Volkswagen Passat saloon driving position
Even entry-level S versions get adjustable lumbar support, while SE Business and upwards get electric seat backrest angle adjustment, as well as manual seatbase height, tilt and thigh-support adjustment. You can even tweak the angle of the headrests. This is a greater breadth of adjustment than you’ll get as standard in almost every rival. Together with a good range of reach and height adjustment to the steering wheel, as well as good pedal placement, the Passat has one of the most comfortable driving positions in its class.
The dashboard is simple to navigate. The standard touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use, as are the buttons on the centre console. It takes a while to get used to all the controls on the steering wheel, however.
Volkswagen Passat saloon visibility
The Passat is up there with the class best when it comes to visibility. It’s still a big car with a sloping bonnet and a long boot, so it can be tricky to judge the car’s extremities, but wide windows and fairly upright pillars mean you’ve got good vision all round.
All but entry-level S models come with front and rear parking sensors as standard, while an automatic parking system (which detects if a space is big enough and steers the car into it for you) is a reasonably priced option. Rear-view or 360deg camera systems, and blindspot warning, are more expensive optional extras.
Volkswagen Passat saloon infotainment
All models get a digital radio and an 8.0in colour touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, a USB input and Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming. The system’s straightforward menus are easy to navigate (helped by shortcut buttons at either side of the display), the screen responds quickly to your touch and the graphics quality is good. It can be a bit tricky to hit some of the smaller icons, but this is still one of the most user-friendly touchscreen systems out there, albeit not as easy to use as the rotary dial-controlled systems in Audi and BMW rivals.
An 9.2in touchscreen is optional and it looks brilliant, although it does cost a fair bit extra, even on top-end models. It’s standard on GTE Advance cars but not available on S or Bluemotion models. Sat-nav is a pricey extra on S and Bluemotion versions, although it is standard on other trim levels. Voice control is a fairly cheap option across the range. You can also get an upgraded Dynaudio stereo, but this is rather pricey.
Volkswagen Passat saloon build quality
Compared with slightly cheaper rivals such as the Ford Mondeo, the Passat has a really smart-looking interior. There’s a good variety of dense-feeling materials, and touches such as the chrome edging and the analogue clock make it look upmarket. Granted, low-end models with cloth seats can feel a bit dour, and an Audi A3 saloon uses better-quality materials, but mid and high-spec Passats feel genuinely posh.
Regardless of trim level, there’s a reassuring sense of solidity to everything, helped by superb fit and finish and well-damped switches.