Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI SE
Dealer price £8515
Private price £8270
You need space so you buy an estate, and you assume you have to give up style and a good driving experience. That isn’t the case with the Volkswagen Passat, which has a classy image, a cavernous interior and a supple ride.
This generation of Passat handles safely and securely, and has a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. You and your family will also be comfortable in the spacious cabin, the driving position is fully adjustable and there’s a logical, well-laid-out dashboard. Visibility and refinement are impressive, too.
Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre 138bhp diesel engine feels more than capable of dealing with large loads and pulls strongly from low revs. SE-spec cars get rear electric windows, air-con and a CD player as standard, so there’s little point going for any of the more expensive trims.
Reliability is another of the Passat’s strengths. The interior materials should prove durable and hard-wearing, but check all electric systems (such as lights, air-con and windows) thoroughly. It’s also very important to have the suspension checked on high-mileage cars, especially if you intend on carrying a lot of heavy cargo or towing.
There are cheaper estates on the used market from the likes of Citroën and Renault, but the Passat’s combination of 46.3mpg, competitive servicing costs and better build quality means we had no doubts about putting it first.
2.0 D-4D TR
It’s effortless to drive and the interior is comfortable and has simple controls. The TR is well equipped and has low running costs.
2.0D SE, ’09/09, £12,565
Practicality is the V70’s strong point; the load space is enormous and the rear seats fold down flat. The boot is well thought out, too.