Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Estate of the nation: Volkswagen's Passat ups the game

Long recognised as one of Europe’s favourite workhorses, Volkswagen’s Passat now adds elegance to its many well-established qualities.

One word simply describes the latest model’s styling – and that's: handsome”, be the car in saloon form or an estate like the SE BlueMotion Technology 2.0 TDi 140 PS 6spd DSG that I road tested for a busy week.

That model name is as long as the monniker of a pedigree greyhound but it’s fitting for such a highly sophisticated piece of kit.

With the exception of the roof, all the car’s metal panels and glass areas are of brand new design.

Priced at £25,195 for the version I drove, the Passat has the poise and style of a top-line executive express. And it comes fully loaded with such goodies as brake assist, electronic diff lock, traction control, a full compliment of air bags, a press and drive key, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function, heated and automatically dimming wing mirrors, height and reach adjustable steering wheel and six-way adjustable front seats.

Power comes from a potent but economical and commendably smooth running 2.0-litre diesel that can propel the car to a potential 131-mph top speed, cracking the 62-mph barrier in 10 seconds from a standing start.

The car is neither small nor lightweight but is aerodynamically efficient enough to produce a frugal 54.3-mpg fuel consumption figure in the combined cycle, thanks also to VW‘s innovative BlueMotion technology

Also helping the pocket, Volkswagen has some attractve finance deals at present, including the option of fixed price servicing.

According to industry statistics, estate cars are coming back into fashion right now. The Passat estate offer features a highly flexible load space that can be extended to provide a massive 1,731 litres of stowage capacity when all the rear seats are lowered.

A sliding load bed forms part of the highly useful cargo management system that is optional on all models except BlueMotion.

Neat roof rails provide even more carrying capacity while, admitting three times more light than does a conventional sunroof, the optional glass panoramic sunroof creates a beautifully light and airy passenger compartment.

The Passat is now in its seventh generation, 37 years after the first ever Passat went on sale. Since then some 15-million examples have been sold, in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Continued sales success can be attributed to many factors – from great looks and outstanding build quality to reasonable running costs and strong re-sale prices.

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