What is it like on the inside?
The Passat’s cabin quality and materials are terrific, and so too are the ergonomics. It all just works, with a premium finish that takes it a clear class above the Ford. You can even get full digital dials, with a complementary screen in the centre console, if you really want to impress others with your touch-swiping skills.
That said, good as the screens are for impressing folk, they’re the least ergonomically useful bit of the Passat’s interior. The instrument binnacle display is fussy, and the bigger touchscreen in the centre suffers badly for its lack of a zoom-in / list-scrolling knob. Navigating around maps is a fingerprint glitch-fest that’s far too tricky to be safe on the move. Meanwhile, the main menu screen uses large tiles which are easy to hit, but they’re all grey. So spotting the correct option as you rumble along is tricky. Come on, VW, what happened to common sense? Thankfully, the folks who designed the carpeted door bins and big stowage cubbies were paying attention, so it’s all very useful and put together beautifully. The seats fold easily, and the underfloor storage is generous. We also like that the reversing camera is hidden under the rear VW badge so it doesn’t get mucky. Now, if only the electronic tailgate wasn’t as tardy, we’d really have very little to nitpick...
MQB underpinnings bring a longer wheelbase that means there’s even more room in the rear, while the 650-litre seats-up boot stretches to 1,780 litres with them folded. In other words, it’s absolutely enormous – though for absolute raw litre-age bragging rights the Skoda Superb Estate remains, as its name suggests, rather brilliant and wonderfully subtle with it.