Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Category: Estate car

Section: Performance & drive

Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD rear right tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD front tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD rear right tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE 2019 LHD boot open
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD steering wheel detail
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD low front tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD right panning
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD front right static
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD rear right static
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD front tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD rear right tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE 2019 LHD boot open
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD steering wheel detail
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD low front tracking
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD right panning
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD front right static
  • Passat Estate R-line 2020 RHD rear right static
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Diesels are still a popular choice for large family estate cars, and there’s a choice of four for the Passat Estate. The 1.6 TDI diesel produces 119bhp and is an adequate performer, but only if you work it hard. There’s also an all-new 2.0 TDI EVO 150 with 148bhp. We haven’t tested this engine yet but it should offer a good combination of power and fuel economy. The more powerful 187bhp 2.0 TDI SCR 190 variant is worth opting for if you want more assertive acceleration, while top of the range R-Line (and the limited-edition R-Line Edition) models get the option of a 237bhp 2.0 BiTDI 240 engine teamed with four-wheel drive, and put simply, they go like stink.

Moving on to petrol engines, the range starts with the 148bhp 1.5 TSI EVO, which, again, we’re yet to test. The 178bhp 2.0 TSI 190 should be plenty muscular for most; it pulls strongly from low engine speeds and has enough clout to haul five people and their luggage around with ease. Finally, there’s the top-spec 268bhp 2.0 TSI 272 petrol; if you’re looking for something quick but also effortless, this engine, with its strong, linear power delivery, will satisfy you. It’s only available on the limited-edition R-Line Edition trim level, though. 

Only the EVO engines are available with a manual gearbox – all the rest get a seven-speed DSG automatic ‘box. It can hesitate a little from a standing start but, once you're rolling, snaps eagerly up and down its gears and kicks down promptly when you demand a lower gear. Don’t forget there are also the plug-in hybrid Passat GTE models, which offer genuine electric-car immediacy. And there's also a rough-road focused Passat Alltrack.

Suspension and ride comfort

First, it’s best to avoid the larger wheel options to get the best ride quality. The standard passive dampers give a decent ride, but around town tend to thud over potholes.

The optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) offers three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Even Comfort mode doesn’t quite iron out crumbly town roads, but it does keep things smooth and wafty over bigger bumps and at higher speeds. The ride is still mostly comfortable in Normal, although Sport is the firmest and is best reserved for the smoothest roads.

New car deals
Save up to £5,758
Target Price from £26,807
Save up to £5,758
or from £314pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £25,990
Leasing deals
From £382pm