The Passat has long been a stalwart in the fleet sector for Volkswagen, and revisions to the range ensure this is likely to continue.
Last year, 85% of the 12,500 models registered in the UK went to fleets, with the estate version outselling the saloon two to one.
Both body shapes continue for its latest generation and although there are few exterior visual changes to identify the refreshed model, it does feature some significant updates to increase its fleet appeal.
These include two new powertrains: a 150PS TDI Evo and a new GTE plug-in hybrid, offering 30% greater electric-only range than its predecessor.
Emissions, fuel consumption figures and prices for these models will be released in “the coming weeks”, but these could prove to be the two key models for fleets: Volkswagen says the 2.0 TDI Evo will offer “a significant reduction in CO2”.
The manufacturer expects the GTE to account for 25% of UK registrations, and the new benefit-in-kind tax bands will make it a particularly attractive proposition to drivers.
Its 13kWh battery will give it an electric-only range of 34 miles, putting it in the 12% bracket in 2020-21 if the car is registered before April 6, 2020 (10% if registered after this date).
Standard equipment on GTE includes 17-inch wheels, sports suspension, blue brake callipers, unique C-shape LED running lights and Discover Navi-gation infotainment with eight-inch touchscreen.
GTE advance adds 18-inch wheels, LED matrix headlights, Discover Navigation Pro with 9.2-inch touchscreen and keyless entry.
At its launch at the beginning of this month, Passat was available with one 1.6 TDI and three 2.0 TDI diesel engines, with power outputs between 120PS and 240PS, and CO2 emissions from 109g/km to 156g/km. Official combined fuel economy is between 36.2mpg and 45.6mpg (WLTP cycle).
It is also available with a 190PS 2.0 TSI petrol engine which offers CO2 of 143-163g/km and fuel efficiency of 34.9-36.2mpg.
All launch models have seven-speed DSG automatic gearboxes as standard, with three trim levels available: SE, SEL and R-Line.
Standard equipment across the range includes LED headlights, while all models will also feature Travel Assist, which allows the car to be driven at up to 130mph in a partially automated mode.
It combines the manufacturer’s latest adaptive cruise control system with road sign recognition and GPS to auto adjust the speed for different limits, as well as slowing for junctions and corners.
On the launch event we drove the GTE and 2.0 TDI 190PS models and both impressed. Interior space is plentiful, while the design and quality of the cabin gives the range a genuine premium feel.
Ride comfort and refinement for both powertrains was impressive, particularly in the GTE as it can be driven in electric-only mode at up to 80mph, and both covered long distances effortlessly.
The estate in particular also offers a high level of practicality with a 650-litre boot (Ford Mondeo estate: 500 litres, Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer: 560 litres), making the Passat an accomplished all-rounder.
First deliveries are expected in late August.
Specifications shown for VW Passat 2.0 TDI 190 Evo SEL