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Volkswagen Passat Saloon verdict

2011 - 2014 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by Richard Kilpatrick Published: 13 December 2022 Updated: 15 August 2023

VW Passat Saloon (2011-2015) buying guide: pale blue Passat B7 driving
VW Passat Saloon (2011-2015) buying guide: pale blue Passat B7 driving

Should you buy a used Volkswagen Passat Mk7 Saloon?

If you’re in the market for a subtle, understated but high-quality four-door car you can’t really do much better. It’s comfortable, economical for the size and performance on offer, and well made inside and out. For a car without a large tailgate it’s very practical, and the trade-off is impressive refinement and security compared with the estate, or hatchback rivals. Emissions scandals aside, the diesel engines are powerful and economical, the DSG gearbox an efficient alternative to a traditional automatic, and there’s enough modern convenience and safety tech to make an older, mid-2000s design feel pretty well-equipped and sophisticated.

The downsides are a rather anonymous image (be prepared to be mistaken for an Uber), and some genuine parts can be very expensive. For the price you’ll find comparable age, mileage and condition Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4 saloons for sale, if you’d prefer a car with a more obviously premium image. For outright space and value for money the Skoda Superb or Ford Mondeo are better value, with cheaper maintenance and repair costs in the case of the Ford.

As such, the Volkswagen Passat is all about the image you want to project. It has an air of unpretentious solidity that has been core to the brand since the first Passats arrived in the UK to chase away memories of oddball, air-cooled big VWs, but it’s not quite ‘an Audi with a less premium badge’ as past generations have offered. It’s very good value at this age, particularly in saloon form, but you get a car – not a kerbside status symbol.

What we like

Strong, safe and dependable, with good refinement and comfort levels and the option of some fairly advanced tech for the age. Proven engines and gearboxes that are easy to maintain, generally trustworthy and well understood by mechanics and specialists, so straightforward to fix when things do go wrong.

What we don’t like

It’s a step back from the ‘Audi-but-less-showy’ value that previous Passats offered, being an oversized Volkswagen Golf. The Passat Mk8 is an all-new platform, so only buy 2014/15 models if the saving is significant. A tarnished reputation for diesels, and production ending before Euro 6 means they’re not suitable as cheap ULEZ compliant cars despite BlueMotion tech.