Volkswagen Passat Saloon 2019 LHD boot

Volkswagen Passat review

Costs & verdict

Manufacturer price from:£25,370
What Car? Target Price£20,145
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Company car users rejoice: the Passat’s relatively low CO2 emissions make it one of the cheapest cars in the class for benefit-in-kind tax. Figures still aren’t quite as low as those for the equivalent Skoda Superb engines, though. 

Fuel economy is very good across the range, too, especially if you opt for the diesels. Unsurprisingly, the petrols won't sip fuel quite as gently and are, again, matched or beaten by the Superb’s stats. The 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI EVO diesel is the most economical of the bunch, with the lowest CO2 emissions, too, thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology.

Less good news is that, compared with the Superb and Audi A4 (both of which retain a healthy chunk of their value when it comes time to sell), the Passat’s resale values are a little off the pace. This isn’t great news for private buyers or fleet managers who buy their cars outright, but there are at least some competitive leasing deals out there.

Equipment, options and extras

Even entry-level SE trim provides plenty of gadgets, including the 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system mentioned earlier, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, front centre armrest and wireless charging for your smartphone and adaptive cruise control. SE Nav models, as their name suggests, add sat-nav.

Moving up to SEL adds tinted rear glass and heated front seats, while range-topping R-Line adds a larger 18in alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting and three-zone climate control. Most buyers, whether business or personal, shouldn’t need to look past the SE models.

Volkswagen Passat Saloon 2019 LHD boot

Reliability

The Passat didn’t do very well in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, falling behind rivals including the Ford Mondeo, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. That said, it did perform better than the Jaguar XE and Vauxhall Insignia. As a brand, Volkswagen placed 16th in our table of 31 manufacturers, coming ahead of Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard, and extended warranties are available at a reasonable price.

Safety and security

The Passat did well in Euro NCAP tests in 2014 and was given the maximum five stars overall. It would probably still score highly in today’s more stringent tests, thanks to its long list of safety kit. Every version comes with nine airbags, including rear side airbags and one to protect the driver's knees, plus systems that prime the car’s restraint systems ahead of an impending accident and help prevent secondary collisions after an initial impact.

Every Passat is fitted with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system to help avoid low-speed shunts. There's a broad array of optional safety systems on top of that, including lane-keeping assistance, blindspot warning and even a system that helps you to reverse park when towing a trailer.

All models get an alarm and an immobiliser. Security experts at Thatcham Research awarded the Passat five out of five for resisting theft, and four out of five for resisting being broken into.

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Verdict

Classy, comfortable, refined: the Passat is very recommendable. If you are looking for the ultimate premium executive, though, both the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series offer more, but carry a steeper price tag.

  • Frugal and tax friendly diesel engines
  • Spacious and reasonably plush interior
  • Comfortable and refined at high speeds
  • Diesel engines can be gruff
  • Big wheels produce too much road noise
  • Less versatile than hatchback rivals, despite big boot

What's important to you?

Performance & drive
Interior
Passenger & boot space