Volkswagen Passat (2015-2022) Review

The Volkswagen Passat is a sensible choice: comfortable, efficient, well equipped and surprisingly practical

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Impressive level of safety and luxury kit as standard
  • Powerful, economical and smooth diesel engines
  • Understated, high-quality feel
  • Not as fun to drive as rival cars
  • Cheapest car feels spartan
  • Limited number of used GTE plug-in hybrid models
Volkswagen Passat prices from £10,699.
Finance from £205.24 / month.

If Volkswagen Passats went on holiday, they would go to an all-inclusive beachfront hotel where they would sip their free cocktails by the pool. On a break that’s good value for money but not cheap; with plenty of choice but little adventure.

Much, come to mention it, like the car itself. It’s the sensible option for any family: big inside, with a large boot at the back: smooth on the road and quiet too. It's all wrapped up in quality materials and a modern design for a reasonable price. It does everything you'd want from a car - as long as you're not looking for a great deal of individuality.

As a saloon car, it might not look as practical as a larger hatchback like the Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, but its split rear seats do fold down, so you can push larger items through into the car, while leaving one seat for a passenger.

It’s not as versatile as crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai, VW Tiguan or Seat Ateca, which blend the mechanical parts from cars such as the Passat with a higher driving position, for a comfortable and economical drive, but with increased practicality.

The biggest competition for those who need greater practicality is the Volkswagen Passat Estate, which shares all the other virtues of the Passat saloon, but adds an even more practical load area and in our eyes looks better, too.

The Passat's interior features high-quality materials, although lower-order trims are a little gloomy and understated. The cabin is roomy and easily capable of seating four adults in comfort.

The boot is a class-leading 586 litres – and that’s before you push down the 60:40 split rear seat-backs, which increase capacity to 1,152 litres. A Nissan Qashqai’s seats-down boot volume is 1585 litres but all the same, it’s impressive for a saloon.

The Passat rides comfortably and is quiet over most surfaces. At all times it feels stable and composed, and doesn’t lean too much in corners. However, for a sharper driving experience you need to look to the Mazda 6.

Initially the car was sold with only diesel engines, though petrol and plug-in hyrbid options were added later. Diesel offerings range from a 120hp 1.6-litre to a 240hp 2.0-litre version and are smooth, quiet, economical and relaxing to drive. The sweet spot is the 150hp 2.0-litre. There’s a petrol-electric hybrid badged GTE that can achieve a claimed 166mpg, although expect 55mpg in real-world use - unless you religiously charge it every 20 miles or so. It can enter London’s congestion charge zone for free, so has its appeal.

The best value lies in SE Business trim with its sat-nav and good package of driver assist systems. Higher trims have more gadgets but will lose value more quickly, making the cost of owning and financing them more expensive. If you're buying a used model, however, higher specification models could prove particularly good value.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years
Boot size 586 litres
Width 1832mm
Length 4767mm
Height 1456mm
Tax (min to max) £0 to £145

Best Volkswagen Passat for...

Best for Economy – VW Passat GTE 1.4 TSI DSG

The GTE is a plug-in hybrid that can do up to 166mpg and emits just 39g/km CO2. It can even travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone. So it’s cheap to run, although expect more like 55mpg with motorway driving, on a par with the 190hp 2.0 TDI engine.

Best for Families – VW Passat 2.0 TDI 150 SE Business

SE Business brings sat-nav and valuable driver assist systems. The 150hp engine provides a good balance of power and economy, and the DSG gearbox makes long drives more relaxing.

Best for Performance – VW Passat 2.0 BiTDI DSG 4Motion GT

This is the fastest accelerating Passat from 0-62mph but, more importantly, when you're already moving and want to go faster to overtake. It would all be a bit of handful but for the fact that it’s four-wheel drive, which helps give you better traction when you're accelerating.

One to Avoid – VW Passat 1.6 TDI S

This least powerful and least well-equipped Passat might look a tempting proposition to someone on a budget but over the long-term is likely to be a frustrating choice for those very reasons. Buy a nearly new 150bhp 2.0 TDI instead.


  • January 2015 UK deliveries of saloon and estate begin with prices starting from £22,215. Diesel engines (1.6, 2.0 and 2.0-litre bi-turbo) only and in S, SE, SE Business, GT and R-Line trims. 
  • June 2015 Frugal 1.6 BlueMotion diesel arrives promising 78mpg
  • August 2016 VW Passat GTE PHEV (plug-in hybrid) arrives with prices starting at £34,025 after plug-in grant.

Understanding Volkswagen Passat names

Engine 2.0 TDI BMT 150

The figure ‘2.0’ is the size of the engine in litres (there’s a 1.6 engine and a 1.4, later replaced with a 1.5 version, too), while ‘TDI’ tells you it’s a diesel. ‘BMT’ stands for BlueMotion Technology, VW’s term for its energy-saving technologies that include engine start/stop, low resistance tyres. The figure ‘150’ is the engine’s power rating in horsepower, which can also be written as PS or hp.

Trim level SE Business

The trim level of a car lets you know how much equipment is included as standard. The higher the level, the more gadgets you get and the more that you pay.

Gearbox DSG

Volkswagen's automatic gearbox is known as a DSG. If there's no mention of this, then the car is probably a manual version.

Volkswagen Passat Engines

Diesel: 1.6 TDI SCR, 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI, 2.0 TDI SCR, 2.0 BiTDI SCR
Hybrid: 1.4 GTE PHEV

The Passat saloon is a mostly-diesel range with the mid-range 150hp 2.0 TDI the most popular version. This engine provides a good balance of economy and performance, so much so that it’s available in all trims.

The lower-powered 1.6 TDI has price on its side but little else. A cleaner and more frugal version, the 1.6 TDI SCR uses an additive to reduce emissions. However, you will need to occasionally top up a tank with a substance called AdBlue.

The higher-powered 190hp and 240hp 2.0 TDI engines use the same AdBlue technology. The most powerful of the two provides exhilarating overtaking performance and is only available with 4Motion four-wheel drive. However, it’s far from frugal making the 190hp a better all-round performance alternative.

The vastly more expensive GTE combines an electric motor with a 1.4-litre petrol engine to produce strong performance and low emissions figures in the official tests that every new car goes through. It’s a plug-in hybrid meaning its batteries can be charged either by the engine and regenerative braking, or from a power socket.

Powered purely by its batteries it can travel up to 31 miles before the petrol engine is needed to take over. For short journeys, you're likely to use very little - or no - fuel if the car is charged up. But on longer journeys, fuel economy falls to a fairly standard 55mpg, as the car's engine is doing most of the work. It is exempt from the London congestion charge and qualifies for a low business tax rate, however.

Volkswagen Passat Trims

Basic S trim is reasonably well equipped with features such as air-conditioning, a 6.5-inch colour screen and a digital radio. SE Business courts fleet drivers with lots of extras including sat-nav and valuable driver assist systems.

GT is the luxurious one with Alcantara trim, larger wheels and a panoramic roof. R-Line adds sporty detailing. All-wheel-drive 4Motion versions have Dynamic Chassis Control - which lets you change the firmness of the suspension on the move between more sporty and more comfortable setups - and full LED lighting.

Note that not all engines are available in all trims. The 1.6 TDI is offered with S, SE Business and GT trims but not R-Line. The higher-powered diesels are only available with GT and R-Line. The exception is the 150hp 2.0 TDI which is available in all trims.

BlueMotion trim is confusing because, with the exception of the GTE, the Passat’s engines are called BlueMotion, too. As a trim it is offered only with the 1.6 TDI where it brings lowered sport suspension and an extra 6mpg over the 1.6 TDI S. Bluemotion engines are so-called because they feature fuel-saving technologies.

As standard, the GTE model has more gadgets while in Advance trim it has a larger screen, a sat nav and even more technology.

Volkswagen Passat Reliability and warranty

The Passat’s doors close with a reassuring thunk, cabin materials feel premium and the paint appears to be deep. However, the Passat doesn't have the greatest track record of reliability. Owners rated this model in the bottom half of the Auto Express Driver Power survey.

Its three year and 60,000 mile warranty is typical of most car makers.

Used Volkswagen Passat

Buyers are turning away from the Passat, in favour of taller crossover and SUV cars, which offer a higher driving position and more space inside, even if they are generally less smooth and stable over bumps - and often more expensive to buy and run.

To appeal to more buyers, you'll find big VW Passat discounts on new cars, which pushes the price of used models down. The Volkswagen badge means that it still remains more desirable than rival cars, though, so prices aren't t bargain-basement levels.

The underpowered 1.6 TDI S will be the cheapest version you'll find, but best value may be the higher-powered and better-equipped models, which lose more of their value as they get older.


List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance







Passat 2.0 BiTDI DSG 4Motion GT







Best for families







Passat 2.0 TDI SE Business







Best for economy














Other Editions

Passat Estate (2015)

A sensible estate for sensible people, the Passat is practical, comfortable, and efficient