Improved Volkswagen Passat Impresses

The Volkswagen Passat first launched way back in 1973 some 46 years ago. During this time, there have been eight generations of this famous family saloon. In April 2019 the 30-millionth came off the production line. The Passat is Volkswagen’s second best selling car of all time, quickly catching up with the ever-popular VW Golf at number one.

The Passat is a firm favourite with company car drivers across the globe due to its all-round versatility in saloon or estate form. Competing in such a competitive sector which includes the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and BMW 3 Series is a difficult task.

Rather than creating an all-new car, VW has added upgraded technology throughout the Passat, along with new design features. All of which may not only keep it in touch with its rivals but could be a step in front.


Volkswagen has set up the Passat on their impressive MQB platform. The Passat gains 2mm in overall length but gains a considerable 79mm in wheelbase from the previous model, giving even more legroom to passengers inside. The use of the MQB platform will also help the Passat lose up to 85kg, compared to the outgoing model. The body has been gently sculptured to give an unassuming but sleek and contemporary styling, which oozes class and sophistication.

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The Passat gets a host of new technologically advanced systems.

The new Passat is the first Volkswagen to get ‘Travel Assist’, which has semi-autonomous capability. VW calls this IQ Drive. It combines various safety systems including, lane assist and adaptive cruise control. These allow the Passat technology to control braking, steering and acceleration at speed from 0-130mph. Volkswagen also claims the system can recognise and adjust for roundabouts, changes in speed limits and junctions.

Front and rear parking sensors are standard across all models, and there is the option of VW’s automatic parking system. This will park your car into a parking space for you. Volkswagen also offers a rear-view camera or 360 degrees (birdseye) camera system to help with any manoeuvres. Bright LED headlights and taillights come on all trim levels with the optional IQ Light matrix LED clusters like those on the VW Touareg.

The Passat comes with Volkswagen’s new 11.7-inch digital instrument display on some models. The entry-level trim gets a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system. All models support Bluetooth connectivity along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. There is an optional 9.2-inch touchscreen available, which responds quickly to your touch and has excellent graphics and clear quality picture.


Volkswagen has and is investing a lot amount of money, into what it calls, the ‘Digital Ecosystem’. This system enables apps and online functions to be delivered, using the infotainment system or compatible and connected smartphones. All Volkswagen vehicles will get this feature as standard over the coming years via ‘VW Connect’.


The Passat comes with a vast array of safety features as standard, including the NCAP Pack, pedestrian detection and Travel Assist, nine airbags and automatic braking system (AEB). In the last Euro NCAP safety test carried out on the Passat in 2014, it scored 5 Stars. Given all the added safety features and technological advances, there is no reason to think it will not achieve a 5 Star rating in its upcoming test.

VW Passat Engine Power

There are four petrol engines for the Passat. The 1.5-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder generating 150PS, with the option of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic DSG transmission. Then there is the more powerful 2-litre, turbocharged engine with three power options of 190PS, 240PS or 272PS. All of these versions mated to the seven-speed automatic DSG transmission.

There are also four diesel engines available for the Passat. The brand new 2-litre TDI EVO generates 150PS, with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic DSG transmission. Then there is the 1.6-litre TDI with 120PS and the 2-litre TDI, with either 190PS or 240PS. These three all come with seven-speed automatic DSG transmission, with no option to have manual.


The petrol 1.5 TSI EVO and the 2.0 TDI EVO both come with Active Cylinder Shutdown (ACT). It is the first time this feature has been used on a Volkswagen diesel engine, and the Passat is the first model to get this engine option.

Volkswagen has also made a plug-in hybrid version of the Passat. The GTE and GTE Advance uses a 1.4-litre, turbocharged, petrol engine combined with an electric motor system, producing 218HP. It will be able to cover 34 miles in all-electric mode, at speeds up to 80mph. The Passat GTE comes with high-end features as standard, including sports suspension, blue brake callipers and a charging point in the radiator grille.


The ride and handling of the Passat are what you would expect. The suspension is soft and smooth perfect for long motorway journeys for added comfort. The Passat isn’t aimed at being a performance sports car. It is and should remain, a long-distance cruiser offering comfort, economy along with premium brand styling and quality. Volkswagen knows that most of the Passat sales, across the globe, will be to company car drivers who will spend most of their time driving up and down the country.

Space and Practicality

The Passat offers excellent space in the front. The seats are fully adjustable, making it very easy to find the right driving position no matter the shape or size of occupants. It gives a more spacious feeling than its premium rivals, the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. There is also a large glovebox, generous door pockets, little storage spaces and two centre-console cupholders.


In the back, there is an extra 3cm of legroom due to the longer wheelbase. Even tall passengers should have plenty of room to get comfortable and enjoy their journey. Again the Passat offers more space than most of the competition in this area, especially Audi and BMW.

The boot is spacious, coming in at 586 litres, an increase of 21 litres from its predecessor. Even the Ford Mondeo cannot offer this amount of boot space. The only sticking point is that the Passat is a saloon, compared to the Ford Hatchback. Therefore, the boot opening is narrower and could be problematic if trying to load bulky items.


Being such an established executive car, Volkswagen had to stick with long-standing traditions, while also making it the market leader in technological advancement. I am delighted to say they have achieved this. The Passat is easy on the eye and does not look out of place next to the premium brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Jaguar. It is expertly designed, with drivers and passengers at the forefront, with great build quality clear and evident for all to see.

Will the new Passat turn the heads of die-hard BMW and Audi customers? Quite possibly, yes. The Passat does not handle or perform as good and does not have the sporty edge of its premium rivals. What the Passat does offer is superb practicality. A ride as comfortable as any other and a vast array of slick, advanced systems. It gives you a top-quality mix of everything you would need, without sacrificing one area over another. It will continue to be one of the company car drivers favourite vehicle of choice.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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