Writing about the Volkswagen Passat sometimes puts me in a quandary.
Sometimes our long-term test cars develop faults, or you find things that irritate after several months’ driving that you hadn’t noticed previously. It gives you ammunition for reviews.
The Passat isn’t like that. It hasn’t made one false step during the 10 months we’ve had it. No faults, no niggles; and aside from the heavy boot lid, no major irritations.
It’s simply a very good fleet family car, offering space, value, build quality, comfort, efficiency and a little soupçon of performance from the 140hp 2.0-litre diesel.
However, this version of the Passat has got only one more year to run before the next-generation car comes to market. Spy shots have already been published in some magazines and websites.
Surprisingly, this current seventh-generation model was launched only three years ago. But it was based on the same platform as the version launched in 2005 and, while it came with lots of improvements and enhancements, such as stop-start, new safety equipment and updated styling, it wasn’t exactly a step-change in evolution.
No matter. Fleets have still been buying this car in their thousands – almost 13,000 last year, to be precise, making it the third most popular mainstream D-sector family car.
We like it, too, as does much of the consumer media.
Take this verdict from Fleet News’s sister magazine Car: “It’s the kind of car that worms its way into your affections because it’s just so good at fitting into your life. Its breadth of ability is impressive: value, comfort, frugality, (adequate) performance, refinement, practicality… it’s even okay to drive. If you had to put your money into one all-round family car, this wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.”
In short, the Passat is a solid all-rounder that has served its time on the Fleet News fleet with major honours. Our model goes back in a little over a month’s time: it will be missed.