Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat review

Cost & verdict
Manufacturer price from:£22,195
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In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Volkswagen Passat saloon running costs

The majority of owners will run the Passat as a company car and its low CO2 emissions – the 2.0 TDI 150 is very competitive next to its key 2.0-litre diesel rivals – help make it one of the cheapest cars in the class for company car tax (BIK). That also goes for the 1.5 TSI petrol, too

Fleet providers will also find leasing costs competitive, but equally important for private buyers or those fleet providers who buy their cars, the Passat’s resale values are a little off the pace: after three years, rivals including the Skoda Superb and Audi A4 will have retained a fair chunk more of their original value.

The Passat is in the price range of an equivalent Mondeo to buy outright, but cheaper than its premium opposition. Those looking to take out finance will be tempted by Volkswagen's promotions that regularly offer dealer deposit contributions and low-interest PCP deals.

Fuel economy is very good across the range, especially if you opt for the diesels. The 1.5-litre petrol won't be quite as easy on fuel, but if you're not doing vast annual mileages then it's still worth considering.

Volkswagen Passat saloon equipment

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.

You get a lot more equipment for a reasonable price jump up to SE Business, so it’s our recommended trim. With automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, three-zone climate control and power-folding door mirrors it has most of what you need. 

We wouldn’t bother with pricier trims, such as GT and R-line, unless you particularly want more toys or styling upgrades.

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat saloon reliability

The Passat didn’t excel in our most recent reliability survey, appearing in the middle the executive car league table – below the Audi A3 Saloon and Skoda Suberb, but above the Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE and Ford Mondeo. Volkswagen as a brand was ranked 17th in our table of 31 manufacturers.

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

Volkswagen Passat saloon safety and security

The Passat did well in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2014, gaining the maximum five stars overall, along with scores of 85% for adult protection, 87% for child protection and 66% for pedestrian protection. Those aren't the best in class, but they're not bad either.

Safety kit is similarly impressive. Every version comes with nine airbags, including rear side airbags 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 Business versions and above are fitted with an automatic emergency braking system to help avoid or minimise low-speed shunts, as well as 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 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

The Volkswagen Passat is classy, comfortable and roomy. True, it isn't much fun to drive, but it is surefooted and is worth the premium over many of its mainstream rivals, including the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia. The cheaper Skoda Superb is an even better buy, though, and if you're looking for the ultimate premium executive, the pricier BMW 3 Series is the class champion.

  • Frugal and tax friendly diesel engines
  • Spacious and reasonably plush interior
  • Comfortable and refined at high speeds
  • Diesel engines can be gruff
  • Versions with big wheels have too much road noise
  • Big boot but, being a saloon, it's less practical than hatchback rivals
Trims
There are 5 trims available for the Passat saloon. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
SE Business
SE Business is our favourite trim. You get LED headlights, comfort seats with greater a...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£18,477
Average Saving £5,508
View Trim
Bluemotion
This trim is currently not on sale...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£19,469
Average Saving £5,562
View Trim
S
Entry-level S trim is pretty sparsely equipped. It has air-con, 16in alloy wheels, but...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£20,058
Average Saving £2,138
View Trim
GT
A good option if you want lots of kit, but at this price the Passat is straying into th...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£20,537
Average Saving £5,418
View Trim
R Line
This mainly brings sportier styling inside and out...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£21,484
Average Saving £5,667
View Trim