During its six-month say at Fleet Towers, the Passat has been utterly predictable in every area, which goes a long way towards making fleet operators' and drivers' lives simple and happy. This opinion was reinforced after a weekend driving a hired Renault Laguna in France. While the Laguna was perfectly adequate, to get back into the Passat was a delight. The Passat drives well, is solid, dependable and looks good. I had no problems with gearchanging unlike my colleague probably because I drive more slowly – and was perfectly happy with the performance from the 2.0-litre 130bhp engine – this being the upgraded 2.0-litre unit introduced last summer. Though this is still the least powerful petrol Passat, it is nevertheless a brisk performer.
I was a little surprised that Volkswagen had provided us with a petrol model – after all the diesel sport versions win hands-down on fuel consumption – but it made a refreshing change after a glut of diesel-engined cars on our long term test fleet.
Opting for the Passat TDI PD 130 Sport diesel model will save £1,710 in fuel costs over an operating cycle of 60,000 miles but it also has a £2,000 price premium, so the 2.0 Sport ends up winning the running cost battle. Overall the Fleet News testers have been impressed with the Passat 2.0 Sport and will be sorry to see it return to Volkswagen this month – even if it didn't set the hearts fluttering. Jo Fobbester
Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer): £72 per month