All things to all people

THE sober-suited Volkswagen Passat might be a corporate favourite but, as June Neary reports, there are other strings to its bow.

Will it suit me?

I have to admit the Volkswagen Passat wouldn’t be my first choice of family car. Perhaps it’s the image.

It just didn’t seem an immediately friendly proposition. A few years ago, this sort of car was what families aspired to but that was before MPVs and SUVs got quite so clever.

Practicalities

It’s hard to fault the Passat when it comes to practicality.

I’m not talking practicality in terms of one hundred and one cubby holes, drawers and pockets.

I’m more concerned about practicality in terms of solid common sense and the depth of thought that has gone into making a car that’s free of annoying gimmicks and extraneous nonsense.

Behind the wheel

My test car was fitted with a 1.8-litre TSI petrol engine and the modest capacity, big car worry was soon eased when I pulled away.

It took me a little while to get used to the start/stop system as on more than one occasion I’d thought I’d stalled the car, only to realise it was Volkswagen’s fuel saving measures at work.

Value for money

The Passat appeals to business users in part because they can negotiate meaningful discounts.

I’m not sure I have the same bargaining power with my local dealer but the £20,375 asked for the 1.8 TSI S model doesn’t seem exorbitant.

Even this entry-level car gets air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a leather-rimmed multifunction wheel, a USB port and four electric windows.

Could I live with one

The Volkswagen Passat wouldn’t be my first port of call when looking for family transport but driving one only serves to remind me how right this size saloon car feels.

I think I could easily make room in my life for Volkswagen’s understated Passat.