Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review: report 3

Volkswagen's evergreen Passat has recently received a mid-life nip and tuck, including the reintroduction of the plug-in hybrid GTE. Does a longer all-electric range extends its appeal?...

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

The car Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE Advance 1.4 TSI PHEV 

Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor

Why it’s here Can plug-in hybrid power keep the ageing Passat relevant in a large family car market dominated by SUVs?

Needs to Blend tax-friendly emissions and excellent economy with the practicality, comfort and style to justify its price tag

Miles covered 1302 Price £40,860 Target Price £35,665 Price as tested £40,860 Test economy 104.8mpg Official economy 194.9mpg (combined)

29 April 2020 – Every little helps

At challenging times such as these, you really come to realise just how lucky you are – and also how little you're doing to help. So where possible in recent weeks, I’ve been volunteering myself – and my Volkswagen Passat – as a delivery service.

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

When my wife Emma and I heard that brilliant local chef Robbie Kurz had initiated a 'meals on wheels' scheme via the kitchens of the nearby Church of the Good Shepherd, that seemed an ideal place to start. And we couldn’t have chosen a better steed in which to do it; for short local runs with lots of stops, the plug-in hybrid Passat GTE is absolutely perfect. We can easily do the whole thing (around 10-15 drops) on a single charge, so we don’t have to continually run the gauntlet of the petrol station.

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

But the Passat in Advance spec has other hidden benefits, too. Minimising the risk of transferring germs is key when visiting vulnerable people, and the fact that the tailgate can be opened and closed automatically from inside the car is a huge bonus, as is the option of opening (and closing) it hands-free by simply waving your foot under the rear bumper – particularly useful when your hands are full. And the estate’s boot is huge – plenty large enough to swallow a couple of large insulated boxes full of meals.

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

Since we began hitting the road, my in-laws have gone into self-isolation, so the Passat is now doing a weekly round trip of a little over 30 miles to buy and deliver their shopping, along with a couple of neighbours who are in a similar situation. Pre-lockdown, in cooler conditions and heavy traffic, I was struggling to cover 20 miles on battery power alone, but as spring has sprung and the roads have emptied, I’ve twice managed that 32-mile journey without troubling the petrol engine.

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

And that’s without really trying. I haven’t moderated my driving style or turned off power-sapping devices such as the air-con or heater fan. My new target is to match the official 35-mile range for a single charge and, having signed up the Passat for deliveries from the local Sutton Foodbank, we should get plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks.

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