Volkswagen Passat GTE Review 2024

Volkswagen Passat GTE At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Passat GTE is at its best if used for short commutes with occasional long distance journeys. For those who tend to spend a lot of time on the motorway a diesel is still a better bet – and they’re cheaper to buy too.

+Understated and neat styling, huge standard equipment, fine all-round performance and easy to get excellent economy, 34 mile EV range.

-Not cheap to buy, all that additional weight does rob the Passat of some of its agility, some rivals have better EV only range.

New prices start from £38,130
Insurance Group 26
On average it achieves 251% of the official MPG figure

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.

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. 

Ask Honest John

What was the original list price of the 2018 Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate?

"Can you tell me what the original list price of the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate was in 2018?"
Prices started at £39,195:
Answered by Dan Powell

I need a large family car for low mileage use. Would a plug-in hybrid suit?

"I'm looking to buy a secondhand family car. I will do short commutes to work (7miles), schools trips and occasional long journeys. It will need to be a load-lugger as we have a large dog, two kids and camping gear. The other car is a new Nissan Leaf, which does all the weekend running around. This car, while being the family car, will only do 5-7k mileage a year. It feels like a diesel is out, narrowing down the larger car range for me. I don't want new and can live with high mileage (ish) as I won't put many miles on it. I have been looking at Estates - Passat GTE and Skoda Superb (petrol). I don't want to spend more than £16-18k really. Recommendations welcome!"
It sounds like you're thinking along the right lines. A plug-in hybrid could be perfect – capable of covering the commute under electric power with the petrol engine on hand for those longer journeys. A Volkswagen Passat GTE is a very practical option that makes an excellent used purchase. There aren't that many about but, if you can find one, it could be the ideal choice. If you fancy something a bit more premium, take a look at the Mercedes C350e Estate, while a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV could be a good alternative (and easier to find) if an SUV appeals.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Are there any electric vehicles that can safely tow a 1500kg caravan?

"Are there any electric vehicles which can safely tow a caravan of 1500kg? I currently have a Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 diesel which is a superb tow car - can anything electric replace it at a similar cost?"
Not at a similar cost. The only EVs that can currently tow are expensive SUVs like the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. You'd be better considering a plug-in hybrid like a Volkswagen Passat GTE (which can officially tow up to 1600kg).
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you recommend a plug-in hybrid family car?

"We're a family of 5 looking to replace our recently dead 'station car' with a hybrid - which my wife will use to take the children to school (30 mile round trip) and I will use our other car, a Nissan Qashqai+2, as the station car (5 mile trip). We also have a dog so this would need to be able to fit into the boot. Please can you recommend a plug-in hybrid option? We're very keen to only use the battery as much as possible and would recharge during the day. We've been looking at the Mitsubishi Outlander but are wondering if there are better options. Many thanks in advance."
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV used to be our plug-in hybrid of choice, but it's now a bit dated and there are better alternatives available. Have you considered a Skoda Superb iV? It's available as an estate, with a huge boot and an official electric range of up to 35 miles (around 20 might be more realistic, in our experience). Also consider the very similar Volkswagen Passat GTE.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Passat GTE cost?