Review: Volkswagen Passat (2015)


Spacious and quiet cabin. Frugal diesel engines. Passat GTE plug-in hybrid offers impressive petrol/electric range.

Expensive. Doesn't have the badge appeal of its premium rivals.

Volkswagen Passat (2015): At A Glance

The Volkswagen Passat is a model synonymous with quality - and that's especially true for the eighth-generation model, with its sharp exterior, impressive all-round refinement and a wide range of engine offerings.

Naturally, for a car of this type, the majority of buyers opt for one of the diesel engines. These include a 2.0-litre with a range of power outputs, and a company-car-friendly 1.6 TDI. There's also a 1.5-litre petrol and an impressive plug-in hybrid, badged the GTE, which combines the older 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor.

Although the Passat is closely related to the Skoda Superb, it takes a more upmarket approach to its design - with LED rear lights and a larger grille. There are also generous helpings of chrome, while the bonnet has been lowered to give the car a more aggressive front end. The Passat lettering on the rear tailgate - new from 2019 - adds to the premium appearance.

A longer wheelbase than the older Passat means there's plenty of head and legroom throughout. The interior reflects Volkswagen's premium ambitions, with a good fit and finish across the cabin. 

On the road the Passat is quiet and refined, with suppressed road and engine noise, although some of the 1.6 TDI can be a tad vocal, especially when pressed hard through the lower gears. The 2.0-litre diesel suits the car well, however, particularly when combined with the DSG automatic gearbox.

Optional features include a head-up display and the latest generation Park Assist which adds the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces. For caravans owners one useful extra is the Trailer Assist system, which gives assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.

All in all, the latest Passat is impressive, with good levels of refinement and notable improvements in fuel economy and performance. However, in raising its game, Volkswagen has also raised the Passat's prices and this will alienate some buyers, especially when you consider that cheaper rivals like Skoda, use the same platform, engines and running gear.

Volkswagen Passat GTE 2015 Road Test

Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate 2019 Road Test

What does a Volkswagen Passat (2015) cost?

List Price from £25,620
Buy new from £19,024
Contract hire from £207.12 per month

Volkswagen Passat (2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4767–4873 mm
Width 1832–2083 mm
Height 1456–1483 mm
Wheelbase 2786–2791 mm

Full specifications

The eighth-generation Passat is notably more refined than previous models, with low road and engine noise. For the most part, the diesels are hushed, although we noticed that the lower outputs (150PS 2.0 TDI for example) can rattle a bit when pressed hard through the gears.

However, for the most part, the cabin is quiet and well fitted out, with good attention to detail and high quality plastics. The seats are comfortable and supportive plus you can pack five adults into the Passat. However, the centre rear seat can be a little cramped and headroom for tall passengers is also a little tight in the back. But, compared to the old Passat, there's notably more legroom and carrying four adults on long trips shouldn't be too much of an issue.

The dashboard is large and a 6.5-inch touchscreen is fitted as standard to the centre of the dashboard, which incorporates the DAB radio and Bluetooth systems. The touchscreen system is almost identical to the one found in the Skoda Octavia which does somewhat detract from the 'premium' feel of the cabin. However, that said, it's user-friendly with a sharp display, large buttons and simple controls.

Most of the in-car controls can be operated via the button heavy multi-function steering wheel and the instrument cluster can be replaced with a 12.3-inch TFT screen, as seen in the latest Audi TT. Ambient lighting is also available as an option.

Full smartphone integration is available via MirrorLink, which lets the car stream weather updates, connect your phone to the navigation or get the latest traffic reports. However, the system lacks the polish of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The boot is bigger than before though, with 586 litres and SE models and above get split-folding rear seats, via a small pair of levers.

Standard equipment:

S models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB, lumbar support, Bluetooth, driver alert system, post-collision braking system, knee airbags, mis-fuelling prevention and rear LED lights.

SE models come with adaptive cruise control, driver profile selection, 17-inch alloy wheels, dusk and rain sensors, front and rear parking sensors.

SE Business adds Discover navigation with car net, front fog lights, tinted rear glass and electronically folding wing mirrors. The front seats squabs are mechanically adjustable for tilt and there is electric adjustment for the seat back and lumbar support. The 2.0TDI 150 Business Edition lists at £25,135 on the road, including delivery, first year VED and registration tax.

GT comes with three zone climate control, heated leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting plus colour multifunction display.

R-Line R-Line body kit, Trapezoid exhausts, R-line seats with logos and contrast stitching, stainless steel pedals.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Passat (2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volkswagen Passat (2015) like to drive?

The latest Passat is 84kg lighter than the previous model and improvements have been made to strengthen body rigidity and handling. As a result, the maximum trailer load has increased by up to 400kg to 2200kg.

There are four TDI diesels in the range, with the entry level unit being the 1.6 TDI with 120PS and 250Nm of torque. Emissions for the 1.6-litre TDI are between 107 and 109g/km and it's the most frugal model in the Passat range, making it an ideal choice as a company car or for those looking to cut running costs.

The 2.0 TDI with 150PS is the big seller, and with 340Nm of torque from just 1750rpm it pulls well from low revs. In fact the 2.0-litre is strong through all of the gears and returns impressive refinement.

A 190PS 2.0-litre diesel is also available, with 400Nm of torque, while the range topping bi-turbo 2.0 TDI gets four-wheel drive along with 250PS and 500Nm of torque. The bi-turbo TDI is mated to a 6-speed DSG as standard and can cover 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds.

On paper, the bi-turbo is impressive, but its on-the-road performance never feels as quick as the official figures suggest. Admittedly, it has plenty of mid-gear pull and is well suited as a heavy towcar, but under normal road conditions, it feels a little sluggish off the line. Blame the DSG.

The four-wheel drive system is solid though and comes into its own in the corners, along with a notable boost in torque. VECDC economy for the bi-turbo is 52mpg and emissions are 140g/km of CO2. (We got 42mpg from the 4Motion estate.)

The plug-in hybrid GTE combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and, from 2019, a bigger battery means it can cover 31 miles under electric power alone. It's a very relaxed and easy car to drive, with an impressive amount of power available when required, covering 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 TSI 125 52–53 mpg 9.7 s 123–126 g/km
1.4 TSI 125 DSG 55–57 mpg 9.7 s 114–117 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 57–58 mpg 8.4 s 115–116 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 DSG 55 mpg 8.4 s 117–118 g/km
1.4 TSI GTE 52 mpg 7.4 s 39 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 53 mpg 8.4 s 121 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 52 mpg 8.4 s 123 g/km
1.6 TDI 67–76 mpg 10.8 s 95–109 g/km
1.6 TDI DSG 67–71 mpg 10.8–11.3 s 103–109 g/km
1.8 TSI 180 48 mpg 7.7 s 136 g/km
1.8 TSI 180 DSG 49 mpg 7.9 s 130 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 66–71 mpg 8.7 s 106–112 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 DSG 61–67 mpg 8.7 s 113–119 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 67 mpg 7.9 s 107 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 61–63 mpg 7.5–7.9 s 117–122 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4Motion - 7.7 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDI 240 DSG 4Motion 50 mpg 6.1–6.4 s 139–151 g/km
2.0 TSI 190 DSG - 7.5 s 143 g/km
2.0 TSI 220 DSG 45 mpg 6.7 s 146 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Passat (2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–66 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Passat (2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Relaible and practical family car for under £30k?

I need a large family car for under £30,000. I need good legroom and a boot capable of taking golf clubs and family luggage. I do about 14,000 miles a year. Ideally, the car should have comfortable heated seats and cruise control. Performance is not a necessity, but reliability is a must. What do you recommend?
I'd recommend a Volvo V60 or, if you need more space, a V90. They're both very comfortable cars and your budget will get a well-specced model from 2019. If you'd prefer something brand new, consider another Mazda 6 or a Volkswagen Passat.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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