Volkswagen Passat
Auto Express|September 25, 2019
FIRST UK DRIVE Fleet favourite gets a facelift. We try the mid-range2.0-litre diesel option
James Brodie

A SMALL nip and tuck to the evergreen Passat isn’t Volkswagen’s biggest news of 2019, but it’s certainly significant to British business buyers. This is a popular company car and motorway mile-muncher, and almost four out of every five Passats sold in the UK go to fleets, not private customers.

While there’s an updated plug-in hybrid model with low company car tax, the Passat also retains a wide diesel line-up, ensuring a lot of choice for high-mileage drivers. There’s an all-new 2.0 litre with 148bhp and cylinder-deactivation technology, plus a hot 237bhp bi-turbo model. Somewhere in the middle sits this: the 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI.

Driven here in less popular saloon format, the Passat remains fairly restrained in a class becoming ever more obsessed with sporty looks – although a racier-looking R-Line version is available. Tweaked bumpers front and rear, a retouched grille, fresh paint and alloy wheel choices, revised tail-lights and new Passat lettering are all you’ll find on the outside, but this is clearly a refreshed car.

There’s a revamped steering wheel and trim inside. The analogue clock mounted on the dashboard has been removed, the infotainment has received an update with a sharp and slick eight-inch screen standard across all models, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel is now available, albeit as part of a pricey option pack.

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