THE Golf is the long-serving model that tends to be thought of as Volkswagen's great survivor - though in actual fact the Passat trumps it.
Launched in 1973 - a year before the Golf - the Passat can lay claim to being in continuous production ever since.
Its longevity is perhaps less lauded than that of the Golf as the Golf has stayed true to its basic design blueprint during its lengthy lifespan - while the Passat has seen a more Doctor Who-like number of incarnations.
Originally launched as a saloon and a hatchback - styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro - it has fluctuated between hatchback and saloon form, with an estate also offered for much of the model's lifetime.
There has also been a Mercedes-Benz CLS inspired CC version.
I confess to being something of a Passat fan - it became our de facto family car of choice from the mid seventies onwards and I subsequently owned a few in the 1980s.
The refreshed version of the eighth generation Passat hit the showrooms in autumn this year and would seem set to further build on a successful track record that has seen more than 30 million sold since its inception.
While the current Passat may perhaps be a little staid compared to that Giugiaro-styled original it is still a fairly handsome looking contender in its segment and boasts the kind of quality throughout that has become a Volkswagen trademark.
The updates to the latest version are modest rather than major, though changes have been made to the gearboxes and engines, as well as the customary exterior enhancements in the shape of the radiator grille and bumpers. Interior trim has also been upgraded.
The range now costs from £25,370 for an SE 1.5 TSI EVO manual petrol saloon with one of the big changes to the range being savings on the cost of the petrol electric plug-in hybrid GTE version.
Plump for either a saloon or estate version of this lean and green model and there's a saving of Â£2,500 to be had.
In terms of internal combustion there are three petrol and four diesel options available.
The range overall has been simplified and petrol engines range in power from 150-272ps, while the diesel engines range from 120-240ps.
This 150ps SEL 2.0-litre TDI saloon with the seven-speed DSG gearbox has an on the road price of £30,940.
Volkswagen are expecting the estate version of the same SEL, but with the manual gearbox, to be the best selling model in the range and it costs around the same as this model.
On the inside the latest Passat is classy it has to be said. An interesting equipment update is that it becomes the first Volkswagen to be fitted with something called Travel Assist, which is also a standard feature.
This oh so clever system allows the car to be driven at up to 130mph, where legal, in a partially automated mode - providing the driver's hands stay on the wheel.
It includes the latest version of Volkswagen's adaptive cruise control system, which can now automatically adjust the cars speed for temporary speed limits and slow down when approaching junctions and corners.
In addition the lane assist will recognise kerbs and grass verges - not just road markings.
As expected the latest Passat delivers a decent drive.
The 150ps version of the 2.0-litre diesel feels sporty and sprightly enough - and does well overall in terms of delivering a decent blend of performance and economy - but if you want a little more power there are two higher-powered diesel options available.
Ride quality is impressive and refinement levels high, with road noise kept to a minimum.
The Passat has always occupied a clever niche in the family/executive saloon segment - sitting above mainstream models like the Mazda5 and Vauxhall Insignia but below cars like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.