Volkswagen Passat Review

Find out more about the Volkswagen Passat in the latest Review

  • Pros
  • Plush interior
  • Plenty of space in the cabin
  • Large boot
  • Cons
  • Rather dull-looking exterior
  • Handling lacks feel
  • Not hugely exciting to drive
  • MPG
    49 - 70
  • CO2
    104 - 150 g/km
  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary


The Volkswagen Passat was first released by the German manufacturer way back in 1973, with the current eighth-generation model arriving on our roads in 2015.

The Passat occupies something of a middle ground in the saloon car market, sitting slightly above the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6 and Vauxhall Insignia in terms of quality, yet just below the truly upmarket Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series models.

As far as looks go, the Passat is in line with the design language of other VW cars, with a front end similar to that of the Tiguan, Polo and Golf models – albeit adapted for a saloon-shaped vehicle.

Volkswagen offers the Passat with a range of 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines, while a hybrid GTE model is available, pairing a 1.4-litre petrol engine to an electric motor. The Passat comes in saloon and estate guises, while a more off-road friendly Alltrack estate variation is also available.

Those in the market for a comfortable long-distance cruiser will likely find the Passat’s combination of a plush interior, and economical engines an appealing option.

Latest model

The Passat that is currently on sale was first released in the UK in 2015. It sits on an extended version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, and utilises lightweight materials such as aluminium and vacuum-formed steel to keep weight down.

There are seven levels of specification available with the Passat – the entry-level S, BlueMotion, SE Business, GT, Alltrack (estate only), R-Line, and the hybrid GTE model.

As far as performance figures go, the Passat can be specified with everything from a 118bhp, 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, all the way up to the flagship 2.0-litre, 237bhp twin-turbo diesel power plant.

The plug-in hybrid GTE model pairs a 154bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined power output of 218bhp.

With such variation in performance figures, there is understandably some difference in fuel consumption. The most economical of the Passat range is the GTE hybrid, which features a claimed combined cycle economy figure of 156mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 40g/km.

At the other end of the scale is the Passat estate, which when paired with the 218bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and a DSG gearbox manages 50.4mpg on the combined cycle. CO2 emissions for this model stand at 146g/km.

Next to rivals from the likes of Ford and Mazda, the Volkswagen Passat has a far more desirable interior. The fixtures and fittings are of a high quality, and while they might not be on quite the same level as those found in a BMW, Audi or Mercedes, they aren’t far off.

Value for money

The pick of the Passat range would likely be the SE Business model, thanks to its combination of affordability and standard specification. The starting price for this model is £24,410, which provides you with features such as 17-inch alloys, satellite navigation, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, adaptive cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

Those who are willing to miss out on the standard-fit satellite navigation and adaptive cruise control might find the cheaper S-specification model more appealing. Priced from £23,170, you get 16-inch alloys, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6.5-inch colour screen as standard.

BlueMotion models cost from £24,050 and have all of the same standard features as the S models, but BlueMotion aerodynamic styling and run-flat tyres for greater fuel efficiency.

The Passat GT builds on the SE Business’ specification and gains even more luxurious features as standard, including 18-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control and Alcantara upholstery. GT models cost from £26,515.

R-Line models are priced from £28,635 and gain sporty-looking features such as trapezoidal exhausts, 18-inch alloys, R-Line Race upholstery and an R-Line steering wheel.

The Passat GTE hybrid starts at £37,015. While this is rather pricey, you do gain significant improvements in fuel economy and CO2 emissions, and a generous level of standard specification.

The Passat Alltrack is only available as an estate, and costs from £31,755. This features a raised ride height, four-wheel drive, and stylish cladding for protection from rough terrain. It also features standard equipment such as three-zone climate control, 18-inch alloys, satellite navigation and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Looks and image

Summing up the Volkswagen Passat’s appearance is a tad difficult, as looks are subjective. While it certainly isn’t an unattractive car, it is rather dull-looking – especially in the lower trim levels.

That said, though, the higher-specification R-Line models – especially the estate variants – look rather smart, thanks to larger alloy wheels, chrome brightwork and an R-Line body kit.

As far as badge prestige goes, while the Passat might not be able to stack up to the likes of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or an Audi A4, next to a Ford Mondeo or a Mazda 6 – the Volkwagen certainly looks like the more premium option.

This trend certainly carries over into the Passat’s interior, which is arguably is strong point. While it isn’t over-the-top in its luxuriousness, it is smart, well-designed and laid out in a thoughtful manner. The higher-specification models, with their piano black paneling on the dashboard and centre console could certainly hold their own against the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

The main controls are all organised in a logical fashion, and are well within the driver’s reach. The touchscreen is clear and easy to read, and thanks to handy shortcut buttons located around its perimeter, easy to navigate, too.

Video Review

Space and practicality

While the Volkswagen Passat might be similarly priced to compact executives such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, in reality it is closer in size to an Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series. This means there is a huge amount of cabin space on offer up front, with plenty of head and shoulder room.

Moving to the rear seats, and space remains generous. Two adults will be able to ride in the back in plenty of comfort, thanks to an impressive amount of leg- and headroom.

The only spanner in the works is a rather large transmission tunnel rising out of the floor in front of the middle seat. On longer journeys, adults may find this becomes uncomfortable, although children shouldn’t have too much of a problem here.

The Passat also does well with regards to load space. In saloon guise, the boot is a capacious 585 litres with the rear seats in place. This extends to 1,152 litres with the seats folded down.

As an estate, the Passat’s load capacity increases yet again. With the back seats up, there is 650 litres of storage space available, and 1,780 litres with the rear seats folded down – which is more than what you get from the likes of the Volvo V70.

It is worth noting, however, that the GTE models do lose out in boot space because of its battery pack. The saloon drops from 586 litres to 402 litres of space, while the GTE estate manages 483 litres.

What’s under the bonnet? 

Excluding the GTE hybrid, the Passat is available exclusively with a range of four-cylinder diesel engines.

These include a 1.6-litre unit, a 2.0-litre engine, as well as a 2.0-litre bi-turbo power plant. The 1.6-litre block produces 118bhp, while the 2.0-litre is available with either 148bhp or 187bhp.

The top-of-the-line 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine produces 237bhp, and is only available in GT- and R-Line-specification models.

Volkwagen’s Passat GTE uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine that is paired with an electric motor for a total power output of 215bhp.

Running costs

On the whole, the Passat range won’t be hugely expensive to keep running thanks to its line-up of diesel engines and hybrid option.

As far as the diesel-powered Passats go, the most efficient of the line-up is the BlueMotion-specification saloon. With the 1.6-litre engine paired to a manual gearbox, it comes with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 76.3mpg on the combined cycle, and CO2 emissions of 95g/km.

A Passat estate with the 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine represents the most uneconomical choice. In this guise, claimed fuel consumption sits at 50.4mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 146g/km.

For out-and-out fuel economy, opt for the Passat GTE. In saloon guide, the Volkswagen claims it can achieve a fuel economy figure of 156mpg and CO2 emissions of 40g/km.

Things to look out for

All new Passats are covered by Volkswagens three-year or 60,000-mile warranty as standard, so any problems that arise during that time will be able to be dealt with easily.

If you decide to buy an older Passat – especially those built prior to 2011 – be sure to check oil levels regularly, particularly on diesel examples. Fail to do this, and you could see reliability fall by the wayside.

The quality of the interior shouldn’t prove too much of a problem, although it would be wise to inspect the car’s electrical systems thoroughly. If you’re purchasing an older Passat that’s done a fair number of miles, make sure you give the suspension a look over as well.

Other issues that have been flagged up with older models include problems with the DSG automatic gearbox, as well as the steering systems. Again, make sure you inspect a car thoroughly prior to purchase.


As far as rivals go, the Passat has a fair few. These include the more everyday likes of the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6, as well as the more upmarket Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series in the compact executive class.

As far as pricing goes, the Passat occupies territory roughly in between the two ends of the market. An entry-level Passat costs only slightly less than a high-specification Ford Mondeo Titanium, although prices can rise to more than £40,000 for the top-flight models – nudging the likes of the BMW 5 Series.

Depreciation warning

As far as depreciation values go, the Passat fairs fairly well. As an example, a Passat in SE Business guise with the 2.0-litre, 148bhp engine will cost around £14,500-£17,000. A new model in the same specification – which was first bought to market in 2015 – will set you back upwards of £24,535.

Which Passat to Pick

Trims Explained

Including the hybrid GTE, the Passat trim levels are fairly straight forward. All models are available as a saloon or an estate, aside from the Alltrack.


Starting price for a new model:



Starting price for a new model:


SE Business

Starting price for a new model:



Starting price for a new model:



Starting price for a new model:



Starting price for a new model:



Starting price for a new model:


Motors Choice

1.6 TDI GT 5dr DSG [Panoramic Roof]

  • 1.6 L
  • Diesel
  • Semi Automatic
  • 120 BHP
  • 5 Door
  • Estate


  1. Available with a range of different diesel engines
  2. No pure petrol option available
  3. Volkswagen do offer a plug-in hybrid in the shape of the Passat GTE
  4. Prices for an entry-level Passat start at £23,170
  5. An Alltrack variant with improved off-road capability is available
  6. The Passat offers a huge amount of interior space
  7. All models in the Passat range feature a decent amount of standard kit
  8. The Ford Mondeo is cheaper, but doesn’t carry as much badge prestige
  9. Not the most exciting car to look at
  10. Interior is well appointed, and has a premium look to it