The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
All Passat Estates offer adjustment for lumbar support and height on the driver’s seat. There's a greater breadth of adjustment than you’ll find as standard on many rivals; combined with plentiful steering wheel reach and height movement, the Passat Estate is one of the more comfortable cars in its class.
The dashboard is also simple to use; all the most frequently used knobs and buttons are clearly labelled and easy to reach. A useful option is the Active Info Display, which comprises a 12.3in screen with configurable digital instruments that take the place of the standard dials. I allows far more information to be displayed clearly just below your eye-line. You can also add a head-up display, but this projects is information onto a plastic screen and isn't very clear in our experience. We’d avoid the extra cost.
An automatic parking system (which senses if a space is big enough and steers into it for you) is available as an optional extra, together with rear-view or 360deg camera systems. Blind spot warning is also available.
Sat nav and infotainment
All versions come with an 8.0in touchscreen that offers super-clear graphics and very user-friendly menus. There's also DAB radio, Bluetooth and wireless smartphone mirroring, so you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto without plugging your phone in. We prefer the BMW 3 Series Touring's system, though; its rotary-dial controller is far more intuitive, less distracting, and consequently safer to use on the move.
If you move up to SEL trim you get 3D sat-nav maps and a speed limit display. Online features include live traffic and weather information, as well as convenient services such as assistance with finding a parking space.