When it comes to rock-solid reputations, few are as unshakeable as Volkswagen’s – emissions scandal notwithstanding. Whatever the segment, the company has a contender which is bought for its dependability, comfort and refinement. That’s exactly how it is with the German outfit’s fleet favourite, the Passat, offered in saloon and estate forms in a multitude of guises. But reliability isn’t always as good as that Volkswagen badge might have you believe and you won’t stand out from the crowd if you drive a Passat. You also won’t be excited by the Passat, but this is still a polished performer.
5/05: The seventh-generation Passat saloon arrives (codenamed B6) with 1.6 FSi or 2.0-litre petrol engines along with 1.9 or 2.0 TDi units.
11/05: The estate goes on sale and a 3.2 V6 petrol engine joins the range.
6/06: A 2.0 TDi 170 engine appears.
2/07: The 300bhp 3.6-litre Passat R36 debuts.
4/08: The 1.6 FSi engine is replaced by the 1.4 TSi
10/08: The Passat Bluemotion 1.9 TDi arrives.
11/08: The Bluemotion 2.0 TDi appears.
5/09: The high-value R Line is introduced.
- Oil pumps can fail prematurely, especially on diesel engines – but they go without warning so you can’t check them.
- You can have four-wheel drive if you want; the 2.0 TDi 140 and 3.2 V6 petrol were offered with it. They’re rare though.
- There are ECUs in the footwells; water leaks can lead to these failing, followed by lots of electrical problems
- Without sensors, parking can be a nightmare, especially where saloons are concerned.
- All cars come with an electronic parking brake, which doesn’t always release properly as the pads can stick to the disc.
- Batteries can go flat because of a current drain somewhere, often the radio – which in itself can be highly unpredictable.
- Premature and uneven tyre wear is common on Passats with Dunlop rubber.
- Build quality
- Spacious cabin
- Equipment levels
We don’t like
- High purchase costs
- Bland design