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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Passat is stylish, good to drive, and has a quality interior

Against The boot capacity is only average

Verdict A solid, conventional, yet desirable estate car

Go for… 2.0 TDI S 138bhp

Avoid… 1.6 FSI petrol

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Volkswagen Passat Estate full review with expert trade views

There aren't many bad things to say about the Volkswagen Passat Estate, but we may as well get them out of the way first. To start with, despite its large exterior dimensions, there's not as much boot space as you might think. It isn't as roomy as a Honda Accord, for example, and doesn't have as many innovative features. Then there's the electric handbrake, which takes a lot of getting used to.

There's still plenty to like about the Passat, though. It has a five-star Euro NCAP rating, the cabin is large and comfortable with great seats, the driving position is fully adjustable and there's a logical, well laid out dashboard. All round visibility is impressive, too.

Last, but not least, the Passat is an excellent drive. Unlike its predecessor, the chassis now feels nimble and alert, and the ride comfortable. Models fitted with the optional Sport suspension make for an even sharper drive.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Good ride quality and excellent size. Very functional. Modern, popular car

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Avoid the 113bhp 1.6-litre FSI petrol. It's just about okay when there's only you in the car, but life becomes a struggle with a full load on board.

Our favourite engine is the 138bhp 2.0 TDI. It's not the most powerful in the range, but it offers more-than-adequate performance. There's another, more powerful 168bhp 2.0 TDI unit which gives a very nice drive, while the 104bhp 1.9 TDI offers reasonable performance thanks to strong pulling power.

Fastest of all is the four-wheel-drive 3.2-litre 4Motion with its 247bhp petrol V6. Other petrol engines include a 148bhp 2.0-litre and the Golf GTI's 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo.

Top SEL trim provides leather as standard, Sport versions have electric seats, while SE cars get rear electric windows. But, even the base S is adequately kitted out, with air-con and a CD player, so there's precious little point in buying any of the more expensive ones.

Trade view

John Owen

The benchmark large estate car. Impeccable build quality and fantastic space

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

If you want to buy a low-cost estate then go in search of a Vauxhall, Ford, Citroen or Peugeot - the Passat sits in a more exclusive club. Fellow members include the Volvo V50 and the Honda Accord Tourer, and all hold on to their value rather well, particularly the diesels.

The Passat's 104bhp 1.9 TDI engine is the most economical of the range with an official 47.9mpg, but you should still be happy enough with the 46.3mpg of the 138bp 2.0 TDI, while the more powerful 168bhp version manages 44.1mpg. The V6 has the worst fuel consumption, returning a claimed 28mpg.

Insurance is high on the V6, too, with a group 16 rating, but most of the rest of the range is in group 12. Despite the premium badge, servicing costs are reasonable, and only a little higher than you'll pay for the equivalent Mondeo or Vectra.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Good ride quality and excellent size. Very functional. Modern, popular car

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Check the Vehicle and Operator Safety Agency website at www.vosa.gov.uk to see if any recalls affect the model you're looking at - a main dealer will be able to tell you if the car you're interested in has had the necessary recall work completed. The most serious concerns a risk of fire on 2.0 TDI models fitted with the six-seed manual gearbox.

The interior should prove durable and hard-wearing, but check all electric systems 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. The steering system can give problems, so make sure the power assistance feels even and consistent, and keep an ear out for any unusual noises.

Trade view

John Owen

The benchmark large estate car. Impeccable build quality and fantastic space

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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