Volkswagen Phaeton Saloon full 9 point review
The only engine available in the Phaeton is a 236bhp 3.0 V6 TDI diesel unit. It offers a good mix of power, performance and low running costs, and comes with four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission as standard.
Ride & Handling
The standard air-sprung suspension is adjustable for both firmness and ride height, but the Phaeton doesn't ride as well as some newer rivals. Body control in corners is pretty impressive – especially given the car's size and weight – but the speed-sensitive steering is disconcertingly numb.
Criticising the Phaeton here is just nit-picking. Mostly, it's very quiet, although the diesel engine can be a little noisy when you're pressing on. Despite double-glazing, a small amount of wind noise penetrates, but it’s only noticeable because the engine and tyres are so hushed.
Buying & Owning
The Phaeton is expensive to service and both models fall into the top band for company car tax. In addition, resale values are awful because the VW badge isn't desirable enough at this end of the market. The Phaeton makes far more sense as a used buy than as a new one.
Quality & Reliability
Inside, you get lots of leather and wood, but the design of the cabin feels distinctly dated and the switchgear isn't as classy as that in rivals. In fact, the far cheaper Golf hatchback is more appealing inside. Volkswagen's reliability record is good rather than great.
Safety & Security
Twin front and side airbags are joined by full-length curtain airbags mounted above the doors. Side impact protection is further enhanced for rear passengers by side airbags. Hugely powerful brakes and five types of electronic driver’s aids are on hand to rein in the Phaeton should things start to get out of hand.
Behind The Wheel
Electric adjustability of the sumptuous seats and steering wheel means all manner of shapes and sizes can dial in the perfect driving position. The sheer number of gadgets can be distracting, though.
Space & Practicality
Like most luxury cars, the Phaeton has loads of luggage space and an enormous cabin; there are standard (5055mm-long) and long-wheelbase (5175mm) variants, but even the shorter model is hugely roomy. On the down side, Volkswagen doesn't offer the vast range of rear-seat comfort features that rivals do.
The list of standard equipment is as long as you'd expect. However, notable attractions include four-zone climate control, satellite-navigation, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a CD changer and a digital radio.