The Volkswagen Passat has some of the best diesel engines on the market, so it’s little surprise to see the range represented in our final Green COTY shortlist. It might surprise you that we’ve picked the 2.0-litre turbodiesel model instead of the 1.6, however.
The 138bhp 2.0 TDI has 236lb ft of torque, enough to help the Passat from rest to 62mph in a whisker under 10 seconds. However, it manages to deliver this level of performance while emitting just 119g/km of CO2 and returning a Government fuel economy average of 61.4mpg.
Of course, it can’t quite match that figure when it comes to our own True MPG, which is carried out on British roads instead of a laboratory - but the even in this sterner test the Passat delivers 54.8mpg, a very respectable figure for a five-seat saloon.
The Passat’s dynamics are set up for motorways, where it will happily cruise for hour after hour. Its ride quality is more fidgety on urban roads, though, and the steering is too uncommunicative to really involve you.
The cabin is a stronger proposition; it’s a little on the dull side visually, but it’s hard to fault the simple layout, the choice of materials and the excellent build quality. The 565-litre boot is decent, too.
Our preferred trim, SE, costs a little more than the entry-level S spec, but brings air-con, alloy wheels, USB audio connections, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, cruise control and auto wipers.
There are greener Passats on paper, such as the 1.6 Bluemotion Tech - but it can’t quite match the everyday usability of its bigger-engined stablemate, which brings efficiency without any obvious compromises. The 2.0 Bluemotion Tech is the best diesel Passat - and one of the best full-sized diesel saloons out there.