Our cars: Volkswagen Passat Estate - June
Week ending June 29
Driven this week: 112 miles
Volkswagen Passat Estate review
Even though we’ve had the Passat Estate since last September, I only got the chance to drive it for the first time this week.
I live about 55 miles from the office – 50 of which are on the motorway. So, I’ll admit that I was a bit tired and grumpy when I got in the Passat at the end of the day but, weirdly, I was much happier by the time I got home. The comfortable cabin and compliant ride made life a lot easier. This huge estate is a great choice for frequent motorway forays.
Barnaby's VW Passat on video
Week ending June 22
Current mileage 21,141
Driven this week: 176
Volkswagen Passat Estate review
Confession time. I know that our Passat Estate is a great car. My colleagues certainly agree. At the same time, though, I've always been convinced that I wouldn't buy one; mainly because I find it a bit bland – a bit vanilla. Besides, I've always had my head turned more by our Hyundai i40 Tourer, a car I do like spending time in.
This past weekend has changed my mind, though. I had one of those weekends that required filling a big estate to the brim – carting stuff from one place to the other all across London.
Having done a similar exercise in the Hyundai several weeks before, I must admit that the VW is a much better load-lugger. It's got a squarer loadbay, a less sloping roof and folding the seats flat and stowing the headrests takes seconds. Exactly how it should be done.
I preferred driving it, too. No question that the VW has a quieter, punchier diesel engine. It's also more economical. Also, even though the driving environment is much plainer than the Hyundai's and doesn't even have a glimmer of glamour, I have to concede that it's extremely comfortable.
So, I was wrong. I probably would buy the Passat over the i40 – but, hey, sometimes vanilla tastes good, eh?
Week ending June 15
Driven this week: 429 miles
The Passat Estate’s big boot has been called into action yet again, this time to transport a soapbox racer the short distance from Surrey to Middlesex.
If you’re not sure what a soapbox racer is, it’s a sort of homemade go-kart, although this example was an expensive one for grown-ups. Put it this way, it was very precious cargo as far as the owner was concerned.
Thankfully, once the Passat’s rear seats had been folded down, the racer fitted in without too much drama, helped by the low, long boot floor.
This all means the search goes on for something that can defeat the Passat’s load-carrying capability.
Week ending June 8
Current mileage 20,536
Driven this week: 528
It's been another high-mileage week for the Passat, taking my girlfriend and me to Devon to see her parents. As usual, the Passat was quiet, comfortable and relaxing – perfect, in other words, for the long Friday-evening trudge down the M3 and A303.
It didn't totally cover itself in glory, though. I've noticed that the sat-nav can be slow to update your position – if you've turned off the highlighted route, for example – but it sometimes loses track of the car altogether for a few seconds. This weekend, however, it decided that the Passat was in the middle of a river, when it was in a nearby car park.
Oh well, I suppose even GPS technology isn't always totally accurate.
Week ending June 1
Driven this week 643 miles
It's been a busy couple of weeks for the Passat Estate. First there was a service, carried out at nearly 19,000 miles by Twickenham Volkswagen (0845 124 8675).
I'm glad I took the Passat to them. The staff members were helpful and courteous, phoned to keep me updated during the day, and the car was ready on time and freshly cleaned inside and out. The £235 bill was fair value considering it included a litre of top-up oil and screenwash, and it was the joint-cheapest quote I'd had after the dealer agreed to knock £18 off.
Three days later the Passat whisked a friend and me to Belgium for a week's cycling holiday. It was the ideal holiday car: refined, comfortable, spacious, and relaxing and easy to drive (always good when you're driving on the 'wrong' side of the road). The Vauxhall Zafira that two other friends came in had a taller boot, but the Passat's was still big enough to take two bikes, loads of clothes and all the associated bike gubbins we brought with us.
The VW's comfort and ease of use were welcome after a long day in the saddle so, after a soothing ferry trip back (courtesy of P&O Ferries, 08716 646 464, www.poferries.com), we returned home tired yet relaxed.