Now in its eighth generation, the Volkswagen Passat is a stalwart of the motoring industry, racking up 22 million sales worldwide. If it was a goalie, it would be considered a very safe pair of hands. But, as good as the last Passat was, it could never be described as particularly exciting. With sharper looks, a lighter body and stylish new cabin, the latest Passat is hoping to attract more customers through its sheer desirability, not just attractive leasing deals. Having just been made European Car of the Year, it’s off to a good start. We often praise Volkswagen interiors for their logical dashboard layouts and impressive quality, but not for being very daring. So, by VW standards this continuation of the vent detailing across the dashboard is borderline radical and gives the Passat a contemporary feel. Even the standard S model gets DAB radio, Bluetooth and eight speakers.Sat-nav is included with this SE Business trim level and above, bringing an crisp 8.0-inch touchscreen and the possibility of adding Car-Net. This brings online traffic info, points of interest and google street view. From later this year, you’ll also be able to choose a 12.3-inch display to replace the instrument panel, as seen in the Audi TT. The previous Passat was hardly pokey inside, but this one has a 33mm longer cabin thanks to all four wheels been pushed out to the corners of the car. Knee room for rear passengers is very good, as is head room. The estate’s boot has increased in size by 47 litres to 650, easily surpassing the Mondeo’s 500 litres and Insignia Sport Tourer’s 540 litres. The Passat is around 85kg lighter than before, the equivalent of asking one large adult to get out and walk. It also comes as standard with driver profile selection, sharpening up the throttle and steering in Sport mode. Like the outgoing model, the Passat makes an excellent motorway cruiser, but it also has faithful handling, with plenty of grip.It might not be exciting to drive, but comfort is excellent, with bumps soaked up with little fuss and very little noise in the cabin, which is crucial for the Passat owners who will spend several hours in their car each day. The all-diesel line-up starts with the 118bhp 1.6-litre TDI we’re testing, followed by a 148bhp or 187 2.0TDI and even a four-wheel drive 237bhp model. We’ve found the 11.0 second acceleration to 62mph of the 1.6 feels rather sluggish, so we’d recommend the 148bhp
diesel which is expected to be the best-seller.The 1.6 will appeal to business drivers though, returning 68.9mpg and emitting only 107g/km of CO2, costing £20 each year in road tax. The latest Passat might only look subtly different, but that’s just the Volkswagen way, it’s actually been thoroughly improved. The interior is now so good it can hold its own against the likes of Mercedes and BMW, and the Passat is smooth and quiet to drive. The Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6 are slightly more fun to drive, but the gap is now far smaller and the Passat is a great all-rounder. But, what do you think of the Volkswagen Passat estate? Let us know in the comments section and for more videos don’t forget to subscribe. To watch reviews of its rivals, click on the links at the end of the video. .