The best way of describing the seventh generation Volkswagen Passat is…well, erm… it’s a Passat. A favourite for fleets and private buyers alike the Passat is a classy saloon. This is clearly something VW are well aware of this and have left the car largely as it was. Yes, there might be some subtle styling changes to both the exterior and interior, but nothing groundbreaking. This car is 4mm longer than the previous model while the front end is dominated by a new grille featuring prominent horizontal chrome fins. The headlights have also been changed and feature LEDs while the rear receives new tail lights with subtle chrome highlights extending down the side of the car. Every body panel apart from the roof is new and all components have been tweaked to sharpen the driving dynamics against rivals.
It comes with a number of engines already available across the Volkswagen range. The most popular are likely to be the 2.0-litre RDI diesel engine with BlueMotion Tech that helps to lower running costs with added kit such as stop/start and low-rolling resistance tyres. A dedicated 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion model takes things further and is the best option for customers looking for the most affordable choice.
Space to boot
There’s a massive amount of bootspace in the VW Passat. At 565 litres it is well ahead of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia models. The only downside is that as this is a saloon model the opening of the boot is shaped a little awkwardly. A neat piece of kit available on some models is the keyless entry to the boot. As long as the driver has the key on them, all they have to do is swipe their foot under the rear of the car and the boot will open – ideal if you have both hands full. Yes the Passat may be a new generation but for many it looks a lot like the previous model. For some this might make it the bland choice in the sector, while others will point out that the previous Passat was still one of the leading saloons and didn’t need to change much anyway. Either way the Passat still has to do battle with the Ford Mondeo as well as new competition like the Hyundai i40 saloon and Kia Optima.
New engine and R-Line trim level added in 2013
In 2013 a new 1.4-litre petrol engine was added to the range and the Passat R-Line was announced. The former is a turbo- and super-charged petrol engine which makes 158bhp and can be mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox. The latter R-Line trim is a sporty styling option which adds a bodykit alongside lowered sports suspension and larger alloy wheels on top of ‘S’ spec cars.