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On-test: More from less with new Passat

Latest version of VW’s popular Passat now boasts a longer wheelbase and more interior space, but at the same time, those extra proportions do not contribute to more weight. Geoff Ashcroft puts it through its paces.

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VW says it has managed to shave 85kg from the unladen weight of this latest Passat. Which is good news for those seeking a more accomplished load-lugger without having to absorb any form of fuel penalty. Indeed, VW claims a fuel efficiency increase of up to 14 per cent for this new version, compared to its predecessor.

 

This 190hp version tested by FG is Euro6 compliant, which means it now gets selective catalytic reduction to clean up exhaust emissions, so there is an AdBlue tank to top up. But rather than regular fills such as a tractor or truck, expect occasional top ups akin to filling the washer bottle.

 

The upside is you can expect up to 61.4mpg on the combined cycle from this punchy diesel – if you are careful with your right foot.

 

Passat interior is impressive though steering wheel buttons are fiddly.

And with 190hp, the Passat GT is effortlessly brisk. Coupled to a six-speed DSG auto box, progress is stealthy and you will need to keep one eye on the speedo.

 

Engine choices include additional 2-litre diesels at 150hp and 240hp – the latter a bi-turbo with 4Motion all-wheel drive – plus a more frugal 1.6-litre with 120hp capable of 78mpg.

 

A jacked-up Alltrack version is expected this year.

 

Trim levels are extensive and include S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line, with all offering a high level of standard features. Heated Alcantara seats, three-zone climate control and 18-inch wheels are standard on the GT, and while the big rims might keep the car’s looks in proportion, they do contribute to road noise.

 

 

Adaptive shock absorbers allow you to tweak the ride comfort through the touchscreen panel, to compliment the car’s abundance of grip and insignificant body roll.

 

Load space is vast and 60:40 folding seats with load-through facility make it easy to handle longer items.

Inside the car, there is little to fault. Space is great, seat adjustment and legroom are impressive - the Passat does feel like a big car.

 

Every button or switch you touch has a quality feel, and its clear that the Passat is trying to put some distance between its Ford Mondeo and Mazda rivals. However, some might consider the steering wheel’s button-fest a little too complex.

 

With a vast boot that is easy to make use of, plus lots of high-tech kit and enough space for the family in a superbly built cabin, this latest version of the Passat is an excellent estate car. Mind you, it is getting a little pricey.

 

Need to know

  • Model: VW Passat GT TDi SCR
  • Price: £30,910 (£36,150 as tested)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cyl turbo diesel, 190hp @ 3,500-4,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed DSG (auto), front-wheel drive
  • Performance: 7.9sec 0-62mph, 144mph, 61.4mpg combined, 120g/km
  • Towing capacity: 2,000kgs
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