3.3.2011 VW Passat BlueMotion 2.0 TDI SE review
Volkswagen continues to hone its Passat models pushing overall quality and refinement even closer to premium brands like Audi and Mercedes. This year will be the first time the estate outsells the saloon in the UK with just under 10,000 saloons and more than 11,000 estates.
As a low stress driving environment and capable workhorse, the Passat is right on target. Driven with restraint the fuel consumption is impressively frugal. Coming during the second half of 2011 is a 1.6 litre TDI diesel, producing 103bhp, which is expected to have a combined fuel figure of 68.8mpg while emitting 109g/km of CO2.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
With 236 lbs ft of torque from just 1750rpm, the 2-litre TDI Passat has a handy rush of power when needed – changing up early around 4,000rpm benefits fuel consumption without hampering performance. Maximum power of 138bhp arrives at 4200rpm and it's not worth going any further. Acceleration to 62mph takes a reasonable enough ten seconds if lightly laden. Given enough space the car can build up to a top speed of 132mph. The upper gears are long so if you get baulked by another vehicle you may have to drop a couple of gears to keep the plot alive.
All the edges of the dynamic envelope have been trimmed to deliver safe, reliable and consistent cornering behaviour with plenty of under-steer, the car running gently wide, to warn the driver to ease off if he or she tries to put on too much power in a bend. The steering is 'springy' rather than communicative so it doesn't encourage a press-on driving style anyway. The six-speed manual gear change is light and precise and the clutch is low effort too. Initial 'soft' brake pedal movement but fine once on properly.
Sharper edged styling than before echoing the latest VW Phaeton and more prominent front wheel blisters distinguish this comprehensively revised version of Volkswagen's mega seller. It has clocked up 15 million sales over the last 37 years and that's better than BMW, Mercedes or Audi can manage with their offerings. In the UK the elegant estate in 138bhp diesel SE trim is expected to be the best selling model. Payload 684kg. Max volume 1731 litres including the 80 litre spare wheel well. Length 4874mm.Width 1820mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
A touch screen to control the optional £695 satellite navigation system, the eight-speaker radio, Bluetooth phone connection and auxiliary inputs means there isn't a plethora of knobs and switches to contend with. Ride comfort is like thick cream and the electro-mechanically assisted steering is equally smooth.
The driver's seat has electric lumbar adjustment, manual on the front passenger side. The Passat's brakes were consistent but at times graunching sounding, electronic handbrake was hateful. Heated front seats are a £260 option, a huge panoramic glass sunroof £870 and metallic paint £465.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
If you have been hurrying and then back off it's intriguing how soon the Passat starts to reduce its average fuel consumption figure on its on-board computer. Drive gently on mixed trips without too much town slogging and 56mpg is usually in sight. Official figures are 50.4mpg urban, 70.6mpg extra-urban and 61.4mpg overall. Insurance group is 21. Carbon dioxide emissions of 120g/km put the 138bhp Passat Blue Motion Estate into band C, meaning annual road tax is £30. Passats have a three-years/ 60,000 mile warranty, and per mile running costs work out to be around 10p.
Every diesel engine model is now badged BlueMotion Technology indicating a balance between the highly focussed BlueMotion versions and the conventional models on which they are based. Stop-start systems to reduce fuel consumption and pollution in traffic are standard along with battery regeneration to boost alternator voltage during deceleration. The alternator can switch off entirely at times to save energy. Low rolling resistance tyres and reduced internal engine friction help reduce fuel thirst. A diesel particulate filter to reduce emissions below 5mg/km is also standard. The combined effect of these BlueMotion attributes is an impressive Next Green Car Rating of 33.
Passats are comfy places, which is partly why you see so many of them. SE standard spec includes alloy wheels, flat tyre indicator, chrome window surrounds, digital radio, stainless steel dashboard inserts, multi-function steering wheel and cruise control with fatigue detection warning. The test car was fitted with an optional £610 park and assist system which not only can tell you if a parallel parking space is big enough as you drive slowly down the street but will twirl the wheel to slot you into it as you control the accelerator, clutch and brake.
Model tested: Volkswagen Passat Estate BlueMotion Technology 2-litre TDI SE
Body-style: Elegant five-door estate car
Engine/CO2: 138bhp 1968cc four-cylinder turbo diesel / 120 gCO2/km
Trim grades: S, SE, Sport
On-road price: From £16,995 for 1.6 petrol. Price as tested £20,499
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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