Volkswagen Passat GTE (2015) Review
Volkswagen Passat GTE (2015) At A Glance
If there’s anything less offensive in the motoring world than a Volkswagen Passat then we’ve yet to discover it, and with the GTE the Passat gets even more sensible thanks to a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an electric motor and battery, which has enough power when fully charged to allow the Passat GTE up to 34 miles of quiet, electric-only motoring. It, like its conventionally powered relations, is offered in both saloon and estate guises, with the estate not just being bigger, but the bigger seller of the pair.
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A plug-in Passat is about as sensible a car as you could ask for, the perennial family and business buyer’s favourite made even more appealing with the addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The Passat GTE is the result, a car that’s able to drive as far as 34 miles on its battery power alone, which should cover the average commute for most owners. If you’re travelling further, then the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine gives the GTE greater, long-legged range, with the electric motor still assisting at the same time.
That, like so many plug-ins, gives the Passat a genuinely useful duality, allowing short, local journeys to be undertaken on battery power, meaning no tailpipe emissions on school runs, shopping trips or the daily commute.
Should you wish to hold the battery’s charge for destination electric-only driving then there’s the possibility to do so with a battery hold mode, while the GTE will do that usual hybrid double act of blending both powertrains to maximise the economy on longer trips.
If economy isn’t necessarily your thing, unlikely given it’s a considerable part of the GTE’s make-up, then the GTE mode primes the drivetrain to give the best of the combined power to maximise sporting performance.
The GTE’s plug-in drivetrain might be the headline act, but elsewhere the Passat GTE shares all the same characteristics of its conventionally-powered relations, and in some areas builds on them considerably.
It’s beautifully built inside and out, the styling classy and neat throughout, and the build quality and materials in the cabin is right up there with the best of the premium contenders. Where it gains over its conventionally-powered rivals is its smoothness and refinement, it particularly quiet and comfortable when driving in electric-only mode, with good performance, too.
That electric plug-in hybrid element to the drivetrain impacts on the running costs, too, with it particularly tax efficient if you’re running it as a company car.
Set it to charge at night on a cheaper electricity rate, and, if your daily use is within its EV-only range, you’ll rarely need to stop at a petrol station to fill it up.
The GTE benefits from a greater specification than its middling Passat relations, with the GTE Advance being a veritable technological fest, so if you like your technology it’s the one to go for. Adding to the breadth of ability of the already impressive Passat, the GTE is a desirable plug-in, which benefits not just the environment, but your pocket, if you can ignore the not inconsiderable cost of buying it.