In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Passat review - Reliability and Safety

Reliability signs are good: safety standards and features are front-running

The pre-facelift Volkswagen Passat achieved a 54th-place finish out of 100 cars in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. It was rated highly for practicality, boot space, rear-seat leg-room and visibility from the driver’s seat, but engines, gearboxes and servicing costs weren’t rated highly. Owners did praise fuel economy, stereo quality and smartphone connectivity, however. A relatively high 24 per cent of owners reported having experienced a fault with their cars.

The Passat here is built on the well proven MQB architecture, and Volkswagen has really focused on rectifying the grumbles of the previous model. We have already noted great steps on in terms of build quality, fit and finish.

The same engineering is proving dependable in other Volkswagen Group cars, and it's a similar result with the eighth-generation Passat.

It’s certainly a very safe car. When tested by Euro NCAP in 2014, this latest Passat scored a full five stars, with 89% for Adult Occupant safety, 87% for Child Occupant safety and 76% for Safety Assist technologies. The worst ranking was 66% for Pedestrian safety, although even here the Passat can impress.

That’s because all models are fitted as standard with VW’s Adaptive Cruise Control, which include a city emergency braking system that will react to any obstructions that the driver may miss. It also has front assist, a radar-controlled distance monitoring system, and both cruise control and speed limiter combined. VW's standardisation of this technology across the core Passat range is to be applauded.

Other safety features include a PreCrash system that helps minimise the effects of accidents, automatic post-collision braking and a driver alert system that makes sure you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel.


The Passat comes with VW's regular three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is a full manufacturers’ warranty that is actually not limited by mileage in the first two years – reassuring if you cover very high miles. There’s also a three-year paintwork warranty and a 12-year body protection warranty.

VW sells an extended warranty that covers the Passat for up to five years or 90,000 miles – this is the same 100% VW warranty that’s offered on new models. The Passat GTE also has an eight-year battery warranty, which covers the battery for eight years and almost 100,000 miles.


VW offers a choice of either fixed 10,000-mile/one-year service intervals or variable servicing that can stretch flexibly between 10,000-20,000 miles, or two years (an indicator on the dash tells users when a service is due). The firm advises high-intensity users – those based in the city or frequently running short journeys, to take the fixed intervals, and higher-mileage motorway drivers to choose variable servicing.

A three-year fixed-price servicing plan is offered on the Passat when purchasing from new, which helps to cut maintenance costs. 

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