sizeable pool of rivals out there to compare the Passat GTE with. The most obvious is Skoda’s Superb iV in both hatchback and estate, which is a bit larger and offers a slightly better potential EV only distance. 


Mercedes-Benz has the C300e plug-in in estate and saloon guises, as is the BMW 3 Series with the 330e model, while plug-in models are rapidly being added to rivals’ model ranges as the switch to electric mobility accelerates. If you’re ready to jump ship completely, you could buy a Tesla Model 3 for around the same price as a Passat GTE Advance, while other pure EVs are available at less than the Passat GTE’s price, though these do come with some traditional EV compromises.

Learn more

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Passat GTE Front View

Driving

Volkswagen Passat GTE Charging Port

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Passat GTE Rear View

Prices, versions and specification

Interested in buying a Volkswagen Passat?

View Volkswagen Passat cars for sale