Car Review: Volkswagen - Passat  Series 05 (4 stars)

Recommended. Big, sensible and comfort. Lacks excitement, but still the one to beat in the segment.

Volkswagen really moved the game on with this Passat, offering buyers more space than anything else in the segment. It's the size of a full-sized executive car, despite being priced competitively against far smaller "rep box" rivals.

The conservative styling is predictably Volkswagen, and although the Passat is far from being a visually exciting proposition, its restrained, handsome good looks are pretty much guaranteed to age well. The interior is very impressive: like a scaled-up version of the Golf, including most of the same control layout and switchgear. Front and rear seat passengers enjoy very generous space and both the saloon and the estate can muster vast bootspace.

The Passat's wafty driving dynamics make it a fine long-distance companion. The comfort-orientated suspension makes light work of bumpier road surfaces, while it can still turn in a credible performance over a country road. Motorway refinement is particularly impressive, the Passat cruising quietly at the sort of speeds that really test noise insulation.

The basic 1.6 litre FSI petrol engine can't offer anything more than average performance, although the smooth-revving 2.0 FSI petrol is far better. We still struggle to see much point for the 2.0 litre TFSI and 3.2 litre V6 variants - this isn't a car that's about all-out straight line performance. On the diesel front, the entry-level 1.9 litre unit offers respectable performance, but the 138 bhp 2.0 litre TDI is the pick of the range. Don't bother with the more powerful 168 bhp 2.0 TDI, though - it's more expensive, less refined and barely faster than the standard 2.0 TDI.

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Volkswagen Passat Series 05 StatisticsCar Reviews

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