Choosing a family car can be a difficult decision. It has to cope with schools run, shopping trips and holidays. For the last three years, our family car has been a VW Passat Estate (2017 model). We’re due to upgrade our car at the end of this year so we thought we’d do a review of the Passat since there are many of these coming onto the second-hand market right now. It’s not just a test drive, we’ve spent three years putting this thing through its paces.
We got this car when Alex was still a tiny baby. We knew we would probably have another baby at some point during the life of this car so we wanted something that was going to be safe.
VW’s are renowned for their safety features, and the Passat Estate has the highest Euro NCAP rating there is (5 stars).
It has driver, passenger and side airbags as well as ISOFIX points to safely secure child seats. Luckily, we’ve never had to test out any of these safety features but it is good to know that they are there.
The car comes with adaptive cruise control, which automatically speeds up or slows down the car depending on the traffic around it. Scott found it a strange sensation at first but now wouldn’t be without it.
The economy was another important factor. Having previously had a BMW 330d MSport, we were keen to get something that gave a few more miles to the gallon. The Passat was advertised as achieving 60MPG, but we found it closer to 45MPG. This could be down to a number of things. There was the VW emissions scandal, which happened after we had bought the car, so how accurate the 60MPG was in the first place is debatable. Pre-lockdown, Scott also did a lot of shorter commutes back and forwards to work, which would have made it less economical.
Before fuel prices dropped so suddenly during lockdown, filling the tank up with diesel cost about £80. That might seem a lot but the Passat does have a larger than average tank.
If you’re doing a lot of long journey’s and driving conservatively, then the Passat is an economical car.
Though it’s not a flashy car, the quality is excellent. It’s put together very well and the interior is full of quality materials, no cheap plastics.
This is where this car comes into its own. It’s extremely comfortable for the driver and passengers, especially on long journeys. We’ve taken it on a few cross country staycations and it’s been fantastic.
For an estate, it has a slightly higher driving position. Our old BMW felt like you were sitting on the floor. This falls somewhere in between that and the elevated driving position of an SUV.
There’s lots of legroom in the front and back and a decent amount of headroom too. Our car has a panoramic sunroof which is good for keeping the kids amused. There’s Tri-Zone climate control too which I loved as I always prefer to be much colder than everyone else.
The VW Passat may not be exciting, but it is endlessly practical. The boot is absolutely enormous. We’ve managed to pack for weekends away with two kids and enough left over to fit Finn in the boot too.
The downside to all this space is that the car is very long, so parking can be tricky. It’s also a bit of an ordeal to manoeuvre around a multi-story car park. Fortunately, there are front and rear parking sensors to help you out.
If you’re looking for a spacious family car that’s not an SUV, then the VW Passat Estate is a great option. They’re safe, reliable and really well built. We’ll be sad to see it go later this year as it’s been a really great family car, and I know we’re going to miss all that boot space.
Main image courtesy of VW