Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Very little to complain about inside the Passat
  • Neat and tidy design with impressive quality
  • Usual Volkswagen tech and infotainment

It’s hard to criticise the interior of the Passat – just like it is on many of VW’s models. The design and layout is spot on and very user-friendly. A simple set of dials sit ahead of the driver beyond a soft leather-clad steering wheel, an easy-to-operate touchscreen media system sits in the middle of the dash and there are simple heating controls located beneath. Job done.

Well, not quite. While the Passat looks to be made of high-quality materials (the dash top is squidgy and everything feels solid), the overall feel can vary slightly between models and which options you select.

For example, entry-level cars still feel solid, but the dials feature clear analogue dials with a fairly low-rent screen nestled between. It feels quite dated in this setup. You’ll want to upgrade to the Active Info Display digital dials (similar to Audi's Virtual Cockpit) that brings the cabin more up-to-date, and thankfully it’s not as fiddly as it used to be.

The touchscreen infotainment system comes with an 8.0-inch screen as standard, but you can also upgrade to a 9.2-inch system. While that upgrade brings more features, the smaller one is actually a little easier to operate thanks to shortcuts around the outside of the screen and physical knobs to adjust the volume. The firm’s latest MIB3 system was introduced as part of the car’s updates in 2019 with VW claiming it’s easier to operate. This is largely the case, but we found entering a destination into the sat-nav a little trickier than it needed to be.

If you want simplicity, though, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range. In all honesty we’re being very picky with the Passat. The interior is a very pleasant place to be, and is easy to get used to and a lesson in how to design a simple, high-quality interior.

Is it comfortable?

  • Excellent seat comfort in the Passat
  • Ride comfort depends on the model you get
  • Refinement is good on most variants

Comfort is key with the Passat, and where it impresses most is the comfort offered by the seats. It’s a very relaxing car to drive – especially over long distances, and standard-fit ErgoComfort seats really aid this.

The ErgoComfort seats just mean that the driver’s seat features adjustment for the angle of the seat base, the cushion can extend beneath your legs and there’s electric lumbar adjustment on top of the regular set of adjustments available. This all means you can really hone your driving position, and the materials used and support on offer make it a supremely comfortable car in this regard.

When it comes to ride comfort, a regular SE or SEL model impresses thanks to a softer suspension setup and smaller wheels. It floats over bumps with little drama. Upgrade to an R-Line model, however, and it become a little fidgety and unsettled over rougher surfaces thanks to larger alloy wheels and less tyre sidewall, as well as lowered sport suspension. Many buyers will want this model for its extra kerb appeal, and while the ride is never too harsh, it might be worth specifying the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system that features adaptive suspension. It deals with bumps much better and can be adjusted in the car’s drive mode menus.

Finally, the engines remain quiet and are rarely intrusive – even when accelerating hard – only the TDI diesels make a noise, but that’s rarely more than a deep hum. The GTE plug-in hybrid, however, is the opposite when in E-mode, running silently wherever possible. However, road noise is noticeable on those cars with bigger wheels, although it’s highly dependent on the road surface. In all, the Passat is comfortable and quiet, but not quite as refined and wafty as a Skoda Superb.