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First Drive

Road Test: Volkswagen Passat 2.0 BiTDI SCR GT 4MOTION 5dr DSG

£34,510 when new
710
Published: 05 May 2015
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    240bhp

  • 0-62

    6.3s

  • CO2

    146g/km

  • Max Speed

    147Mph

Wake up TG, that's the old Passat!

Not so - but from the rear, the eighth-gen Passat's restyle is so subtle even its parents couldn't tell them apart. The front is better - a wide, chrome-festooned Phaeton-alike face. As per usual from VW, the real overhaul has occurred out of sight...

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What's the point of that, then?

Think about it - the types who buy Passat wagons demand lots of space, refinement, and some posh fixtures and fittings wrapped in an unassuming shell. The new Passat Estate does all of the above comprehensively better than the outgoing car - which itself was ageing remarkably gracefully.

Thanks to the modular MQB chassis, 2015's Passat is marginally shorter but much roomier - the interior has a handy 33mm of extra length, while the 650-litre boot swells to 1,780 litres with the rear backrests folded - up 47 and 49 litres respectively. That's all in a car, which, thanks to clever material usage in the rear axle, bodyshell, steering gubbins and even the wiring looms, is 85kg lighter than its forebear. Remarkable engineering, no?

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Will I feel all this when I climb inside?

The extra room certainly: a six-foot-plus adult will be perfectly cheerful seated behind a similarly lofty driver. Visibility is also improved, and you'll appreciate the jump in material and build quality, which surpasses even the MkVII Golf, let alone the Ford Mondeo. It's far from stimulating - UK Passats won't be offered with the Audi TT's space-age digital instruments until July, and even then the only other cabin detail of note is the stretched air vent which mimics sheet music staves - but the ergonomics are spot on and it's as easy to use as a toaster.

Does that diet turn the Passat wagon into a corner carver?

No - a Mondeo or BMW 3 is a palpably sportier drive, despite all of the Passat test cars wearing £700 of adaptive dampers. Meanwhile, the new 237bhp, 369lb ft BiTDI twin-turbo diesel offers 62mph in a GTI-spec 6.3 seconds and impressively brief turbo lag - yet isn't an out-and-out diesel performance car, so the whole experience is a bit disjointed. Fuel economy on our test was an alarming 34.2mpg - the regular 2.0 TDIs offering around 150bhp are a much better fit.

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Anything else?

Watch the price. Spec a wagon with the bi-turbo diesel engine, 4WD, a seven-speed DSG and some tech toys and the price soars north of £40k. The Passat is just as inoffensively competent for over £10k less.

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