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First drive: Volkswagen Passat 1.4-litre petrol

Date: 21 August 2017   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Despite what some newspapers would have you believe, diesel is far from dead here in the UK.

However, the recent media backlash and the uncertainty over legislation has started to take its toll and left many fleets reappraising petrol as an alternative to the diesel norm.

Manufacturers have reacted quickly to expand ranges with more petrol offerings, and here is the latest car to go over to the green side - the Volkswagen Passat.

Before July this year, the Passat was very much in the diesel camp with only the GTE plug-in hybrid offering an alternative; not surprising really, when 80% of sales head into fleet here in the UK.

Now however, there's a 1.4-litre available across the Passat's range with two power outputs: 125 and 150hp, and in higher GT and R Line trims there's also a 1.8-litre with 180hp and a 2.0-litre with 220hp available only with the DSG automatic gearbox.   

On paper, you'd probably be a little sceptical of a 1.4-litre petrol in the Passat; however, out on the road, the engine impresses as it's smooth and powerful on the motorway, and adds a little extra character around the town and on the country lanes.

Passatsebusiness

Accelerating 0-62mph officially takes just 8.4 seconds, while the steering is expertly weighted. Although the Passat's natural home is on the motorway, there's ample grip on offer to tackle corners with confidence, while the engine's 250Nm of torque provides enough power to make the car feel quick when pulling away from the lights.

Mated to the engine is the firm's excellent seven-speed automatic gearbox, and the two work in harmony with each other in creating slick gear changes. Opting for the automatic carries very little penalty in running costs; however, it does add around £1,600 to the price of the car - something that'll need to be considered.

Here, we're testing the car in mid-range SE Business trim and, although rivals come more generously equipped, standard kit includes most of the essential tech needed for company drivers day to day, including satnav, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, keyless start and 17in alloy wheels.

Passat -viii -brochure _SE Business Interior Pic

The latest Volkswagen infotainment system includes an 8in colour touchscreen as standard that offers excellent resolution and is easy to use, while inside the interior is elegant and of good quality, albeit a little bland. Practicality is one of the Passat's key strengths and there's loads of room inside the cabin for front and rear passengers, plus the boot is large at 586 litres and includes a dual floor that helps to store items out of view.

Residual values for the Passat have always been stable and, although slightly lower than it's diesel counterparts, the 29.2% figure for our car here isn't too far from the rest of the range. The P11D price for the 150hp 1.4-litre is also significantly cheaper than the 2.0-litre 150hp diesel, the bestselling model in the range, helping our petrol model come out over 3p a mile cheaper overall.

A Passat and a petrol engine probably would have sounded like something from science fiction a couple of years ago; however, its new broader range of engines is a sign of the times we live in today and its strong figures prove just how viable petrol could be for fleets.

Volkswagen Passat Saloon SE Business 1.4-litre TSI 150ps DSG

P11D Price: £25,180
On sale: July 2017
Residual value: 29.2%
Depreciation: £17,830
Fuel: £5,666
Service, maintenance and repair: £2,056
Cost per mile: 58.1p
Fuel consumption: 55.4mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 117g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £93/£185
Boot space: 586 litres
Engine size/power: 1,395cc/150hp

Verdict


8/10
  • Impressive ride quality
  • Characterful engine
  • Whole-life costs cheaper than diesel
  • Standard kit a little stingy
  • Bland design
  • Conservative drive

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