Volkswagen Passat

Estate R-Line TSI

Volkswagen Passat Estate, front
Volkswagen Passat Estate, front
Volkswagen Passat Estate, front
Volkswagen Passat Estate, side
Volkswagen Passat Estate, rear
Volkswagen Passat Estate, rear
Volkswagen Passat Estate, interior

IT might seem like the Volkswagen Passat has been around for ever but it hasn't - just a mere 47 years.

But for anyone born after 1973 I suppose it really has been around for ever.

In that time a massive 30 million have been built and VW has no plans to call it a day anytime soon.

In fact the newest version of this best seller recently hit the streets with a whole host of high tech tricks up its sleeve.

The exterior of the car hasn't changed too much, however, although small changes to the bumpers and the grille - with the addition of LED daytime running lights below it - do give the car a sharper look.

But it's the addition of innovative new equipment which has given the eighth generation Passat a mid-life lift.

Equipment like travel assist, which allows the car to partially take over the driving at speeds of up to 130 miles per hour as long as the driver is gripping the steering wheel so the car knows that he or she is always in control.

A new super sensitive type of steering wheel checks that there are always hands on wheel even if there is no input from the driver. Take your hands off the wheel for more than 10 seconds and the car will sound a warning and if ignored bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

And whereas the lane assist featured on previous generations of Passat used the white lines on the road to keep the car on the straight and narrow the latest one can also recognise grass verges and kerbs to keep it on track.

Other goodies standard on the new model include LED headlights and Wi-Fi for improved communications.

But impressive new technology apart the Passat is also still a great drive, with a nice combination of power, comfort and space.

The 2.0-litre petrol R-Line estate driven here has a lively 190bhp on tap which, while not exactly giving it hot hatch performance certainly ensured sharp, responsive motoring.

Mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox it produced smooth - sophisticated even - motoring in a very quiet cabin so not surprising then that so many company car drivers opt for this model in addition to private buyers.

The R-Line model comes with nice body kit like side skirts and special bumpers as well as heavily tinted windows on all but the front doors and the windscreen.

And on the inside there are some up-market leather sports seats - heated and electrically adjustable of course - to hold you firmly in place as well as an eight-inch touch screen for satellite navigation and onboard functions.

It also has lowered sports suspension for excellent handling as well as three drive modes; eco, normal and sport not to mention the option of keying in individual settings.

And if you really want to boost the car's performance try mixing the sport setting with manual gear changes by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

As an added bonus my test car came with the optional (at £800) area view and rear view camera, giving you - on a split screen - a clear view of what's behind you as well as an aerial view and making it almost impossible to go wrong when parking.

And if you still have a problem then this car will quite capably park itself.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Passat Estate R-Line TSI

Price: £34,375

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 144mph

0-62mph: 7.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 35.7

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions: 146g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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