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Update for popular Passat Estate

Created on 29/09/2019 @ 20:00

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

It’s a tricky business for any manufacturer when the time comes to facelift a model which has served you well - but VW couldn’t afford to wait any longer with the popular Passat Estate.

Passat Estate owners are a particular breed. They’ve not been tempted by the myriad of SUVs and Crossovers dotted across our struggling motorway networks like ants frantically trying to follow the leader.

Instead they are happy to stick with the tried and tested estate that has met their needs, whether for business or pleasure for a generation.

Well, my message to them is “fear not” your loved and trusted Passat lives on in a very similar state – still spacious, reliable, economical and attractive, yet heaps better to drive and packed with more technology.

Designers have stretched the outstanding MQB platform even further to create an even bigger Passat without adding an ounce of weight and certainly not bothering the green fraternity.

The range has been simplified with eight variants to be offered in the UK: SE, SE Nav, SEL, R-Line and limited-run, Estate-only R-Line Edition, alongside the Alltrack, GTE and GTE Advance.  

The plug-in hybrid GTE is back and enhanced in multiple dimensions - 5% cheaper than the previous GTE model - electric-only range increased to 43 miles, compared with 31 miles previously.

One in four Passats sold in the UK are predicted to be the GTE variant, compared to the previous figure of one in 10 – a massive shift.

The full UK range will comprise three petrols, four diesels and a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. The petrol engines range in power from 150-272 PS, while the diesel engines range from 120-240 PS.

Top petrol and diesel engines have DSG and 4MOTION all-wheel drive as standard while all engines on the Passat, including the TSI petrols, now have particulate filters. 

The new 2.0 TDI 150 PS engine has Active Cylinder Technology (called EVO in Volkswagen nomenclature) which can shut down two of the four cylinders under certain low-load conditions in order to save fuel 

New Travel Assist is standard across the range, making the Passat the first Volkswagen that can drive at up to 130 mph in a partially automated mode. It is an evolution and amalgamation of Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist.

The Adaptive Cruise Control function has evolved to version 3.0 and is now predictive so can automatically adjust speed for permanent and temporary speed limits, as well as slowing for junctions and corners. It is fed by both GPS and road sign recognition. 

Lane Assist now enters version 2.0 which means it can recognise kerbs and grass verges in addition to road markings. 

Volkswagen introduces its first capacitive steering wheel on the Passat, meaning Lane Assist doesn’t need a twitch of the wheel to know a drivers hands are on it, just a touch. 

Wireless App Connect debuts on the Passat and negates the need for a user to connect their phone to the car with a USB cable. Instead compatible devices will connect wireless.

A lot of that technology and of course the huge boot space make the Passat Estate a popular choice for the fleet buyer and VW predict a 78% - 22% split.

We tested the Passat Estate SEL 2.0Litre TDi SCR with a list of impressive standard features including ABS, BAS and EBD braking support, ESC stability control, automatic post-collision braking, curtain airbags, remote locking and driver alert systems.

There was battery regeneration during braking, a stop/start function, personalisation settings, automatic high-beam assist, traffic jam and lane assist.

For driver comfort there’s more technology than a man (or woman) could ever need topped off by a very impressive “We Connect” system offering navigation based services for online traffic information; route calculations; destination and route import; petrol stations; charging points; parking spaces, online map updates and point of interest search.

Outwardly the Passat benefits from a few tweeks but there’s not a great deal to tell you that things have changed so much and it’s much the same inside too.

With a top speed of 144mph, 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, CO2 emissions of only 120 g/km and combined fuel consumption figures of 47.7mpg this is significant competitor in the sector.

On the road the test model would set you back £33,820 but additions of a rear-view camera, improved chassis control features, electric tailgate, 18inch alloys and a tyre pressure monitoring system pushed that up to £37,455.

This latest update means the Passat Estate will continue to be a popular choice in the UK and there will be no shortage of fleet buyers knocking on dealership doors now that the model is in showrooms.

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