2014 Volkswagen Passat Executive Style review

An all-new VW Passat is due in 2015, so do the well-equipped, run-out editions of this large family car make sense for private buyers and company car users?

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An all-new Volkswagen Passat is due in 2015, so the company has introduced the Executive and Executive Style run-out models to the current range.

The new cars replace the Highline, Sport and R-Line trims in the Passat range, and both come with a long list of standard equipment.

Executive Style models get the same cabin kit as Executive cars, but also have xenon headlights, 18-inch alloys and sports suspension that's lowered by 1.5cm.

The trims are available with a 158bhp 1.4 petrol, or a choice of 1.6 diesel with 104bhp, or 2.0-litre with 138bhp or 175bhp. Apart from the lower-powered diesel, all the engines can be specified with a DSG automatic gearbox.

We have the high-powered Estate 2.0 TDI DSG Executive Style model on test, which – apart from the four-wheel-drive Alltrack models – is the most expensive Passat you can buy.

What’s the 2014 Volkswagen Passat Executive Style like to drive?

This punchy diesel is a great match for the Passat, because it pulls strongly from low revs and has enough power to make it perfectly relaxed at a fast motorway cruise.

Granted, it’s not the quietest 2.0-litre diesel we’ve tested, but the power delivery is smooth and well matched to the six-speed DSG gearbox. It rarely selects the wrong ratio, and it only hesitates slightly when you put your foot down hard. 

However, while this is a fairly brisk estate, it’s not especially good to drive. The steering is light and precise, but there’s no real sense of feedback through the wheel. 

Most Passats are at their best on the motorway, with a supple ride that makes light work of long journeys. This version is still pretty comfortable, but the lowered suspension diminishes its appeal as a relaxed cruiser, because it means that large ruts and potholes send loud thunks through the cabin, and it fidgets over scruffy town roads, too.

It's far from the quietest car in the class, either. The diesel engine is quite noisy even under moderate acceleration, and the standard 18-inch wheels kick up a din over coarse surfaces, although wind noise is never intrusive.

What’s the 2014 Volkswagen Passat Executive Style like inside?

Volkswagen isn’t known for flamboyant interiors, but the Passat’s cabin is particularly dull. There are no interesting shapes, materials or colours to grab your attention, which is disappointing when you consider that this car costs more than £29,000.

Still, drivers of all shapes and sizes will find it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel, especially since these new models get electric seat adjustment.

As you’d expect in a run-out edition, the standard equipment list is comprehensive. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and leather upholstery with heated front seats are all included.

Cabin space is as generous as you’d expect, although some rivals have even more space. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of room for four adults on long journeys, and the big boot will swallow a family’s holiday bags with ease.

Should I buy one?

If you’re looking for a large, good-value estate car, your best bet is the Skoda Octavia Estate. In real-world terms, it’s just as roomy as the Passat, and if you opt for the Octavia 1.6 TDI SE model you can buy it for less than £19,000, according to our Target Price data.

The Executive and Executive Style Passats do come very well equipped, but then so does a VW Golf Estate in GT trim. Pick the 2.0 TDI engine and it rides brilliantly, too, while being cheaper and better to drive than its big brother, and almost as practical.

Company car users are also better off looking elsewhere. This engine’s CO2 emissions of 136g/km mean that more luxurious rivals are cheaper to run. For lower monthly tax payments, you could have a plusher Audi A6 Avant Ultra or BMW’s 518d Touring. Both offer similar performance and equipment to the VW.

The cheaper versions of the Passat in Executive trim may be worth a look, but this range-topping diesel simply doesn’t do enough to justify its price tag.

What Car? says…


Rivals

Skoda Octavia Estate
Volkswagen Golf Estate

Specification 2.0 TDI 177 DSG
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel automatic
Price from £29,310
Power 175bhp
Torque 280lb ft
0-62mph 8.6 seconds
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions 136g/km

 
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