VW Passat: Taxing issues

  • Passat tax renewal due - £30 for a year
  • Best to renew online: no queuing at the post office
  • Which is the cheapest family estate to tax?

The Passat I am driving was registered in February 2011 which means that this month the tax needed to be renewed.

It requires little effort: you can do it online where the disc arrives through the post or go to the post office and speak to a nice person who'll welcome you with a smile.

I'm well used to either system. I have another car that's a little more out of the ordinary and, by coincidence it requires renewal on exactly the same date - it's a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL and the last time I renewed my tax disc for that a year ago I made a mistake. I decided to go to Muswell Hill post office to do the business and the queue to do this extended out of the building and down the street. I waited 20 minutes until I got to the booth and in that time I received a parking ticket with a penalty fine of £60. That, on top of the £210 payment for a year's worth of motoring, didn't make my day.

It's a lesson learned. For both cars this year it had to be a postal job, not a post office job. A week prior to renewal date (February 28) the tax disc dutifully arrived in the post. No queues, no parking tickets and, for the Passat the financial outlay was pleasingly light. The VW estate, with CO2 emissions of 120g/km, means a VED Band C rating and an annual charge of £30.

It's not bad, but what if you really want to cut your costs even further but still want a half decent estate car to drive around in?

Here's a few models for you to consider and we have detailed the purchase price, power output, CO2 emissions, average fuel economy, VED banding and annual road tax charge. Does the Passat measure up? Here's the the vitals stats for the competition:

Audi Avant 2.0-litre TDi e - £27,755, 135bhp, 116g/km, 64.2mpg, Band C (£30)

Mazda6 2.2 TS - £21,280, 161bhp, 141g/km, 52.3mpg, Band F (£130) 

Honda Accord Tourer 2.2-DTEC ES - £25,170, 147bhp, 51.4mpg, 143g/km, Band F (£130)

Citroen C5 Tourer 2.0 HDi 16v Exclusive - £25,200, 158bhp, 53.3mpg, 133g/km Band E (£115) 

Ford Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCi ECO Edge - £21,145, 114bhp, 65.7mpg, 114g/km, Band C (£30)

Hyundai i40 Estate 1.7 CRDi Blue Drive Active - £19,395, 114bhp, 65.7mpg, 113g/km, Band C (£30)

BMW 3 Series Touring 318d SE - £27,895, 141bhp, 62.8mpg, 120g/km, Band C (£30)

Skoda Superb Estate S 1.6TDI Greenline II - £20,010, 104bhp, 64.2mpg, 114g/km, Band C (£30)  

Peugeot 508 SW Access 1.6 e-HDi EGC - £20,375, 111bhp, 65.6mpg, 110g/km, Band B (£20)

Vauxhall Insignia ST 2.0-litre CDTi ecoFLEX - £23,625, 129bhp, 62.8mpg, 119g/km, Band C (£30)

VW Passat 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion - £23,615, 138bhp, 61.4mpg, 120g/km, Band C (£30)

So, in terms of the stats the Peugeot 508 SW wins hands down. It's the cheapest to tax, has near enough the best fuel economy and has a very affordable purchase price. The Passat is still pretty cheap to run though and it has a premium badge. It's a close call, but I still think I'd go for the Passat.