Volkswagen Passat (2015) Review

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Volkswagen Passat (2015) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
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,

+Neat styling inside and out, fine quality, strong performance even from the entry-level engines, spacious interior and capacious boot for a saloon.

-The boot is big but the access is a bit tight being a saloon rather than a hatchback, range-topping models are in the price sphere of the best premium rivals, full range of engines currently not available.

New prices start from £35,070
Insurance Groups are between 12–29
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

The archetypal non-premium saloon, the Volkswagen Passat is a car that transcends its mainstream badge, offering buyers a car that has all the prestige of the recognised upmarket brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, without quite the price tag. It feels every inch the rival to such brands, too, yet, being a Volkswagen means it’s universally accepted. Nobody, absolutely nobody, will ever find a Passat offensive, or cast aspersions about your personality, other, perhaps, that you’re a fine human being. The Passat’s just a good, solid, sensible buy, though less so in saloon here, the far more popular estate model selling four times more in the UK than the saloon. 

Looking for a Volkswagen Passat (2015 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

There isn’t a car manufacturer that doesn’t look at the enviable position the premium brands have at the top of the sales league with real envy.

Volkswagen comes closest to bridging the gap between those upmarket brands and the volume, mainstream ones, and the Passat is arguably the car that exemplifies that. A business, junior executive and family car that’s genuinely able to mentioned in the exalted company of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and hold its own among such models, too. 

The current Passatl can trace its roots to 2015, though keeping it up to date was a huge overall in 2020. Changes to it included a range of revised, more economical engines, improved technology, and, crucially these days, greater connectivity.

With such a wide audience to cater for Volkswagen offers the Passat with a wide range of engines, with petrol engines in capacities of 1.5 to 2.0-litres with outputs spanning 150PS to 272PS.

Diesels have long been a Passat-buyer’s heartland, though, and that’s usually been reflected in the range of turbodiesel engines you can buy it with, the capacities being either 1.6 or 2.0-litres with power ranging from 120PS to double that with the range-topping car. 

There are manual and automatic choices, and there’s even a four-wheel drive in the more powerful models, it standard on the range-topping ones. There’s even a plug-in hybrid for those who want to dodge tax and help the environment, it different enough to warrant its own test, which you’ll find here…

Even if you don’t opt for the plug-in hybrid there’s every chance that your Passat will be bought with company money, Volkswagen admitting as many as 80% of Passat sales go through a business’s profit and loss accounts.

That’s entirely understandable given its status, this classless, classy saloon that you’d be more than happy to give to your staff, and, likewise, the staff will be more than happy to own and drive. The range encompasses a broad salary sweep, too, with junior management certain to be pleased with the SE or SE Nav, SEL and R-Line models adding a bit of extra equipment and class for the higher fliers in the company. 

There’s more equipment in all following the 2020 revisions, it safer too, thanks to the addition of Volkswagen’s latest driver aids, the Travel Assist system on some allowing a degree of autonomy when driving on the motorway. 

The estate might be the bigger seller, and more sensible, but the Passat saloon’s a classy car, inside and out, that’s neatly designed, is economical and comfortable, it about as sensible as a car can be, but desirable at the same time, which is an impressive feat to pull off in this competitive, if shrinking marketplace. 


Ask Honest John

The belt on my newly-bought car broke. Can I refuse to accept the car back if it's replaced?
"I bought a 2015 Volkswagen Passat with 55k miles in November 2020 from a main dealer (Ford). As the car was just 5 years old at the time and the timing belt had not been changed (VW recommend 5 years or 120k mile for change of belt), I made the changing of the belt a condition of the sale. Last weekend, the car broke down, I took it back to the garage and they said that the timing belt was broken. They don't know why and have ordered a new belt. What could cause a timing belt on this model to fail without warning? Will there be other damage to the engine? If so, am I within my rights to refuse to accept the car back and ask for a refund. Kind regards."
I would consider the dealer 100% liable for this. Either they didn't replace the cambelt as promised or they did a poor job of it. The dealer can be held liable for any serious fault that develops within the first six months of ownership. This is because the problem is deemed present or developing at the time of sale. The dealer is entitled to be given the opportunity to fix the problem. But if the belt has broken then it may have caused serious damage to the engine. I would want a guarantee (in writing) from the dealer that this isn't the case. For your legal rights see:
Answered by Dan Powell
Why is it difficult to change gear in my automatic car?
"The gearstick on my 3-year-old Volkswagen Passat (DSG) gets sticky going from park to reverse. I've only noticed it a few times as it doesn't do it very often. At the time, it wasn't parked on a level surface. Any idea why that is or if it's a common thing with automatic gearboxes?"
Reads like the car needs a fluid and filter change. The transmission fluid should be changed every three years or 40,000 miles (whichever comes first). Failure to do so could result in the fluid becoming contaminated over time, which will increase wear and tear on the gearbox.
Answered by Dan Powell
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
I want to buy an EV or PHEV but I worry about changing from manual to auto - what do you think?
"When electric vehicles are discussed, one thing I do not see mentioned is whether older drivers should change from manual to electric. Electric vehicles must be automatic or equivalent to an automatic. My journeys are totally suitable for an electric vehicle or Plug-In Hybrid; 90% short trips. With home charging, the new BMW 330e with its 40-mile range on electric would be ideal (if somewhat extravagant). I would rarely have to visit a garage but I do want a vehicle that would do 250 miles before needing a charge. However, I passed my driving test in 1962 and my other half tells me not to touch automatics. My daughter’s car was hit by a car driven by an elderly driver that accidentally went 30-foot across a car park from a parking space and my neighbour, driving an automatic, wrote off five cars in a car park in a similar fashion. I am quite happy on the outside lane of the motorway in my Porsche Boxster (manual) and I don’t think going to an electric vehicle would be a problem after a couple of hundred miles of practice but I am a bit wary of making the change. What are your views on this?"
I'm a big fan of automatics - they're easier and more relaxing to drive and make a lot of sense unless you particularly enjoy changing gears. A plug-in hybrid sounds like it'd suit your needs very well, assuming you can charge it at home. But there are more affordable PHEVs on the market than the 330e - consider a Volkswagen Passat PHEV or Hyundai Ioniq PHEV.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Volkswagen Passat (2015) cost?