ESTATE cars often earn the rather unattractive label of glorified load-luggers and in fairness it's a title that is pretty well suited to many models.
Nevertheless, that's not the case with the Volkswagen Passat Estate.
Despite still delivering all the practicality and versatility that a giant estate car should the Passat oozes style, classy design cues and a range of top notch on-board technology.
The eighth generation Passat looks very fresh and modern both inside and out and there are numerous features to attract the eye.
It has sleek streamlining, 17-inch alloys, daytime running lights, roof rails, front fog lights with cornering function, smart body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators and sweeping headlight clusters.
Move inside and the Passat Estate is totally clutter-free, yet there is a host of techno treats to be explored, such as a 3Zone climate control system, heated seats, heated steering wheel, MirrorLink to connect up to all smartphone services via a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, sat nav, Bluetooth, a multi-function flat-bottomed steering wheel, an eight-speaker sound system with CD player and DAB radio, plus plenty more besides.
All the technology is very simple to access and the instrumentation is perfectly positioned for driver usability.
That said; one slightly irritating factor is the steering wheel heater which is automatically activated when the driver puts the seat warmer on - an extra button that appears on the touchscreen needs to be pressed to turn it off. But that aside it really is difficult to fault the Passat Estate.
Comfort levels are very high and there's room for a small army inside the vehicle along with all their kit.
The boot, with its adjustable floor, can accommodate 650 litres of luggage which can easily be increased to a whopping 1,780 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere there are numerous handy storage options including a good-sized glovebox, a deep central bin, cup holders and practical door pockets.
This car, in SE trim grade, was powered by a 1.6-litre 120ps diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Despite its larger-than-life dimensions the Passat Estate is actually quite nimble and proved easier to manoeuvre than I expected.
Admittedly, you will need an extra lengthy parking space to accommodate the 4.7 metre long vehicle, but the rear parking camera along with sensors do make the process a little simpler.
But in reality, this is a car that will be snapped up by business drivers who clock up the endless motorway miles, and that's just where the Passat Estate really excels.
The acceleration, road holding and all-round dynamics are ideal for lengthy journeys where a steady pace is required but short bursts of speed are not out of the question.
With that in mind, the Passat Estate can reach from 0-62mph in 11.0 seconds and tops out at 127mph.
By observing some of the fuel saving tips such as gear change prompts and keeping the revs low when braking, the car can deliver a combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg with carbon emissions of 107g/km and they are figures to keep fleet managers smiling.
VW has also ensured the car is packed with a comprehensive list of safety features including anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake pressure distribution, electronic stability control, traction control, a trailer stabilisation function, automatic post collision braking, numerous airbags and lots more.