First drive: VW Passat 2.0 TDI 140

  • Passat gets more refined diesel
  • Smoother to drive
  • Poorer fuel economy and emissions
They say manners maketh the man, but the Passat's success has always come in spite of uncouth diesel engines. No longer.

Volkswagen has just slotted in the latest version of its 138bhp 2.0-litre unit, and this is almost unrecognisable from the motor it replaces thanks to common-rail fuel injection.

This injection system means that power arrives smoothly and progressively instead of in one big lump, and refinement is also much improved, aside from a few rattles at idle.

It's easier to live with, then, but the news isn't all good. Fuel economy has fallen slightly - from 48.7mpg to 47.9mpg - and the new engine sits one company car tax band higher because it emits more carbon dioxide.

The diesel particulate filter that's now fitted as standard is to blame, although this does reduce other harmful agents, such as hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides.

Predictably, prices have risen. However, they're only up by £350, and you're getting the best version yet of this excellent family car.

• Passats with the new diesel are on sale now from £18,190.

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