With the Volkswagen Passat GTE, the German brand had been doing the automotive equivalent of the hokey cokey. First this plug-in hybrid was in, introduced back in 2016 and impressing with a combination of practical family capabilities with frugal running costs. Then it was out – pulled from sale in 2018 due to a bottleneck in getting cars certified for new emissions standards.
Now, though, the Passat GTE is back on sale, offering a choice of saloon and estate bodystyles. This time around it brings a higher-capacity battery, for an official 34 mile range, at speeds of up to 80mph, in fully electric mode, and low CO2 emissions that will be particularly appreciated by company car users, thanks to the low rates of Benefit-in-Kind tax it brings.
The electric side of things is paired with a 1.4-litre petrol engine, and the two combine to give nippy performance when you need it. However, you’ll have to plug in regularly, though, if you’re to get the most out of its fuel-saving credentials, as your real-world economy with its petrol engine running alone won’t be great.
The GTE has few direct rivals; the Passat competes with family saloons and hatches such as the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6, but its closest hybrid executive rivals are the smaller and more expensive BMW 330e and the Mercedes C300de.
Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions of the Passat GTE, and to see how it compares with its rivals. And if you’re ready to plug in to the hybrid revolution, head to our New Car Buying pages to get a great discount on your new car purchase.