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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat - Interior, design & technology

The design of the Volkswagen Passat is sleek, and the interior quality is excellent, but the touch-sensitive controls still irk

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

3.8 out of 5

Price
£38,470 to £51,495
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The Volkswagen Passat's exterior design has been made sleeker and less boxy than its predecessor’s. The R-Line trim has a slightly sportier look, and a rather expensive R-Line Signature pack adds larger 19-inch alloys and extra black exterior trim details (among numerous other interior upgrades).

Inside, quality has also taken a big step in the right direction, with high-end materials and a general sense of solidity that’s beyond that in the previous version. This is paired with a digital driver’s display and a column-mounted gear selector that opens up extra storage in the centre console.

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It is a shame that Volkswagen has introduced its much-maligned touch-sensitive climate control system in place of the physical dials used in the previous Passat. While improvements have been made, such as making the touchscreen larger and putting frequently used climate functions on permanent display at the bottom of the screen, we would have preferred it if the designers had utilised the physical controls of the Passat’s sibling, the Skoda Superb, because they’re much easier to use on the move.

We’re pleased that touch-sensitive controls have been banished from the steering wheel in favour of physical controls, and the Passat retains the easy-to-use electric window switches of old rather than the confusing touch-sensitive ones used by VW’s ID electric car range, which will feature on the Volkswagen ID.7 Tourer.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Inside, the digital interfaces are VW’s latest units, with a 12.9-inch screen taking care of all the major functions. A larger 15-inch version of the screen is available for £850, and comes with a handy head-up display, which projects important information such as speed on to the windscreen within the driver’s line of sight.

All models come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and a wireless charging pad to keep your device topped up. The standard audio system is an eight-speaker setup with DAB radio, but for £1,420, you can upgrade to a 700-watt, 10-speaker Harman Kardon system.

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