It still means business, 2017 Volkswagen Passat Review

In Car Reviews, Volkswagen by Tom Scanlan

What an extremely sensible car! The Volkswagen Passat SE Business

Tom Scanlan gives his favourable impressions of the Volkswagen Passat
It’s handsome, too, with a striking front where the grille is at one with the headlamps and the overall proportions are, well, just right.

OK, the Passat had been around for more than a couple of years — quite a while by current standards – so how is it standing up in the inexorable advance across the industry?

No problem, I would suggest. From the driver’s seat, the reports are very favourable. It is dead easy to drive, with all the main functions pretty much without fault; that’s to say the steering, handling, braking and ride all scoring high marks.

The car is quiet; it was interesting to see how the Passat, with the same 1.6 Diesel engine as recently experienced in the Audi A3, faired out on the open road. Well, it was as quiet and smooth.

What was an eye-opener was the fuel economy stats in various traffic conditions. Except on very short, cold-start trips of a couple of miles (around 36/37 mpg), the minimum figure shown by the onboard computer was 54 mpg. My best-recorded return was 72.3 mpg on a return journey of 140 miles over a mixture of town, motorway and quietish country roads. In over nearly four hundred miles driving, my overall consumption was indicated at 62 mpg – with the 66-litre fuel tank this could give a range approaching nine hundred miles between fill-ups.

The drives were always very relaxed. On the motorway at 70 mph the 1.6-litre engine was hardly at work at around 1800 rpm, a typical diesel plus point. You could be perfectly steady in built-up areas at 30 mph just on tick-over. From just 1100 rpm, the engine’s flexibility allowed smooth, if gentle acceleration. For more punch, you just get the revs up a few hundred more so that the engine’s impressive torque gets to work. Even though the zero to sixty two mph timing is a fairly leisurely 10.8 seconds, it never seems to be lacking in performance. Emissions are down at 95 g/km.

The Passat is spacious enough for most needs. Passengers can get easily into and out of the back seats and have good head, shoulder and leg room there. The transmission tunnel means that it’s for two adults only.

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The boot is just as roomy and the wide opening allows really bulky items to be quite easily stowed there.

All this is very well, but how does this VW stack up in equipment? A glance at the specs soon reveals that it stacks up very well, thanks! However, so of course do its competitors, meaning that it’s more than a glance that potential owners will need.

When it comes to safety, the Passat does compare well, as it does with comfort and convenience features.

In the end, therefore, it might simply be a matter of what you pay for the whole package.

In the case of the test car, with about £2000 of options like VW’s top-end ‘Discover Navigation’, voice activation, Adaptive Cruise Control and, wait for it…carpet mats, that’s a total of £26,315.

Car reviewed: Volkswagen Passat SE Business BlueMotion 1.6 TDI 120 PS 6-speed manual – Base Price On the road £23,755 with options £26,315 0-60mph 11 secs Top speed 128mph Fuel Economy combined 70.6mpg CO2 emissions 105g/km Engine 1598cc 4-cylinder diesel EU6 Max Power [email protected] rpm Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed manual

  • Excellent fuel economy

  • Comfortable and quiet

  • Overall a reasonably priced package

  • Slightly in need of updating

About the author
Tom Scanlan

Tom Scanlan

'Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars. He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0. In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.'

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