Volkswagen Passat review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Big and roomy, the Passat is better-packaged than ever and there’s never been one that’s as comfortable as this
The VW Passat is an extremely comfortable car behind the wheel, again befitting its executive car aspirations. The firm, supportive seats are a treat to sit on and are great over long distances, while the driving position allows a natural relationship between seat, pedals and steering wheel to be achieved by most drivers. The range of control adjustment is enormous, and all models get Ergo Comfort seats with handy electric backrest adjustment as standard. Exceptional refinement further adds to the Passat’s comfort. It’s a quiet and peaceful car, with a free-running feel that’s very premium.
The Passat B8 has a much longer wheelbase than its predecessor, but overall length is actually slightly down. The 79mm stretch boosts interior space, but overall length is kept in check at 4,767mm, with width of 1,832mm and height of 1,456mm. The Passat Estate is the same length as the saloon.
The tallest Passat is the Alltrack: this SUV-like model with its raised ride height model is the only one to top 1.5 metres tall, and is the longest Passat at 4,777mm – still under the 4.8-metre length some less space-efficient rivals clock in at. The raised ride height helps access, as you don't have to move so low to get in.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The significant stretch to the Passat’s wheelbase has boosted interior space a lot. The old model wasn’t bad in this respect, but the latest one is another step on.
Car group tests
- Skoda Superb iV vs Volkswagen Passat GTE
- Skoda Superb vs VW Passat vs Vauxhall Insignia
- Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer GSi vs VW Passat Estate
Used car tests
Legroom isn't quite as good as a Skoda Superb, but space and comfort for two adults in the rear is still impressive. The seats are supportive and it’s also easy to step in and out of the car. Only three-up does it become a bit less comfortable because of the wide central tunnel in the floor that restricts the room for feet. Headroom is good in both body styles, although be mindful of choosing the optional panoramic roof if you frequently carry adults in the rear, as this cuts headroom slightly.
As a practical family-focused VW, the Passat has always offered a big boot, but the latest model is bigger than ever. The saloon has a seats-up capacity of 585 litres, one of the best figures in this sector. 60:40 split seat backs are standard on all models, and when you fold them down, it stretches to a total of 1,152 litres.
In-cabin stowage is impressive. There’s a storage compartment in the driver’s door pocket that will take a 1-litre bottle; the one in the passenger door is even bigger, taking 1.5 litres. There’s further storage in the rear doors, plus a sunglasses holder in the roof.
The VW Passat is a competent tow car, with a range of braked towing capacities starting at 1,500kg and going all the way up to 2,200kg. Maximum towing power comes from either the 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI with DSG gearbox, or the 2.0-litre BiTDI 237bhp unit with 4MOTION and DSG gearbox. To make your life easier, you can even get a trailer assist system that will help to reverse-park your Passat even if you’re towing a caravan.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen Passat reviewThe VW Passat has classy looks and a premium cabin that set it apart from the family car norm
- 2Engines, performance and driveDiesel engines are as accomplished as ever, the petrols are interesting and the GTE is an intriguing performance eco model
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Passat’s diesel-focused engine line guarantees great economy and low CO2 - and plug-in GTE offers a good alternative
- 4Interior, design and technologyUpmarket, high-class interior is extremely refined and packed with executive-level equipment and technology
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingBig and roomy, the Passat is better-packaged than ever and there’s never been one that’s as comfortable as this
- 6Reliability and SafetyReliability signs are good: safety standards and features are front-running