If you know the VW Passat, you’ll probably think of it as one of the most important family saloons ever made. And although you’d be right to think that, the Passat is coming up against a lot of competition as of late. So does anything set it apart from the crowd? As I’ve mentioned before, rivalry in this category is made up by all sorts of manufacturers. Britain has the Mondeo, France the Peugeot 508/Citroen C5, and as well as the VW Passat, Germany has the Audi A6/BMW 5-Series/Mercedes Benz E-Class. Even the Americans are trying to dominate the market with their wide fleet of Chevrolet’s being sold in Britain. Clearly then, the Passat has got a lot of work to do to impress us in this busy market.
The new model certainly looks much better than its predecessor, but it’s still fairly modest and understated. With models like the Passat CC and the Scirocco looking as spectacular and prominent as they do, I would expect Volkswagen to have given the Passat a more thorough makeover – dare I say, it looks a bit boring. However, the styling, far from looking great does serve a purpose in making the car much more slippery when cutting through the air, resulting in a miniscule drag factor. So it’s not all bad.
As a drivers car, I’m sure it won’t be bad. Volkswagen have always prided themselves on selling top quality German products and I’m glad to say it’s business as usual in that department – it will be easy to drive, but don’t expect it to be a great deal of fun – just a sensible car pootling around… sensibly.
Now, onto the interior. For me, this is where it begins to go slightly wrong. Of course, being a German car, everything works perfectly and carries out its function in an efficient manner. All of the dials and levers in the cabin are solid, chunky and won’t break, even after a severe beating. That’s the problem. I don’t particularly want for the dashboard to be able to survive a nuclear blast – I’d rather it was a bit more stylish. In a comparison with the BMW 5-Series, it’s clear to see where the Passat falls down.
The designers of the Passat seem to have worked long and hard on developing a very boring dashboard. Build quality is excellent as usual, but the styling is disappointingly bland. Whereas the BMW wraps its luxurious and sumptuous interior around you, the Passat leaves you feeling distinctly isolated and detached from the car. It also lacks some of the more pleasant touches in the basic models of the car. The 5-Series comes with leather as standard on all models, but you’ll have to pay if you want it on the Passat.
Now that I’ve suitably put you off it, we’ll have a look at the specifications for the base model 1.4l Petrol:
Max. Speed: 127mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 10.3secs
CO2 Emissions: 138g/km
Insurance Group: 17
VED Band: E (£110)
To purchase as new, that is an excellent price for any large family saloon. However, as this model has a petrol engine, we can see that the fuel economy is not spectacular. In fact, the basic 2.0l Diesel in the BMW will do 6mpg more than this. It is fairly quick for a car with a 1.4l engine, but that still doesn’t do anything for me. I think you should just go for the BMW.
It’s functional, but there are better ways to spend your money. 5 out of 10.
Other options: Mercedes Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Ford Mondeo
Avoid: Citroen C5, Peugeot 508