Review: Volkswagen Passat Estate (2015)


Relaxing and quiet to drive. Packed with the latest technology. Manifold in head diesel engines. Trailer assist works brilliantly. Spacious boot.

Expensive to buy new. No petrol engines. Vastly better with a manual gearbox than with a DSG.

Volkswagen Passat Estate (2015): At A Glance

Like its saloon counterpart, the Volkswagen Passat Estate is a significant step forward from the previous model. It’s sharper-looking, more spacious, more comfortable and packed with the latest technology.

The all important load space has been increased - up to 650 litres from 603 litres, expandable to a huge 1780 litres by folding the seats. But not only is the load area large but it is also user-friendly.

The load lip is low and the opening is wide, so getting items in and out is easy. There’s a variable height boot floor which is simple to adjust and the split rear seats tumble forward with one-touch levers, leaving a flat load area ideal for bigger items.

Like the saloon, the Passat Estate has a diesel-only engine range with four choices, ranging from a 1.6-litre with 120PS to 2.0-litre with 150PS, 190PS or 240PS in BiTDI form. The latter has a very impressive peak torque figure of 500Nm and is offered exclusively in conjunction with a DSG automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The Passat Estate is a good choice of tow car, rated for braked trailers up to 2200kg for the top 240PS model, or 2000kg for the 150PS diesel. One piece of technology that will really help is trailer assist, which will reverse a trailer in a straight line or at a set angle automatically. It also includes a camera to aid with hooking up.

Trailer assist is one of several high tech features, including advanced cruise control with lane assist. When specified in conjunction with a DSG gearbox this can bring a car to a halt in low-speed traffic, then follow the car in front at slow speeds automatically. The system also includes collision mitigating braking, plus there is a head-up display on offer.

The Passat Estate is a very impressive car, offering plenty of space, good performance and high levels of comfort. It’s especially appealing as a tow car, particularly with the optional trailer assistance system installed. The Passat is fairly expensive, however, while the lack of a petrol option might be a problem for some buyers, particularly low-mileage drivers. 

Long Term Test Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI R-Line Estate

What does a Volkswagen Passat Estate (2015) cost?

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

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

Length 4767–4889 mm
Width 1832–2083 mm
Height 1477–1516 mm
Wheelbase 2786–2791 mm

Full specifications

The Passat Estate is impressively finished, with a quality feel permeating everything from the seat upholstery and soft touch plastics through to controls and switches. The classy, modern layout incorporates a stylish motif stretching from one side of the dashboard to the other through the vents, with a small analogue clock in the centrepiece.

There’s plenty of head and legroom both up front and in the back, where there are two Isofix seat mounting points. The boot is cavernous at 650 litres, expandable to 1780 by folding the rear seats down. There’s also an adjustable boot floor which is easy to use, along with a roll out luggage cover and a 12V socket. Loading and unloading should prove easy thanks to a wide opening and a low floor - also handy for those with dogs. 

All variants of the Passat get a touchscreen system as standard, which includes Bluetooth and DAB radio. It’s easy to use, but does without navigation unless you specify it or opt for the SE Business model. There are steering wheel controls for most infotainment functions, plus a little display which shows navigation directions or trip information inbetween the clear rev counter and speedo.

There’s also a larger, better touchscreen system on offer at additional cost. It has an advanced navigation system with a neat function called ‘rubberband’, which lets you drag a route onto the map manually with your finger, a bit like you can with Google Maps on a desktop computer. It also has 64GB of onboard storage and preloaded European mapping. It is certainly more impressive than the standard system, but even then it doesn’t feel quite as polished or intuitive as BMW's iDrive.  

Standard Equipment: 

S models get 16-inch alloy wheels, a space-saver spare wheel, roof rails, brushed chrome interior details, extendable luggage cover, leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, cloth upholstery, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB, eight speaksers, automatic post-collision braking, keyless start, two rear Isofix mounting points, air conditioning, electric front and rear windows, electronic parking brake with hill hold, plus stop/start

SE trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, 'Diamond Silver' interior trim details, carpet mats, front cup holders with covers, Ergonomic driver's seat with seat cushion tilt adjustment, thigh support and electric backrest adjustment, ski hatch, PreCrash occupant protection, automatic lights, automatic wipers, electrically heated door mirrors with auto dimming function, auto dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, city emergency braking and driver profile selection.

SE Business adds Discover Media navigation, fog lights with cornering function and tinted rear glass. 

GT trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, full-size alloy spare wheel, LED rear lights, heated front seats, piano black inserts, ambient lighting, three-zone climate control, heated washer jets, colour multifunction instrument binnacle display. 240PS 4MOTION models gain LED headlights, black rear diffused, XDS differential lock and dynamic chassis control. 

R Line trim loses heated seats and full-sized spare, but gains R Line styling, R Line front seats, stainless steel pedals and part-leather upholstery. 

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Passat Estate (2015)

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

Volkswagen is only offering the Passat Estate with diesel engines, except the GTE hybrid model. There are four to choose from, starting with a 1.6-litre with 120PS. This doesn’t feel like the poor relation – it’s quiet and has a reasonable 250Nm of torque. For motorway cruising it’s more than up to the job and it should prove cheap to run. Official economy is 67.3mpg and emissions are 107g/km.

The 2.0 TDI 150PS engine is likely to be the most popular. It’s more flexible than the 120PS engine with significantly more torque (340Nm). This comes in especially handy when overtaking on the motorway, since you don’t need to change down a gear. Despite being a more useable engine, it’s equally as efficient, with the same 67.3mpg fuel economy figure and identical emissions of 107g/km, unless you opt for the GT or R-Line models.

There’s also a 190PS 2.0-litre TDI with 400Nm of torque, which is a smart choice for those who tow heavy trailers. Topping the engine range is a 240PS BiTDI which is offered exclusively with a 7-speed wet clutch DSG automatic transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive. It offers excellent in-gear acceleration, making it a great long-distance motorway car.

Whichever engine is under the bonnet, the Passat is impressively refined, with very little noise intruding into the cabin. The ride quality is good, offering comfort over lumps and bumps but without excessive body roll through bends. Long distance driving is made easier by comfortable seats with plenty of adjustment, as well as systems like adaptive cruise control.

Through corners the Passat isn’t particularly fun to drive but it is predictable and safe, with plenty of traction. The steering is nicely weighted, but if you want to configure it to your own tastes then various modes are available on SE models and up. The different modes also alter the throttle response, with settings for economy, comfort, sport plus a customisable setting. Handling and grip is improved on 235/45 R18 tyres but they feel every bump and ridge in the road, even on 'Comfort' setting.

Some of the driving technology on offer is very impressive, particularly the trailer assist system. This makes reversing a trailer incredibly easy – you choose the angle you want the trailer to move in, relative to the car, then keep the speed low and the car does the rest, steering the front wheels to keep the trailer straight or to assist with parking. The system also includes a camera to help with hooking up. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 TSI 125 51–53 mpg 9.9 s 124–127 g/km
1.4 TSI 125 DSG 54–55 mpg 9.9 s 117–120 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 54–55 mpg 8.6 s 119–120 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 DSG 46–55 mpg 8.6 s 119–120 g/km
1.4 TSI GTE - 7.6 s 39 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 51 mpg 8.6 s 124 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 51 mpg 8.6 s 126 g/km
1.6 TDI 67–74 mpg 11.0 s 95–110 g/km
1.6 TDI DSG 69–71 mpg 11.0–11.5 s 104–116 g/km
1.8 TSI 180 46 mpg 7.9 s 137 g/km
1.8 TSI 180 DSG 49 mpg 8.1 s 131 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 63–69 mpg 8.9 s 107–119 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 DSG 59–63 mpg 8.9 s 114–122 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 66 mpg 8.1 s 109 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 61 mpg 7.9–8.1 s 120–122 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4Motion - 6.7–7.9 s 132–156 g/km
2.0 TDI 240 DSG 4Motion 49 mpg 6.3–6.7 s 140–156 g/km
2.0 TSI 190 DSG - 7.7–8.9 s 146 g/km
2.0 TSI 220 DSG 44 mpg 6.9 s 149 g/km
2.0 TSI 272 DSG 4Motion - 5.8 s 163 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Passat Estate (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

29–82 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 Estate (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

I bumped into a car and the driver is now inflating the claim - what do you advise?

I bumped the towbar of the car in front of me (both vehicles are Volkswagen Passat Estates). The damage to my car was a cracked number plate and a small dent in the plastic plate behind the number plate with no other damage at all. It cost me £10 for a new number plate. He is claiming that I bent his towbar and that his car is so damaged that it might be a write off. I've told my insurance company this, but am concerned that this very minor accident might cause trouble for me later with the so-called excessive damage to his car. Can you advise what I can do about this?
It makes no difference to you personally whether he just has a scratch to his bumper or you write his car off. The effect on your policy and premium is the same. Leave it to your insurer, it is their responsibility to ensure any claim made against you is not vexatious. If his car has a tow bar fitted, it will need a tow-ball fitted at the least (they can fracture) and it is possible the vehicle has further damage than what may appear evident.
Answered by Tim Kelly
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