A small nip and tuck to the evergreen Passat isn’t actually the largest Volkswagen information of 2019, however it’s one which holds significance to British enterprise patrons. It is a well-liked firm automobile and motorway mile-muncher, and nearly 4 out of each 5 Passats leaving UK Volkswagen forecourts are accounted for by fleet gross sales, not personal prospects.
That’s why there’s a closely up to date plug-in hybrid mannequin with tiny firm automobile tax, however it’s additionally a cause why the Passat retains a large diesel line-up, making certain lots of alternative for long-distance drivers. There’s an all-new 2.Zero-litre diesel with 148bhp and intelligent cylinder deactivation know-how, whereas there’s additionally a scorching 237bhp bi-turbo mannequin. Someplace within the center resides this, the 187bhp 2.Zero-litre TDI.
Pushed right here in much less well-liked saloon format (gross sales between property and saloon Passats are break up round 2:1), the design stays pretty restrained in a category changing into ever extra obsessive about sporty appears to be like, although a racier-looking R-Line trim exists and should be well-liked. Tweaked bumpers entrance and rear, a barely retouched grille, new paint and alloy wheel decisions, new tail-lights and new Passat lettering are all you’ll discover on the skin, however these delicate variations add up, and it’s clear to see that this can be a refreshed automobile.
Modifications on the within main on attempting to make the Passat really feel extra fashionable. There’s some new trim and end, plus a brand new steering wheel, the analogue clock mounted on the dashboard has been eliminated, the infotainment has been up to date with a pointy and slick eight-inch display screen normal throughout all fashions, and an 12.Three-inch digital instrument panel is now accessible throughout a large slice of the vary, although solely via a pricey choice pack.
The additions are minor however regardless, the Passat nonetheless appears like a contemporary and meticulously bolted collectively automobile when you climb aboard. It climbs no additional up the ladder from a top quality perspective and it’s nonetheless not fairly a match for an Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE or BMW Three Collection for luxurious. However positioned throughout the context of its true rivals, it feels on the cash; maybe solely a properly specced Mazda 6 will be thought of plusher inside for the money.
Area within the cabin will be thought of good up entrance and par for the course within the rear, on condition that the big transmission tunnel cuts into the center seat. Nonetheless, these after the appears to be like of the saloon gained’t be too disheartened with the boot, given its wholesome 586-litre measurement.
Very like the Golf, the Passat stays a automobile that’s straightforward to drive above all else. There’s loads of adjustability within the seat and steering wheel, so getting comfy is a doddle. The controls are properly weighted, the steering itself is constructive sufficient regardless of the absence of suggestions, and the efficiency of the 187bhp 2.Zero-litre TDI unit goes with out query. It’s able to Zero-62mph in 7.9 seconds and few patrons will discover they want greater than this; certainly, many could choose to economize with the 148bhp TDI choice.
Summoning the 400Nm torque whereas on the transfer doesn’t occur fairly as rapidly as you’d like, although. The DSG transmission, whereas a easy shifter, feels a little bit languid in its responsiveness, and it could possibly be faster to answer kickdown. Telltale diesel clatter and street noise are there however they’re not overly intrusive, and wind noise is impressively quelled, making this an easy-going choice for motorway monotony. A 66-litre gasoline tank, paired with claimed combined economic system of 49.7mpg, implies that in idea a minimum of, the Passat is able to 720 miles between fills. In real-world phrases, anticipate round 600 miles between journeys to the pumps.
Nonetheless, one much less enjoyable oddity about our check automobile was the experience high quality. The Passat has by no means been a household saloon with a harsh edge, and even with loads of rubber surrounding the usual 17-inch wheels on our SEL grade automobile, there was one thing amiss with the best way the Passat dealt with the combined street surfaces we drove it on. There was no crashiness, however it was eager to choose up vibrations, transmitted via the seat and up via the steering wheel, suggesting some damper work could possibly be performed.
What appears to be like prone to pull patrons in the direction of the Passat is the know-how and new driver help options launched on this Mk8 facelift. The massive information is the addition of VW’s ‘Journey Help’ semi-autonomous driver support, which is normal equipment throughout the line-up. It really works with an up to date adaptive cruise management system and lane help to help braking, acceleration and steering on motorway model roads, proper as much as speeds of 130mph. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto arrive too, whereas elsewhere, SEL automobiles function pinpoint-sharp navigation, voice management, a three-year subscription to VW We Join distant providers and add luxuries resembling leather-based upholstery and heated entrance seats.
Working prices will dictate an enormous quantity of Passat purchases although, not the trinkets, and whereas even this 187bhp 2.Zero-litre diesel gained’t value quite a bit to run the taxman gained’t take it straightforward on firm automobile patrons. 31 per cent BIK is steep, whereas the plug-in hybrid GTE saloon – which carries a £four,000 premium on record worth – takes on a 16 per cent fee. It has extra equipment, extra energy and higher economic system, and relying on how a lot tax you pay within the first place, you may have it for a similar outlay if the sums work in your favour.