The Passat is a hugely popular car in the UK, with almost half-a-million finding homes here since the launch of the original model in 1973. It might have always had conservative styling, but excellent comfort, reliability and quality have always come to the fore with the Passat, making it ideal for families and business drivers. And you know what, the latest saloon could be the best-looking Passat yet, and if you go for this BlueMotion model, it’s certainly the most economical. Now, BlueMotion is by no means the most lavishly specced trim level, but even here you get a sense of the lovely quality in the Passat’s cabin. This brushed aluminium trim is very classy, and while not to every taste, the full-width vents blend styling and functionality. Every Passat comes with an electric handbrake, so it has allowed the designers to free up space around the centre console, with two large cup holders, somewhere to put your pen and a large cubby to charge your devices. In fact there’s lots of storage in here, with large door bins front and rear and a useful glovebox.The Passat is well-equipped too, with Bluetooth as standard, along with a 6.5-inch infotainment system and DAB radio. You can also choose a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster and head-up display, in place of these traditional gauges. The mid-range SE Business trim gets sat-nav, while the top R-Line trim has a sportier body styling pack. Competing with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, the Passat isn’t a small car, so hop in the back and there’s loads of legroom and headroom, and it’s pretty comfortable too, with rear air vents and a few ways of charging your phone back here too. The boot measures 586 litres, which is certainly big enough for a family’s suitcases, but if you need more room, or prefer a hatchback-style opening, you’re probably better off with the Passat Estate and its 650-litre boot. Hop in the Passat BlueMotion, and you can certainly tell it’s aimed at economy, because it doesn’t really have the surge of torque of a larger diesel.In fact, you actually need to drive this 118bhp 1.6-litre a bit more like a petrol, particularly because its long gearing means you hold it in second and third for a bit longer before changing up. Still, it can manage a claimed 10.8 second dash to 62mph, which is faster than the equivalent Mondeo. It’s also not bad when you consider this large saloon can return 76.3mpg, a figure you can quite
easily see on the trip computer if you spend some time on the motorway. Not only that, but 95g/km of CO2 emissions means it’s also exempt from road tax, making this Passat cheaper to run than a lot of superminis. Of course you might need more power, and the 2.0-litre TDI with 148bhp is the biggest seller in the UK, and in our opinion it’s also the best all-rounder. You can go the whole hog and get the bi-turbo diesel with 237bhp, but it doesn’t feel that much quicker than the cheaper car in normal driving.How does it handle? Well, it won’t set your trousers on fire, but as you’d probably expect, the Passat is incredibly surefooted and comfortable. The steering is set up to be effortless on the motorway, a job it does really well, and while there’s not too much body roll, the car will start to gently understeer if you push a bit too hard. The standard Passat BlueMotion costs from just over £23k, which is quite impressive for a car of this size and with stellar economy. A Mondeo 1.5 TDCi Zetec costs around £1k less. This test car comes in at near £27k though, with options including sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, VW’s PreCrash protection package, parking sensors and a convenience pack. The word that springs to mind whenever I drive a Passat is “solid”. Because that word pretty much sums up its build quality, handling and even its merits as an ownership proposition. You might want something more exciting in the garage for weekends, but on your commute or long motorway trips, the Passat is quiet, refined and most importantly of all, it sips fuel.Like the look of the new Passat? Let us know in the comments section and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Click on the enquire button to find out more details about this car or for any other models, visit Carkeys.co.uk. And to watch more reviews, click one of the links on screen now. .