40: Volkswagen Passat – Further proof there are alternatives to SUVs

Top 100 cars for 2019: Hugely refined and soothing on a long journey, and the build quality is second to none in the segment

VW Passat is well-balanced, rides comfortably, and has more grip and agility than you expect, at first

VW Passat is well-balanced, rides comfortably, and has more grip and agility than you expect, at first

 

More the stuff of the company car ladder than, necessarily, the stuff of dreams the Passat is there as yet another reminder that SUVs and crossovers are not the only fruit and that the ‘trad’ saloon and estate still have a lot to offer the canny buyer. Not least lower prices and lower running costs.

Thanks to the stampede for SUVs, VW has upgraded the Passat a bit in order to, hopefully, expand its appeal and so even a basic Trendline model now comes with such things as an 8.5-in touchscreen infotainment system, autonomous emergency braking, and more.

More expensive models can feel positively ritzy for not an awful lot more money. The Passat is also a deeply satisfying car to drive. It may lack the incisiveness of a Mazda 6 or even a Ford Mondeo, but it’s well-balanced, rides comfortably, and has more grip and agility than you expect, at first.

It’s also hugely refined and soothing on a long journey, and the build quality is second to none in the segment. The estate, a good looking thing, is also massive inside, and hugely practical. Lacking slightly for excitement? Plugin GTE model is an effective part-electric car, but pricey (if you can get one). Yes, but arguably that’s why everyone’s gone to SUVs now…

Best model: Passat Highline 1.6 TDI for €35,570

Price range: €28,970 to €52,550. Finance from €309 per month.

Co2 emissions: 40 to 150g/km

Sum up: Sensible, not sensual