Passat SE Business 2.0 TDI
all-new Passat, now in its
eighth generation, is a sharp
dresser; one that easily passes
test set by other executives
Audi, BMW, and Mercedes...
IT'S NOT JUST LOOKS alone that will help this previously sober-suited saloon
and estate range on its way to best-sellerdom because it's better in every way
with more space, more power, more miles-per-gallon, less emissions and much
more standard-fit equipment including an advanced new infotainment system plus
a raft of safety kit, driver aids and comfort features.
All versions (S, SE, SE Business, GT, R-Line) come with Post-Collision Braking
System and mis-fuelling prevention. SE and above have Front Assist, Adaptive
Cruise Control, Pre-Crash system, Driver Profile Selection Driver Profile Selection
(five driving modes from Eco to Sport), Ergo Comfort seats, and front and rear
parking sensors. SE Business versions additionally get the superior 'Discover'
SatNav. GT-badged Passats come with heated Alcantara seats, three-zone climate
control and 18-inch wheels, while the range-topping R-Line adds a host of bespoke
newly-introduced SE Business model comes laden with all essentials such as 2Zone
automatic AirCon, Adaptive Cruise Control, powerfold heated door mirrors (on
demand and automatically on locking), one-shot windows, auto-dim driver's mirror,
As usual with any
get a broad range of
power choices all the
way from 118bhp up to a
version with all-wheel
They also have a flat-bottomed leather-wrapped multifunction wheel, powered
bootlid, front and rear parking sensors, touchscreen infotainment system with
upgraded 3D SatNav, Internet connectivity, Bluetooth phone and audio connection,
DAB digital radio, a decent HiFi, and alloy wheels.
And the list stretches on, with Trailer Assist (a 'world first' system that
makes manoeuvring with a trailer attached something even your mother can do),
front fog lights with static cornering function, heat-insulating green tinted
glass, daytime running lights, tyre pressure monitoring, a full set of airbags
(including one for the driver's knee), and Hill Hold.
Optional 'hi-tech' items include the Active Info Display, which replaces the
instrument cluster directly ahead of the driver with a fully-configurable, interactive
12.3-inch TFT display incorporating the navigation mapping (we've already sampled
this in the new Audi TT and it's brilliant); a 360-degree multi-view camera;
and the latest generation of Park Assist which now also lets the car park itself
nose first into perpendicular spaces very handy at superstores
where getting a trolley up to your boot is nigh on impossible.
Other major safety systems include Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, and
Traffic Jam Assist (sure to be popular with everybody using the M25, it brakes,
accelerates and steers automatically, easing the strain during stop-and-go traffic).
Emergency Assist is another life-saver as it helps keep the car in the lane
and brakes automatically to a full stop if the driver is incapacitated. And
there's also the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking as well
as predictive pedestrian protection (a radar behind the rearview mirror scans
the area ahead of the Passat and can detect pedestrians stepping out in front
of the car; if they do and the driver fails to brake it carries out a full emergency
handsome, what's most satisfying is the thorough attention to detail; for instance,
check out the perfect matching-in of the Passat's fuel filler flap where it
bridges the sharply-creased sculpting on the flared rear shoulder
very tricky to do, and some carmakers wouldn't have bothered but instead just
made do with a plain flat flap lower down on an unsculpted panel section.
Emergency Assist is
another lifesaver as it
helps keep the car in the
lane and brakes
automatically to a full
stop if the driver is
protection can detect
pedestrians stepping out
in front of the car;
if they do and the driver
fails to brake it carries
out a full emergency
you get more of the same internally: a seamless chrome-finned air vent extends
across the entire width of the dash like a decorative band but it's totally
functional, enhancing climate control performance and ventilation acoustics.
It is touches like these that make this new Passat stand out from the crowd.
The new look has even exorcised the old Passat's 'on the conservative side'
visual handicap; sportier and sleeker in a BMW 3 Series kind of way, and with
a forceful nose defined by a full-width slatted grille, this latest model radiates
The Passat packs a lot of space for both people and luggage into its 4.7-metre
length. The cabin is put together with obvious care allied to good quality trim
materials and sufficient silver detailing to counter all the black soft-feel
trim. The attractively streamlined fascia is unmistakably VW and logic dictates
the switchgear and controls layout around the central infotainment touchscreen.
Especially welcome are the 'Ergo' comfort seats upholstered in a fabric that's
pleasant to sit on and whose big, long bases provide good under-knee/thigh support.
They also benefit from non-pinching bolstering. The driver's seat is enhanced
by power adjustment of both the lumbar support and the backrest angle. Even
the headrests deserve praise: they're comfy and have easy button releases. Elbows
haven't been forgotten, either with long, wide outer rests on the doors and
a wide centre height-adjustable armrest.
There truly is masses of headroom even with the driver's seat jacked up high.
All of which makes for a spot-on driving position with fine all-round visibility,
even rearwards. A thoughtful touch is the provision on rests for both your clutch
and accelerator feet for when you're truly 'in the cruise'.
The optional three-stage seat heating is very fast-acting and deliciously hot
on their maximum settings. Another clever touch is the heated steering wheel
rim: its temperature that can be synched to the driver's seat' heat setting.
The multifunction, gloss black, flat-bottomed wheel itself is very smart and
as good to use as it looks.
desirable driver-aids that come as standard include a digital speed readout
and secondary graphic navigational prompts in the driver's info display between
the main dials; road sign recognition (speed limits and no-overtaking zones)
displayed on the 6.5-inch touchscreen); SMS functionality (text messages can
be read, composed and sent using the touchscreen display); and the automatic
dimming function on the driver's door mirror.
understand that their
customers are more into
Connected than CDs
the Passat is more than
for them with MirrorLink
and Car Net that allows
specific apps on
a smartphone to be
mirrored onto the
electronic parking brake is sensibly sited, not on the fascia but close to your
thigh behind the gearlever, and comes with an easy-to-use auto-hold function
that applies the brake for you every time you stop. Very labour-saving
but just remember to do it for yourself if you drive another car without it
or you could find yourself rolling into trouble!
Carmakers today understand that when it comes to the 'C' stuff their customers
are more into Connected than CDs the Passat is more than adequately
tooled-up for them with MirrorLink and Car Net that allows specific apps on
an Android smartphone to be 'mirrored' onto the infotainment touchscreen. For
those who still haven't mastered the tech or migrated from those shiny four-inch
plastic discs, Volkswagen has provided a slot for CDs in the chilled glovebox
alongside the SD ports.
Round at the tail there's more good news: the powered bootlid opens (and closes)
faster than on any other car we've tested especially appreciated
on a wet day, it also opens and closes with a press on the key, a light touch
of the 'VW' boot badge-cum-handle, or from a button inside the cabin.
Once open it flips far back over the rear screen like an acrobat for easy loading.
The exposed boot is wide and long and levers release the 40:20:40-split rear
seatbacks which fold down virtually flat to increase the load space from 586
to a very-big-for-a-saloon 1,152 litres.
That yawning bootlid also offers full access to the boot as far back as the
rear seatbacks without any 'tunnelling' and makes loading over the low-height
rear sill a no-strainer!
Delve under the floor and you'll find not one of those unloved 'tyre repair'
kits but a real space-saver spare wheel. For the record, the tyres are self-sealing.
Pull down bag holders, a large load-through hatch and a variable-height boot
floor all add extra ticks to the versatility checklist. If all that is not enough,
then the Passat can tow a braked 2,000kg.
open a rear door and you could be looking into a limo, not a four-door saloon
there's most definitely more room than can be found in most rivals.
It's not just your shanks that benefit because despite the sloping roofline,
headroom is several inches good; even sitting up ramrod straight there's still
room to brush you hair with your hand without touching the roof lining.
Officially this engine
returns 70.6mpg in the
a hard-driven week saw
an impressive overall
average of 55.7mpg.
Emissions are a tax-
friendly 106g/km which
means no road tax bill
the first year and only
£20 annually from
year two onwards...
an amazingly roomy cabin and far larger than you'd guess before climbing aboard
which, incidentally, is very easy thanks to the large, real-people-friendly
doors. Views out from the back are uninterrupted thanks to the back doors' double-pane
windows (that also let in plenty of light) and the twelve inches air separating
the front seats.
Semi-reclined backrests combined with a big, well-padded, drop-down central
armrest, masses of legroom for six-footers and foot room for three pairs of
shoes really does make back seat Passat passengers feel as though they're being
chauffeured in a limo. For the record, three side-by-side is both doable and
As usual with any Volkswagen, customers get a broad range of power choices
all the way from 118bhp up to a twin-turboed 236bhp version with all-wheel drive.
The alternative is a 1.4-litre petrol plug-in hybrid with on-demand cylinder
technology and electric motor.
No all-wheel drive high jinks for us though, because we've been driving the
likely best-seller the 2.0-litre turbodiesel that generates 147bhp
and 250lb ft between 1,750 and 3,000rpm. Mated to a six-speed manual 'box, it's
good for 136mph for Continental driving, naturally
and 0-62mph acceleration in 8.7 seconds wherever you may be.
Officially this engine returns 70.6mpg in the Combined Cycle but a hard-driven
week with MotorBar saw an impressive overall average of 55.7mpg. CO2 emissions
are a tax-friendly 106g/km which means no road tax bill the first year and only
£20 annually from year two onwards. All wallet-friendly figures that will give
the average driver something to smile about.
This unit makes use of BlueMotion technology so Stop-Start is a fixture
but it can be switched off should you prefer; however, in use it's unobtrusively
smooth-acting so you'll probably keep it active and save a bit more fuel.
good on paper and even better in real-life. You might think that
given the mpg-maximising BlueMotion there may well be some small shortfall in
performance. But there are no compromises: that sub-9-second 0-62mph acceleration
feels sharp and focused, and nicely flexible whichever of the six gears you're
in all smoothly selected (sequentially or with a quick-flick block
change) thanks to the gearlever's light and easy change action. A DSG autobox
is optional but if you do opt for it, it won't be because of any dissatisfaction
with the manual 'box.
mile-eater that lets you
out at the end of a long
trip as fresh as when
you set off,
the Passat saloon will
on with some verve
whenever you feel like
cracking the whip...
in the Passat really is a pleasure on the move its quiet and cosseting
ambiance highlights the soothingly composed ride that copes with just about
every kind of blacktop with comfort mode selected. Seventeen-inch, 10-spoke
alloy wheels wearing 215/55 rubber also help keep road noise down while aiding
An accomplished mile-eater that lets you out at the end of a long trip as fresh
as when you set off, the Passat saloon will nevertheless press on with some
verve whenever you feel like cracking the whip.
Unless you've opted the range-topping four-wheel drive model your Passat will
be front-wheel drive. This new Passat is around 85kg lighter than its predecessor
and is underpinned by Volkswagen Group's MQB platform (Modularer Querbaukasten,
if you really must know) that is also serving with distinction in the latest
Golf and Audi TT.
Enhancing the driving satisfaction no end is VW's Driver Profile Selection which
offers five different driving modes: Normal, Comfort, Sport, Eco; and Individual.
Comfort delivers exactly that, while Sport maximises dynamic ability without
going too far in the 'firming up' and makes the Passat feel gratifyingly agile,
all. Add to that speed-sensitive steering that turns-in smartly and you have
a car that when booted will grip and stick with you. Reassuringly strong brakes
temper it all nicely.
This spacious, fine-riding new eighth-gen VW saloon has upped the Passat's game:
previously always a badge level above other family saloons, now seriously better
all round it's easily good enough to take on Germany's A-Team of Audi, BMW and
Volkswagen Passat SE Business 2.0 TDI
Maximum speed: 136mph | 0-62mph: 8.7 seconds | Test Average: 55.7mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 250lb ft | CO2 106g/km