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It's taken almost two years for the Passat GTE to reach UK shores after being officially revealed at the 2014 Paris motor show, however, despite the delay, its still one of the few hybrid-powered estates you can currently buy and the German carmaker has high hopes for the new car, especially in the company car market.
For fleet customers the Passat GTE makes a great deal of sense as it emits just 39g/km, placing the car into a 7% BIK tax band for the current 2016/17 year, and offers an official combined fuel economy of 166mpg.
Powering the Passat GTE is a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 9.9kWh battery, together they produce 218hp and 400Nm of torque, enabling the car to accelerate from 0-62mph in a brisk 7.6 seconds.
Officially the car can travel 31 miles on electric power alone, depending on the speed and type of journey you travel and charging the battery takes four hours and 15 minutes from a domestic plug.
Regenerative braking technology is on hand to recharge the battery either by normal driving, or you can intensify by setting the B mode via the automatic gearbox.
You've got a choice of four electric driving modes; the car is automatically set to e-mode which uses the electric power only, there's a Charge mode which will conserve the battery range, ideal if the latter part of your journey is in the city, Hybrid mode charges the battery under braking and predominantly uses the petrol engine.
Finally, if you want a sportier drive, selecting GTE mode unleashes the full potential of the engine and battery combined.
The specifically enhanced DSG gearbox mated to the engine is excellently tuned and the change from battery to engine is seamless.
The standard Passat Estate's accolades of comfort and smooth performance remain well and truly intact in the GTE; excellent on the motorway and surprisingly agile in town, the drive is overall very accomplished, albeit conservative.
One trim level
Volkswagen has chosen to sell the GTE as a stand-alone trim, and standard specification includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satnav (ours has been upgraded to 8-inch), three-zone climate control, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and automatic lights.
We're big fans of some of the special GTE design touches, the blue detailing in the lights and brake calipers are a particular highlight, plus the blue seat stitching details and various badging inside help lift what is a very refined cabin.
Also included on our test car is just under £6000 worth of options, the Driver Assistance Pack Plus includes a raft of safety kit including a blind spot monitoring system, a lane keeping aid and traffic sign recognition tool for £1215. The 360-degree reversing camera is worth considering too and costs an extra £770.
The Active Info Display is another option we would definitely consider; it's very similar to Audi's Virtual Cockpit and displays all the essential information, including a large map view, on a 12.3-inch screen offering excellent resolution in front of the steering wheel for £580.
Upgrading the satnav system to include voice control functions, a larger 8-inch screen and new systems like Apple CarPlay seems quite steep at £825, though.
The materials used around the cabin are of excellent quality and inside is neat, comfortable and sophisticated, with nice touches like the retro analogue clock and aluminum inserts. The infotainment system is starting to look its age, though.
You can buy the Passat GTE as an estate or a saloon; here we're testing the former, which is a hugely practical and spacious car. There's lots of storage cubbies littered around the cabin, plus the boots large 650 litres of space will accommodate a couple of large suitcases or golf bags.
Those in the rear seats are well taken care of too, with a centre armrest, separate air-con controls and reading lights all available, plus a separate 12V socket so devices can be charged on the move.
The seats are large and comfortable and inside the boot is an underfloor compartment, ideal for storing the charging cables out of view.
Although running cost advantages, if you utlise the electric battery properly, are undoubtedly going to appeal to company car drivers, residual values for the Passat GTE are very disappointing at 27.2%, miles apart from the cheaper and better to drive, BMW 330e's figure of 36.57%.
The higher rate of depreciation also has a big impact on whole-life costs with the Passat GTE costing 69.98p per-mile, over 14p more than the diesel alternative in the range, the 2.0TDI 150 SE Business.
Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE
Model price range: £37,990
Residual value: 27.2%
Service, maintenance and repair: £2068
Vehicle Excise Duty: £0
National insurance: £1520
Cost per mile: 69.9p
Fuel consumption: 166mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 39g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £44/£89
Boot space: 650 litres
Engine size/power: 1395cc/156hp + 9.9kWh electric battery/115hp
The technology is very well executed and company car drivers will welcome the low BIK tax bills, its pretty expensive, though, and residuals and whole-life costs are pretty poor, plus some of the tech is starting to look dated.