This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen Passat Saloon (15-21) review.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: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

With six engines available, Volkswagen Passat performance is varied and there is plenty of choice for customers. There are three direct injection TSI turbo petrol engines starting with the 1.4-litre with 120bhp, 1.8-litre generating 158bhp and topping the range a 2.0-litre version with 207bhp. The choice of three 16-valve TDI turbodiesels starts with the 1.6-litre that gets 104bhp as well as a 2.0-litre that comes in two different power outputs of 138bhp or 168bhp.

All engines are mated to a six-speed manual or twin-clutch DSG gearboxes (seven speeds for the smaller engines; six for the high-torque models).

The quickest petrol option, the 2.0-litre TSI 207bhp mated to the DSG ‘box, will get from zero to 62mph in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 139mph, while the top performing diesel engine is the 2.0 litre TDI. When coupled with the DSG gearbox it will complete the benchmark sprint in 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 148mph.

Pick the DSG ‘box over the manual gearbox and changes will be fractionally quicker, the ‘Playstation generation’ will like the steering-wheel mounted paddles while enthusiasts will prefer the floor-mounted manual shifting gear-stick.

Avoid the 1.4 litre engine with 104bhp unless you are planning to drive conservatively. Passing slower traffic with this version needs to be planned in advance and the gearbox needs to be worked hard.

In 2013 a new engine was added to the Passat line-up. It’s a 1.4-litre petrol engine which makes use of turbo-charging and super-charging. It has 158bhp and replaces the old 1.8-litre petrol engine.

More refined and smoother, it is an improvement on the previous generation. However, the Ford Mondeo is still the class-leader. The Passat cannot match the sharpness of the Mondeo when turning into corners or the overall handling ability. This does not make the Passat a bad car just that it is less enjoyable to drive on minor roads. Sales of this car, however, will be driven by big business for its smooth ride and its ability to effortlessly cover long motorway miles. If motorway mileage is your staple diet then this is the car for you. There are three suspension settings to choose from – normal, comfort and sport. Select comfort and long journeys will be completed with ease. The DCC adaptive chassis control adapts damping to how you drive and the system will react to acceleration, braking and steering inputs.

In 2013 R-Line trim was made available with 15mm lower ride height for better handling.