Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Stylish design
- Comfortable ride
- Good quality interior
- Poor rear visibility in the saloon
- Older diesel engines are noisy
The Passat comes with neat styling and an excellent build quality to rival more expensive cars. The drive is great being lovely and smooth in both the estate and saloon models. With the wide range of 13 engines to choose from you are sure to find one that suits your needs.
Exterior and Interior
The Passat comes with improved styling compared to the first generation and it is the same on the inside with the option of having wood or metallic trim and up market features that have been carried across from the Touareg. The seats are extremely comfortable offering good support even on long journeys with both the front and rear passengers receiving large amounts of space and the rear passengers having plenty of head and leg room.
The boot in the saloon is ample enough for most things coming with 485litres of space and it comes with the added option of folding down the rear seats to increase this for larger pieces of luggage. The estate has even more luggage space as you would expect coming in with an extra 30litres with the seats up at 515litres, but this can be increased to 1641litres when the seats are folded flat which should accommodate most things you would want to transport. It also comes with optional luggage organizers which are made up of belts and metal bars that help to keep you luggage fixed to prevent them from rolling around in the back.
The Passat comes with many luxuries as standard such as an electric parking brake which is turned on via a button on the dash and saves room. It can also be used in an emergency to slow the car quickly. They also come with alloy wheels, air-con, six airbags, electric front windows, CD stereo, LED rear lights and door mirror indicators, an alarm and an umbrella compartment in the drivers door pocket. The trim level up from the basic S level is the SE (or the Highline in cars from early 2008 onwards) offering electric windows all round, cruise control, improved stereo system, heated front seats, 17 inch alloys and an electrically adjustable drivers' seat. Sport models come with two zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, lowered suspension, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and front fog lights.
Performance and Economy
All of the engines in the range are completely reliable and offer good performance, even the smaller lower powered engines. The 1.6-litre petrol was adequate, but did feel a little breathless when fully loaded and tackling hill. The slightly more powerful 150bhp 2.0-litre was an improvement though. The turbocharged 2.0-litre and 3.2-litre V6 engines are excellent producing loads of power and are fairly quick as well managing 0-60mph in just 7.5 and 7.0 seconds respectively, however, they weren't exactly fuel efficient managing 35mpg for the 2.0-litre and 28mpg for the 3.2. The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre engines introduced in 2008 are by far the best engines in the petrol range producing 122bhp and 160bhp respectively with the 1.4-litre managing 41mpg, which is the best in the petrol range, and the 1.8-litre manages 37mpg.
The diesel engines are exceptionally fuel efficient with the two entry level 1.9's managing 48mpg in the standard 1.9-litre and 54mpg in the Bluemotion engine, thanks to its longer gear ratios and weight saving measures. The two 2.0-litre engines that were introduced when the car was released were fairly quick and fuel efficient with the 140bhp model going from 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds and manages 47mpg. The 170bhp model manages 0-60mph over a second quicker at 8.5 seconds and has a fuel efficiency of 42mpg. They were extremely unrefined though, but did offer good performance. The 2.0-litre engines that replaced them in 2008 were a lot smoother and refined with them both having the same times from 0-60mph, but were slightly more fuel efficient with the 140bhp managing 49mpg and the 170bhp 44mpg. The 2.0-litre Bluemotion 2 engine producing 110bhp is by far the best engine topping the range for fuel efficiency with 57mpg and, although it isn't the quickest, it's not a slouch either. The lowered suspension, engine tweaks, aerodynamic changes and a stop-start system all help to achieve this. For insurance purposes the engines range between group 7 and 16 with the 1.6-litre being the cheapest and the 3.2-litre falling into group 16.
Like to Drive
The Passat is pleasant to drive with plenty of grip and minimum body roll in the corners as well as perfectly weighted steering and sharp turning. The gearbox feels solid and smooth between gear changes and provides good, smooth acceleration. The Passat also feels well insulated from the outside world with very little noise being carried through to the cabin, however, older diesel engines could be heard at motorway speeds and when really pushed. The view out of the estate is good but the saloon is left lacking especially out the back where the large rear pillars do create large blind spots.
Faults and Repairs
There have only been a couple of recalls over the years, but the recall because of possible fires in the engine bay of the early 2.0-litre engine models was a serious one. These should all have been fixed by now but it's worth just checking to make sure the necessary work has been carried out. The suspension on estate models should be looked at to make sure they're not damaged as some of them were used to carry heavy loads around, but there have been no serious problems with this. The excellent build quality of the car should hold up well though with almost no complaints about the interior trim or the electrics.