Classy, comfortable, refined: the Passat is very recommendable. It's not a handling masterpiece, but it is surefooted and, because the jump in price is justifiable next to mainstream rivals including the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo, we'd rate it above both. Its big selling point is space and practicality - the rear seats and boot are huge - but here it is still pipped by the cheaper Skoda Superb, which is our favourite non-premium rival. And if you are looking for the ultimate premium executive, both the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series offer more: the A4 has an interior that feels genuinely a cut above, while the 3 Series is absolutely the keener driver's choice.read the full model review
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The 1.6-litre diesel is what you might term adequate. It has enough guts to attain a motorway cruise or get you away from the lights effectively, but relatively steadily. You'll have to change down often and work it pretty hard to get up to speed with any great vigour, which is why we favour a bit more power.