Volkswagen Passat (2015 – 2022) Review

Volkswagen Passat (2015 – 2022) 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.

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 second opinion? Read heycar's Volkswagen Passat review.


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

Why has the fuel consumption in my car increased?

"After six weeks of my VW Passat standing idle I took it for its MoT, which since then has shown a marked reduction in fuel consumption. My wife's monthly trip from Glos to Suffolk registered closer to 40mpg rather than the usual 50. Yesterday, we had an intermittent screeching noise from the front of the car, possibly not brakes, which cleared after about 15 minutes. The car feels as normal, but our local garage is inundated and I'm concerned about my wife driving to Suffolk again next week. I would appreciate your thoughts."
Based on the increase in fuel consumption and the screeching noise that you experienced when the car was cold, it may be that while the car was stood idle an engine component or components have become partially seized, such as an auxiliary belt or tensioner. This would account for the noise, and also an increase in friction of the engine components could cause increased fuel consumption. If the car is now driving normally then this is not necessarily a cause for urgent concern, but you may wish to get the car inspected for this issue. This is something that would not necessarily be picked up during an MoT unless there was a component that was not functioning. If you are concerned that you cannot get the car booked into your local garage in time, you may wish to find an alternative Volkswagen specialist - you can search for one using the Honest John Good Garage Guide here:
Answered by David Ross

My spare key won't hold its code, what are my options?

"The spare key for my VW Passat refuses to hold its code. We first noticed this shortly after taking receipt of the car 2 years ago. Our local garage has recently re-coded the key, but after 2 weeks it has lost the ability to open the car again - the key fob battery was changed at the same time. Is this a common issue and can you advise us on how we can fix this (preferably cheaply)?"
This is not a common problem as far as we are aware, but one of the keys operates normally and it is only the spare key that fails to hold the code then that would suggest the issue lies with the spare key and not the receiver. Replacing the battery is the obvious first step but given that has not solved the issue it may be that there is a drain that is causing the key to continually operate. We would suggest trying an automotive locksmith who will be able to examine the spare key and hopefully diagnose a fault, failing that we would suggest replacing the spare key - again an automotive locksmith will be able to do this more cheaply than a main dealer.
Answered by David Ross

Why has the Volkswagen 1.5 TSI timing belt interval changed?

"I own a VW Passat GT 2018 plate with the 1.5 TSI engine, it has 28,500 miles on the clock and is in lovely condition. All services are done at that dealer and is due its 5th year service and MOT soon. I thought the cambelt change was also due on the five year anniversary. Today I contacted my local VW service centre and apparently VW have changed there recommendation to only when the vehicle reaches 140,000 miles. I have a email from VW to confirm this, are you aware of this recommendation and what are your thoughts? And if at some stage it breaks before the recommended mileage are VW responsible? I was thinking of replacing my car as to replace the cambelt will cost £1,175, that does not include the water pump as that is sealed for life and is not connected to the cambelt as its on the opposite side to the engine. but will probably keep it for now knowing I don't have to the expense of changing the cambelt."
It is not uncommon for manufacturers to change their recommended service intervals, but for components that have a service life such as the cambelt, even if it fails within the recommended interval and you have maintained its service record there is no guarantee that the manufacturer will pay for all the repairs should it fail. Although it is a significant expense, we would give consideration to having the timing belt replaced ahead of the recommended interval if you intend to keep the car. It is preventative maintenance and could avoid an engine failure which could cost several thousand pounds to rectify.
Answered by David Ross

I want to order a new Passat, but should I wait for the next generation?

"We have been looking at buying a new VW Passat Estate but there is currently a 40 week wait for a new factory order and we aren't in a hurry. However by all accounts there is an all new Passat coming end of 2023. So we don't like the idea of committing to waiting for the old model, as by the time it's ready to be delivered the new model will be available. We are aware there could be a similar wait, and it will probably be more expensive, and less of a deal to be had, but unsure what to do, so any advice greatly appreciated."
Volkswagen is yet to announce a new Passat, but it is anticipated that a new generation will arrive in September of this year. As you say, a new model will likely be more expensive than the current generation you have on order and will also have quite a long lead time, so there will be a delay. Ultimately it is your decision about how long you want to wait and the cost involved. You may be able to get a better deal on the current generation car once the next generation Passat has been announced and dealers are trying to sell off existing stock.
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Passat (2015 – 2022) cost?