Which used Volkswagen Passat saloon should I buy?
There's a big choice of models, from a 1.8-litre petrol up to a 2.8 V6, plus 1.9 and 2.5 diesels. The 1.8, 1.8 turbo and 2.0 petrols are worth a look, with the 2.0 taking the laurels as the best petrol-powered Passat. There's also a 2.3 V5 that's smooth but thirsty, and finally the 2.8, which is worth buying only if the bills don't matter much.
Our pick of the diesels - and our favourite engine overall - is the 130bhp 1.9. There's also a 100bhp 1.9, which is too slow, and a 2.5 V6, which is a cracker, but returns only about 35mpg.
All are well equipped: the entry-level S gets a fully suite of safety kit, alloy wheels and air-con; SE gains climate control and a CD player, while Sport adds stiffer suspension and more supportive seats.
VW dealers have an excellent choice of Passats, especially younger cars. For older models and cheap-ish high-milers, try independent dealers.