- Beautifully constructed cabin
- Striking interior design
- Plenty of in-car tech included
Most Volkswagens have plush, nicely designed interiors, but the Passat ups the quality, making it a particularly pleasant car in which to spend time.
The cabin feels like it will last the test of time, but more importantly is beautifully built, with a smattering of soft-touch materials and high quality upholstery making it feel a notch above most of its rivals. If you simply want an upmarket estate for the practicality and feel-good interior, there really is no need to spend more on a Mercedes here. In fact, the Passat's interior is notably higher quality than that of the Mercedes C-Class Estate.
From mid-2019 all Passat Estates come with integrated sim cards for the media system, allowing you to stream online radio and make the most of natural voice controls. This means you can issue voice instructions covering sat-nav, phone and radio settings by saying, 'Hello Volkswagen', and even dictate text messages, while the car can read out received texts to you.
Three media systems available - with and without sat-nav
Three media systems are available; the entry-level Composition Media version with a 6.5-inch screen and without sat-nav, the 8.0-inch nav-equipped Discover Media system and a 9.2-inch Discover Pro version complete with sat-nav.
Helping to make the most of the media systems, are new digital dials. As with the media system, this has been redesigned to make it simpler to use for 2019 models. The 11.7-inch dials have a higher resolution screen, improved graphics and brightness and are claimed to be easier to use.
Replacing the physical speedometer and rev counter, the digital dials can show three different displays; firstly a traditional analogue speedometer and rev counter, with configurable displays between them. Secondly, these analogue gauges are replaced with configurable information feields, with the third option displaying the sat-nav map across the whole width of the display with speed and other driving figures shown at the bottom of the screen.
- Very smooth ride on smaller wheels
- Comfortable front seats
- Impressive refinement levels
So, on to the Passat Estate’s real party trick. It’s most certainly one of the most comfortable cars in its class, and there are few prestige cars we’d rather pick for covering hundreds of miles. Basically, Volkswagen Passat Estate comfort levels are exemplary.
We’ve not tried the seats in lower-spec models, but the ‘Ergo Comfort’ seats in our test cars were supple and supportive with a good range of adjustment. You should easily be able to get comfortable here.
Strong in-car refinement
Also impressive is the refinement level in the cabin. There’s next to no road or wind noise as the cabin insulation and aerodynamics are so well judged. Most engines are quiest and smooth, too, though the diesels can prove a little gruff. Overall, though the Passat is an impressively relaxing car to drive.
Specifying the Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive suspension (standard on the 240hp diesel, optional otherwise) means you’re given the choice of how comfortable you’d like the car.
In Comfort mode it’s deeply impressive, while Sport sharpens up the handling and keeps the body better in check at the detriment of ride quality.
Comfortable ride with standard suspension
Models with the standard suspension and smaller wheels, however, are impressively comfortable, so there's no need to spend more on Dynamic Chassis Control in comfort terms.
We'd avoid fitting the largest alloy wheels to the Passat Estate, though, as reducing the amount of rubber between you and the road makes the car's ride less setlled, especially over rough roads.