Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review: report 4

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 1507 Price £40,860 Target Price £35,665 Price as tested £40,860 Test economy 104.8mpg Official economy 194.9mpg (combined)


25 May 2020 – An interruption to normal service

Volkswagen’s reputation for premium-brand-worrying quality has seemed under threat recently, with the slightly cheaper feel of newcomers such as its T-Roc small SUV. The Passat, however, is an old-school VW, with that rock-hewn solidity that came to characterise the company's products. The doors shut with a ‘thunk’, the interior plastics all feel top-notch and everything operates with a reassuringly mechanical action. 

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

Everything, that is, apart from the flap that hides the charging port in the front grille; it feels flimsy and demands caution to prevent it snapping shut or it can jam. On one such occasion I simply couldn’t get it open again then, once I did, it wouldn’t latch.

No problem, I thought, I can just tape it shut… but I hadn’t contended with a warning message – and accompanying insistent chime – that told me that it was not shut properly every time my speed dipped below 10mph. On a slow commute, that was very often indeed.

Volkswagen Passat GTE long-term test review

There was nothing for it but to take it in for repair. Now, peace has returned and I am a lot more careful.

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