VW Passat: long-term test gets under way

  • Dep. Ed. Tim takes delivery of his first ever estate
  • Passat is an excellent first foray into big boots
  • BlueMotion tech means over 600 miles per tank

I always wanted an estate - never had one before - so when the VW Passat turned up in the Parkers car park I had a sense of 'completion', if you like.

It is the automotive equivalent of Jerry Maguire (a la Tom Cruise/Rene Zelweger). You see, I've had my fair share of hatchbacks, 4x4s, coupes, open-tops but never had the pleasure of spending any quality time with an estate in my 25 years or so of driving. Of course, I've driven estates on short-term tests and launches, but as far as long-term ownership goes, I've been an estate-free zone.

So why did I want an estate? It's hardly a heady ambition is it? It's much like saying you've always wanted brown carpeting in your house.

No, there are two reasons for this rather low-level desire: 1) I play drums (badly) on a regular basis and need a sizeable load-lugger to transport my kit and 2) I play golf (badly) and I need a sizeable load-lugger to transport my kit.

The Passat, therefore, is an ideal mode of transport for both functions. It has the biggest load area in the class (1,713 litres with the rear seats down and 603 litres with the seats up) which trumps the Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer, the Ford Mondeo Estate, the Mazda6 Estate and the Peugeot 508 SW and it also has the extra benefit of looking the classiest of all family estates.

In that respect I've fallen on my feet. It means I can play golf without having to go through the rigmarole of folding down the rear seats with a lot of accompanying huffing and puffing, and I can also travel in some style.

The story of my good fortune with this latest long-termer doesn't end there. I have a 75-mile daily commute from London to Peterborough and because this is a 2.0-litre diesel in fuel-friendly BlueMotion spec I expect visits to the filling stations to be few and far between. Indeed, when I climbed aboard for the first time with a full tank of diesel and turned on the ignition, the range computer read 625 miles, which is satisfying to say the very least.

The model I have also has all the necessary gubbins to make my life easier. In SE spec with options it has leather seats, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a very handy push-down parcel shelf that zips into its holding canister at the push of a palm.

I also get iPod connectivity - similar to that in in previous long-termer, the VW Golf TSI - and it's massively handy because my iPhone keeps running out of charge. It means I can plug it in, get some juice in the charge bar, without having to wait until I get home and plug it into the mains. Of course, the fact that I can also use my iPod too, and be able to control my music choices without a big faff is also a bonus.

So I'm in for what looks like a very happy six months. The Passat is already giving me good impressions. Hopefully, I will feel complete by the end of it.

Current mileage: 11,605 miles

Average mpg: 45.2mpg