Which used Volkswagen Passat estate should I buy?
The 128bhp 1.9 TDI 130 is a good choice for economy and easy pulling power. And, although it can be rumbly even when working only moderately hard, it's our favourite engine in the range. A good alternative is the turbocharged 1.8 T petrol, which is strong, more refined and, while not as easy on fuel, should still give over 30mpg.
The 2.0 petrol is also good, although it can get boomy if it's worked very hard. You can up the performance with the 2.3 V5, 2.8 V6 and, frankly quite daft, 4.0 W8. There's also a broad-shouldered, smooth 2.5 V6 TDI turbodiesel.
Four-wheel-drive 4Motion cars improve handling, but not enough to warrant the blunted economy, so choose one only if you really need all-wheel-drive traction.
In ascending order, trim levels are S, SE and Sport. Even the most basic car comes with plenty of creature comforts and safety kit. ESP stability control became standard in December 2001, but cars after May 2002 also have curtain airbags and Brake Assist, so it's best to buy one from after this date.