The majority of Passats will be run as company cars, and thankfully the low CO2 emissions help make it one of the cheapest cars in the class to tax. Fleet providers will also find the leasing costs competitive. Equally important for private buyers or those fleet providers who buy their cars, the Passat’s resale values are better than those of the Ford Mondeo, if a touch behind those of rivals such as the Audi A3 Saloon and BMW 3 Series.
The Passat costs a fair bit more than the equivalent Mondeo to buy, although those looking to take out finance will be tempted by VW’s promotions that regularly offer dealer deposit contributions and low-interest PCP deals.
Fuel economy is very good across the range. Our favourite engine, the 2.0 TDI 150, returned 52.5mpg in our real-world True MPG tests.
Volkswagen Passat equipment
Well-equipped SE trim is the one to go for
Entry-level S trim is fairly sparsely equipped. It gets air-con, alloy wheels, four electric windows and a touchscreen infotainment system, but a lot of desirable kit costs extra.
Next up is Bluemotion, which is aimed at company car drivers. Its equipment level is almost exactly the same as S trim’s, though, so we’d look further up the range.
You get a lot more equipment for the reasonable price jump up to SE – it’s our recommended trim for private buyers. With automatic lights and wipers, partial-electric driver’s seat adjustment, cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors, SE feels noticeably more luxurious than S. It’s just a shame that climate control is a pricey optional extra.
We think business users will be better off with SE Business trim, which adds sat-nav to the SE’s equipment list.
GT cars are worth a look if you like your luxuries; these come with leather and Alcantara upholstery, three-zone climate control and heated front seats.
We wouldn’t bother with R-line trim, which is expensive and simply gets sportier looks inside and out.
Volkswagen Passat reliability
Passat didn't feature in our latest reliability survey, but VW scored well
This generation of Passat didn’t feature in our latest customer satisfaction survey, although the previous-generation version was included and got a below-average score for reliability. There were no really prominent issues with the car, but problems with the tyre pressure-monitoring and sat-nav systems were among the most common complaints. More impressively, Volkswagen as a brand was awarded a good score for reliability in the survey.
A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard, and extended warranties are available at a reasonable price.
Volkswagen Passat safety & security
Lots of airbags and clever crash-prevention systems; excellent security score
The Passat did well in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2014, getting the maximum five stars overall, along with scores of 85% for adult protection, 87% for child protection, and 66% for pedestrian protection.
Safety kit is similarly impressive. Every version comes with nine airbags, including rear side ’bags and one to protect the driver’s knees. There’s also a system that warns you if you’re getting tired behind the wheel, an electronic parking brake with hill-hold assist, and systems that prime the car for an impending accident and help prevent secondary collisions after an initial impact.
SE versions and above are fitted with a city emergency braking system to help avoid or minimise low-speed shunts, and adaptive cruise control that keeps you a set distance from the vehicle in front.
There’s a broad range of optional safety systems on top of that, including lane-keeping assist, blindspot warning and even a system that helps you reverse park when towing a trailer.
All models get an alarm and an immobiliser, while security experts Thatcham awarded the Passat five out of five for resisting theft, and four out of five for resisting being broken into.
Entry-level S trim is pretty sparsely equipped. It has air-con, 16-inch alloy wheels, a touchscreen infotainment system, digital radio and a USB socket, but it’s well worth spending the extra on the more lavishly equipped SE version.
This trim level is reserved solely for the tax-efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine. It gets all the kit of S trim, but with 17in alloy wheels, lowered suspension, unique front and rear bumpers, and Bluemotion badging.
Our pick SE
With plenty of convenience features – including front and rear parking sensors, part-electric driver’s seat adjustment, and automatic lights and wipers – and more safety aids than S models, SE trim is the best value. All you really need to add is sat-nav, although if you also want climate control, you may as well step up to GT trim, which costs virtually the same as SE with these added, but gets more luxury kit as well.
Sat-nav is the main addition, but otherwise it’s virtually the same as SE trim. It’ll be subject to low-interest, business-specific finance deals, so makes the most sense for company car drivers.
A good option if you want lots of kit, but at this price the Passat is straying into the same territory as some more upmarket (albeit smaller and less well equipped) rivals. It comes with sat-nav, three-zone climate-control, leather and Alcantara upholstery, and heated front seats.
With 18-inch alloy wheels, and sportier looks inside and out, R-line trim is mostly about style and isn’t worth the extra money over GT versions.