IF YOU THINK hybrids are all bizarrely shaped, impractical and slow, the Passat Estate GTE might well come as a pleasant surprise. For a start, it looks very much like any other Passat, save for a bit of blue detailing and some funky LED daytime running lights up front.

The interior is as classy and comfortable as you’d expect, while the squared-off rear means there’s plenty of luggage space whether the rear seats are up or down. And as the GTE Advance is right near the top of the Passat range, it’s also very well equipped.

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Then there’s the performance. The 1.4-litre turbocharged engine normally has 148bhp but, thanks to the electric assistance of the hybrid system, the GTE has a hefty 215bhp – enough for a brisk 0-62mph time of 7.6sec. Thankfully, it also handles very tidily.

Of course, that big battery pack doesn’t only provide acceleration and speed, it’s also good for a claimed electric-only range of 31 miles. Even in the real world, it can achieve around 20 miles without too much trouble – enough for the majority of people’s daily commute.

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