In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat review - Interior, design and technology

Upmarket, high-class interior is extremely refined and packed with executive-level equipment and technology

Volkswagen’s restrained styling works well on the Passat. The design features plenty of straight lines, but while other VW models are pretty bland, the Passat does at least look purposeful. Best of all, the latest Passat has a very appealing interior. The design isn’t flashy or standout, but it’s very satisfying and ergonomic, with a quality of materials to lift it above both the old Passat and many other cars in this sector. 

The clear layout is designed around the central touchscreen, which is very well positioned, and intricate finishing touches such as beautiful chrome air vents and detailing on the perfectly-shaped steering wheel complete the showroom appeal masterclass.

The GTE boasts a subtle makeover inspired by the Golf GTE to mark it out from the standard car. This includes blue GTE badging on the grille, front wings and bootlid, VW’s signature blue trim for the top of the grille and the brake calipers, while the C-shaped LED daytime running lights in the lower grille appear on all of VW’s electric and hybrid models.

Further back, the GTE features the same 18-inch alloy wheels as the Passat GT, while the LED tail-lights are another hi-tech touch to the otherwise simplified exterior. Inside the GTE has blue LED strip lighting for the door trim, a blue GTE badge ahead of the gearlever and blue stitching for the leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearlever.

Befitting its executive car aspirations, the Passat can be had with lots of big car features, such as three-zone climate control (two-zone up front, with a third set of temperature controls for the back seats), an electric rear sunblind and a heated front windscreen. Top-spec models get LED headlights, and clever dynamic full-beam tech which allows you to keep the full beam on all the time without dazzling people is offered as an option.

A whole host of optional driver assistance technology is available for the Passat, including park assist, head-up display, lane assist, high beam assist and side scan – there is also a 360-degree Area View parking camera offered.  

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

As standard, the Passat comes with an 80 watt, eight-speaker stereo with DAB, Bluetooth, SD reader, USB socket and pairing for two mobile devices, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 8.0-inch touchscreen is also standard on SE Nav versions and above,

On SEL models and above, it is further enhanced by Discover Navigation sat nav, which includes the VW Car-Net system that pairs with a mobile device to offer real-time traffic, weather, fuel price and parking space availability updates.

Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system is extremely comprehensive and feature-packed, but the firm’s also kept it reasonably simple and straightforward to use. The touchscreen is particularly smart and will keep you entertained for hours (particularly if you pair it with your smartphone).

R-Line and GTE Advance versions get VW’s virtual cockpit as standard, which features TFT dials, a range of trip displays and the ability to display the navigation screen between the dials if required.

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