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Unusually for any sector of the market, just over half of Passat registrations in the UK will be the estate version - compared with 35% for the new Ford Mondeo, for example - and that's despite a £1530 premium over the saloon.
The upper medium sector is now the one most dominated by the business car market, and VW predicts that more than 80% of new Passats will find a company car-related home.
The new Passat follows VW's long-term strategy of continual evolution, although compared with some of VW's new models, it's a more noticeable step forward both inside and out.
Compared with the previous estate, the new model has a boot that's 47 litres larger at 650 litres - the new saloon is up 21 litres at 586 litres - while the car itself is 2mm shorter. But the most noticeable development is that the front has a wider and more aggressive stance, while the Passat also now comes with narrower headlamps and LED rear lights.
The interior design and quality is up at the level of the sector's premium brands, and the most popular SE trim offers standard front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and the accident prevention Front Assist system, while the fleet-orientated SE Business trim adds satnav, remote folding door mirrors, rear tinted glass and front fog lights for an additional £700. According to VW, that's at least £1200 of extra kit. VW also claims improvements in CO2 of up to 14%. This 1.6 TDI 120 isn't as efficient as the new Ford Mondeo, though, which gets under 100g/km.
The only issue is that its P11D price accurately reflects the Passat's higher level of quality compared with its mainstream rivals. Looking at mid-spec competition from Ford, Hyundai, Peugeot, Skoda and Vauxhall, all are at least £1300 cheaper, and while the VW claws that back to some degree with a better RV, it's still just a shade behind the majority of the cheaper competition for cost per mile. However, a little over a penny per mile covers several models at the head of the class, including the VW.
The new Passat impresses with improved looks, interior quality, CO2, tech and driver appeal, and is a logical choice for anyone wanting a big estate.
VW Passat Estate 1.6 TDI SE
Model price range
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Peerless in the mainstream class
Classy inside and out, good-sized boot
That quality comes at a P11D price that brings cheaper rivals into play for whole life cost