Even those six feet tall or over will find plenty of space up front, and there’s enough width to prevent occupants from feeling uncomfortably close to each other. The Passat joins its Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo rivals in feeling more spacious than premium executive rivals such as the Jaguar XE, 3 Series and Audi A4.
Passengers get buckets of storage space, too. This includes generous door bins and a large glovebox, as well as cubbies and a pair of central cupholders behind the gear selector.
Wide-opening rear doors make access to the back easy for passengers or when dealing with child seats, and a pair of tall adults will have lots of space in which to stretch out and get comfortable – even if people of similar height are sitting in the front. There’s more space than in the Jaguar XE and Audi A4, but not quite as much as is offered by the Skoda Superb. A third passenger can be accommodated, but they’ll have to negotiate and straddle a relatively chunky central tunnel with protruding rear air vents that detract from the knee room available.
Seatback map pockets are standard on all models, as is a central armrest with a small storage box and cupholder. Each door pocket will hold a 1.0-litre bottle.
Seat folding and flexibility
Every Passat has 60/40-split rear seats, but rivals such as the 3 Series get a more flexible 40/20/40 arrangement. Go for SEL trim or above and you get levers in the boot that allow you to fold the spring-loaded seatbacks easily without opening the rear doors.
Manual lumbar adjustment for the front passenger seat is standard across the range, while fully electric adjustment, position memory and a massage function are optional.
The boot offers a seriously big luggage bay; it’s not far off what you'll find in the Superb and is bigger than that of the Mondeo. That's the good news; the compromise here is that those models are both hatchbacks, whereas the Passat is a saloon, and its narrower boot opening simply won't accept really bulky items.
Even entry-level SE versions come with a through-loading hatch in the rear seatback that enables you to transport long items, such as skis, while still carrying passengers. Unfortunately, folding down the rear seats leaves a step in the elongated load bay floor, and the angle at which the seatbacks lie makes it difficult to slide heavy objects in.