VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT SALOON 2015
The 2015 Volkswagen Passat saloon is the eighth of the series, and thus far the best. It is a formidable contender in the family vehicle line, direct competitors including the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia. However the Passat easily outclasses its direct rivals and flawlessly competes with more upmarket cars such as the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 series. For now the German manufacturer has only the diesel version lined up, but it is still as fast and refined as other versions. It is quite practical although I’d say the Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo offer more driving fun.
Our pick: SE Business trim
Engines, Drive and Performance
The vehicle is a comfortable ride and has a good range of engines. It has minimal external noise making the car calm and composed than ever before. The SE models and above offer the driver four different driving modes; Comfort, Normal, Sport and Eco- and the driver s free to modify any setup of their choice. The Comfort mode offers a smooth bump-free ride. The Sport setup sharpens the vehicle effectively without making it too firm. The new Passat also offers smooth transmission between gears making it an enjoyable fun ride.
For now the Passat is available with diesel engines only, ranging from the 1.6-liter TDI to two 2.0-liter TDIs and the top of the range twin-turbo 4MOTION car, with 237bhp, 4×4 drive and a dual-cutch automatic gearbox. Our pick, the SE Business trim has a 2.0-litre 148bhp engine.
MPG, Running costs; CO2
The Passat has always been economical to drive. Volkswagen added a GTE petrol-electric hybrid model to the range that returns 176.5mpg and 37g/km CO2 from its 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor. This is the cheapest to run of the series.
The Passat Blue Motion model returns 76mpg and minimal CO2 emissions of 95g/km. CO2 emissions are higher in the 148bhp 2.0-liter model, but not too high to raise road tax price—this engine can also return 70.6 mpg. The DSG automatic gearbox is a bit higher still with the fuel economy dropping to 64.2 mpg.
The 187bhp 2.0-liter engine is more economical when fitted with a manual gearbox, returning 61.4 mpg and 119g/km CO2. It’s also important to note that wheel size affect fuel economy, with smaller wheeled vehicles being more efficient than large wheeled cars in the range.
Its insurance group is pretty conventional for saloon cars its size, ranging from 15-28. The new Passat comes with the standard Volkswagen warranty of three years/ 60,000-miles.
The German manufacturer seldom fails to remain ahead of the competition in styling. The Passat flawlessly outclasses and out styles its competition. A prominent chromed grille and chrome surrounds for the window make for a classy feel.
The interior comes with a 6.5-inch motion sensitive touchscreen as standard, although a 12.3” Active Info Display version is available in the options list. This doubles up as a digital dial display and transforms into a highly detailed sat-nav display at the touch of a button. The display is crystal clear and responsive. The infotainment system also features a Bluetooth phone connection, DAB digital radio and a pinch-to-zoom feature allowing the driver to see areas of the map in more detail.
The vehicle absorbs most road noise allowing for a quiet, comfortable interior. It also has precise steering which keeps the vehicle going in a straight line with few corrections.
Larger wheels with lower and stiffer suspension sacrifice some of the ride’s comfort.
Both the steering wheel and driver’s seat position offer good visibility to the driver. Parking is okay with the small rear screen in the saloon but Volkswagen offers option such ass all round parking sensors and a reversing camera.
The dashboard is also stylish with its simple design. It has the central air vent running across its length and an analogue clock.
PRACTICALITY AND BOOTSPACE
The new Passat is more practical than the vehicle it replaces. Inside the cabin, both the driver and the passengers have plenty of legroom and headroom. There are plenty of storage spaces in the front in addition to the big door pockets and decent glove box. SE models and above have two cup holders in the transmission tunnel, with a central armrest in the back. The boot is also fitted with a 12v socket.
The boot space is 586 liters— 21 liters larger than the previous Passat and 1000 liters more than the Mazda6 or BMW 3 series. Folding up the seats increases the capacity even more to 1780 liters. In addition, the batteries of the electric motor GTE hybrid model do not encroach on boot space.
RELIABILITY AND SAFETY
As usual, the Volkswagen is a reliable car. It has adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors. The SE models and above include Driver Profile Selection, the ergoComfort driver’s seat and dusk-sensing headlights. The vehicle we tested also adds sat-nav, front fog lights, tinted rear windows and electric-folding door mirrors.
- Upmarket interior
- Low running costs
- Plenty of space inside
- Not as classy as a BMW or Mercedes
- No petrol engine available
- Pricier than some rivals