This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen Passat Saloon (15-21) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Engines range from 1.6 8-valve to 2.3 VR5 five-cylinder 10-valve (150 bhp) and 2.8 V6 30-valve (193 bhp), with the excellent 1.9 TDi direct-injection turbo-diesels available with 90, 110 or 115 bhp outputs. There’s also a powerful 2.5 V6 TDi. Five-speed manual, four-speed auto or five-speed Tiptronic sequential shift transmissions are available.

Saloons feel sharp and are great to drive, with precise handling that inspires confidence. The sporty VR5 and V6 models are fine driving machines. Passat is an ideal long-haul motorway cruiser thanks to responsive, torquey engines, a smooth ride and a natural driving position.