VW Passat vs Lexus IS200d

VW’s revised flagship passat offers buyers a slice of luxury at a cut price. but is it a match for new entry version of Lexus’ IS?

VW Passat vs Lexus IS200d header

Even though the UK is still in the grip of a financial 
crisis, consumers remain keen to go upmarket. Whether it’s cars, clothes or property, buyers want premium brands, designer labels and a desirable postcode. But 
for many, cash is tight, so means these prestige purchases are 
tantalisingly out of reach.

However, even if your budget is more high street than Harvey Nichols, you can still get behind the wheel of a car that exudes classy appeal and premium status. For less than the price of an entry-level, diesel-engined BMW you can secure the keys to a range-topping Volkswagen Passat. We’ve already tested the heavily revised model 
in estate guise, 
so now it’s the turn of the sleek saloon to prove its mettle. 

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Passat

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With improved refinement, 
better efficiency and first-rate 
build quality, it promises to be a 
cut above mainstream rivals and a match for more expensive models.Up against the German machine is a new entry-level version of the tweaked Lexus IS saloon. The Japanese manufacturer has a strong image and legendary build quality, so the newcomer promises to be a tempting proposition for buyers on a tighter budget.

So, can the Passat scoop top spot, or will the Lexus give you more flash for your cash?

Verdict

Both our challengers prove that you don’t have to pay over the odds for supreme refinement and first-class build quality. However, there can only be one winner – and it’s not the Lexus.

Despite a raft of updates, the IS still lags behind the class leaders. Sadly, this new entry model only highlights the saloon’s weaknesses. A gutless engine, cramped cabin and short standard kit list are the car’s biggest issues. It’s not all bad news, though, because the IS 200d is beautifully built and backed by one of the best dealer networks in the business.

So, it’s an easy victory for the Passat. In range-topping Sport guise, it undercuts the Lexus on price and comes loaded with kit. And with the BlueMotion additions, it promises to be cheap to run. Although it’s unlikely to excite on a twisting B-road, the mix of refinement, quality and comfort make the VW a worthy winner.

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