By Patrick James on 2016-07-10 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Volkswagen Passat SE
Business 2.0 TDI
IT says a lot about the success of Volkswagen, despite emissions problems, that model names just seem to go on and on . . . and on.
There's the Golf, which has been around for decades, as has the Polo, not to mention the Beetle in various guises.
One of the most successful of the lot has been the Passat, launched as a hatchback in 1973, and 43 years later has sold over 22 million worldwide.
I owned an early model and have seen the car evolve into a one of the most favoured cars in the fleet/business market, while still maintaining a loyal following with private buyers.
It's not hard to see why, like its stablemate Audi, models evolve gradually rather than change dramatically and the latest Passat, which has been around for around 18 months now has moved on again with a model that is 85kg lighter, yet has a longer wheelbase and therefore more interior room.
That also means better economy, not just from the lighter weight, but from the range of efficient engines, including the model tested here.
The level of equipment, fit and finish puts it up there challenging executive motors, but without the price tag premium.
It does look good, sleek and aerodynamic, it features chrome-plated window surrounds, neat light clusters with daytime LEDs, plus nice touches like body coloured bumpers with integrated indicators in the heated and folding door mirrors which also feature puddle lights.
The interior is a comfortable and classy place to be with the dash dominated by a colour touchscreen which houses the nav system, and controls other functions like phone and app connectivity, climate functions and sound system which includes eight speaker system with DAB radio, CD player and auxiliary, USB and SD functionality.
A real highlight is the optional space age 'cockpit' digital display.
The 12.3-inch high resolution TFT dash display screen has customable menus and information so the speedo and rev counter dials sit with with the sat nav screen in the background. It looks great and further adds to the executive feel of the car.
The rest of interior features top notch materials, soft touch finish to dash, doors, plus controls and switchgear which are logically placed and easy to use and all finished off with classy chrome trim.
It looks good inside and out and is a decent drive too. The power unit transverse-mounted two-litre diesel unit, is both pacey and frugal.
An astonishing 70-odd mpg is claimed with CO2 emissions of 106g/km. Those pesky nitrogen oxide emissions are also suppressed by a diesel particulate filter.
Real time economy is nearer mid-fifties which is excellent and the car still has plenty of pace. It can hit 60mph in just over eight seconds via a typically slick six-speed gearbox.
Aimed as it is at the business market, it needs to be a comfortable car on longer journeys and it is, with supportive well-adjustable seats adjustable steering column and excellent soundproofing.
The ride is comfortable and the handling as good as anything in its class and in addition offers a large, variably adjusted boot.
This model is well equipped with standard kit including remote central locking; alarm with interior protection, keyless star, adaptive cruise control, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring, and electronic parking brake with auto hold, hill hold.
There are also parking sensors, front and rear, automatic leaving home and manual coming home lighting functions, dusk sensor,automatic, driving lights, rain sensor, automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror, air conditioning and electric windows.
You get plenty for your cash, but the extras on this model whacked it up from just over £25,000 to £32,670. Right up there in the executive bracket, admittedly with virtually every toy and goody you could want.
These included the 12.3 inch upgraded sat nav/DVD radio system with integrated voice activation, 64GB SSD, hard drive, preloaded European navigation data, storage compartment in front centre armrest with integrated USB socket, for telephone charging, connection to the vehicle's external aerial for improved reception, keyless entry includes hands free boot opening and 17-inch Anthracite alloys.
Volkswagen Passat SE Business 2.0 TDI
Mechanical: 168bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 70.6
Insurance Group: 19
C02 emissions: 106/km
Bik rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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