Volkswagen Passat

Estate SEL 2.0 TDI

150

Volkswagen Passat Estate, dynamic
Volkswagen Passat Estate, front
Volkswagen Passat Estate, profile
Volkswagen Passat Estate, rear
Volkswagen Passat Estate, interior
Volkswagen Passat Estate, interior, rear
Volkswagen Passat Estate, boot

IT won't turn heads, it's unlikely to thrill, but the new Passat Estate will probably fit the bill for families and long distance travellers better than most of its contemporaries.

Not for Volkswagen fancy names like Sportwagon, Touring or Sportbrake. The latest Passat is an estate, plain and simple...which just about sums up its no-nonsense approach to motoring.

Economical, hugely practical and with interior dimensions the size of a reasonable warehouse it no wonder the five door plain Jane outsells the four-door saloon two-to-one.

Here we drive the model expected to top seller. Powered by the ubiquitous two-litre turbo diesel it delivers 50-plus economy alongside a turn of speed that should satisfy most. And with a price tag of £32,000 it's unlikely to bust the bank.

Freshened and facelifted last year, it is roomier inside despite being a tad lower and shorter. With 650 litres of boot capacity, it goes towards the top of the space race in the large estate class. Fold the back seats and this rises to an enormous 1,780 litres.

The floor is flat and the opening tailgate doesn't even need power assistance, making it quicker to open and shut in the current atrocious weather.

Like the exterior of the Passat, the cabin is beautifully crafted if a bit on the plain side. High grade soft-touch plastics, easy-to-read dials and good quality upholstery have elevated the sense of occasion felt as a passenger.

Much of the controls are operated from the touchscreen, but it's good the heating, demisters and radio can be adjusted via knobs and switches that don't require the driver to take his or her eyes from the windscreen.

The 148bhp diesel unit is coupled to a twin clutch seven-speed automatic gearbox which copes admirably with the daily cut and thrust of town commuting and relaxes into an easy gait on the motorway.

A Sport button on the centre console might be a bit of a sop to fashion and is worth a play around with but most drivers will be quite content with the normal setting.

I did, however, feel that flappy paddles on the steering wheel might have been a worthwhile addition for those who want greater control of the transmission.

While no pretence is made towards sportiness, the Passat Estate actually handles and rides to a high standard with little body roll and good bump absorption. With a weight loss of 75kg over the previous version, it's no wonder the new model feels more agile and athletic. It's now an easy car to cover long distances in quickly.

Acceleration is quick enough for most with the dash to 62mph being completed in around nine seconds - there's an 180ps diesel for those in search of greater urge. With modest thirst - 50mpg is easily within reach - there's scope for travelling around 650-miles on a tankful.

Plenty of standard kit onboard the SEL model, including remote electric heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and DAB radio.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Passat Estate SEL 2.0 TDI 150

Price: £32,935

Mechanical:148bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.5

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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