- Entry level petrol model priced at £18,470
- All diesels now labelled as BlueMotion models
- Stop/start and brake energy regeneration now standard
Volkswagen has announced an aggressive pricing policy for its new Passat saloon with the range starting at £18,470.
The idea is to take the family saloon market by the scruff of the neck. Its entry level Passat is cheaper than an entry level Honda Accord, Peugeot 407, Saab 9-3, Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series but is still eclipsed, pricewise, by Ford Mondeo, Insignia and Mazda6 - the cheapest of all.
However, potential customers might be lured by the promised fuel economy on other diesel-engined models in the Passat range. Every diesel Passat is now labelled as BlueMotion, which means battery regeneration (taking strain off the alternator, saving fuel) and stop/start is standard. There are two diesel engines: a 1.6-litre with 104bhp and a 2.0-litre with either 138bhp or 168bhp.
The low-tax eco-option, the BlueMotion 1.6 TDI, now emits 109g/km - down from 114g/km and in the lowest 13% company car tax bracket - and also returns 68.8mpg. Furthermore, it's available with six manual gears instead of five.
You can also order a Passat with a choice of petrol engines: a 1.4-litre with 120bhp, a 1.8-litre with 158bhp and a 2.0-litre with 207bhp.
There are three trim levels, all promising more kit than the current car: 'S' now comes with iPod connectivity and steering wheel controls; 'SE' now has an eight-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth and a new driver fatigue system; and 'Sport' gets a new top-of-the-range touch-screen sat nav as standard equipment.
All Passats get six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic skid protection and WOKS - which isn't a cooking technique, rather a head restraint system that aims to prevent whiplash.