Passat Estate Mk VI

First seen by the public at the Frankfurt Show 2005, and launched in the UK in November 2005, the sixth generation, Passat Estate raised standards in its sector once again.

Since its introduction in 1973, the Passat has established a reputation for quality in the medium car market, a lead that successive Passat models have maintained and a challenge that the new model has been developed to meet.

The new Passat Estate is larger in almost every dimension compared with the previous model.  Its appearance is typically Volkswagen – and instantly recognisable as a Passat – but it is designed to rival the appearance of more expensive cars.

Elements of the flagship Phaeton have been incorporated into the new car, such as the distinctive circular LED tail lights and bolder grille.  Inside too, the Passat Estate has a fresher, more dynamic style, with curves and contrasts that combine to form an exclusive ambience.  Again, Volkswagen’s luxury cars, the Phaeton and Touareg, provided inspiration for the designers in this important area.

But the Passat Estate is not just about appearance.  As expected of Volkswagen, the new car is technologically advanced, not least in the considerably stiffer construction of its bodyshell.  Static torsional rigidity has been increased over its already very good predecessor, making it a class leader.  The benefits of this to the customer are improved levels of safety, refinement, handling, ride and build quality. 

The Passat Estate also appeals to enthusiastic drivers, through responsive handling.  New four-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical power steering have been developed to provide appealing driving characteristics on twisty roads, and yet the important area of ride quality has also been improved due to suspension damping development and the stiffer body structure.

Standard fitment of an electronic parking brake is a class first.  It has previously only been featured on cars in the next class up.

Other technological highlights include the availability of Volkswagen’s revolutionary DSG (twin clutch) transmission; a range of six sophisticated direct-injection petrol and diesel engines that meet Euro 5 legislation; optional Bluetooth telephone unit; and the availability of a ten-channel 600 watt sound system developed in conjunction with Danish hi-fi specialists, Dynaudio.

The range gained a performance flagship in the form of the Passat Estate R36 in May 2008.  Equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 300 PS engine and 4MOTION four-wheel drive, the R36 is the most powerful Passat Estate yet produced.

Summary

  • Sixth generation of Volkswagen’s mid-sized family estate
  • Longer (+ 92 mm), wider (+ 74 mm) and taller (+ 19 mm) than previous model
  • Exterior dimensions are 4.77 m length, 1.82 mm width, 1.52 m height, with a 2.71 m wheelbase
  • Luggage space (seats up, measured to window line) increased by 18 litres to 513 litres; maximum cargo space (seats folded, measured to roof) is up 41 litres to 1641 litres
  • 60/40 split rear seat folds flat, offering maximum load length of 1.96 metres
  • Like saloon, features new multi-link rear suspension for class-leading driving dynamics and comfort, plus greater payload
  • Chassis is significantly stiffer than before, for class-leading rigidity and refinement
  • Standard safety equipment includes ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme); driver, front passenger, front side and curtain airbags; fast-response rear LED lights; active front headrests; and Isofix child seat mountings
  • Technical highlights available through the range include electronic parking brake operating on all four wheels (auto hold function standard with automatic gearboxes; optional on manuals); Bluetooth telephone unit; class-leading 600 watt hi-fi system developed with Dynaudio; plus 2Zone Climatronic system
  • Optional rails integrated into boot floor enable more flexible securing of loads
  • Six engines available: 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS; 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS; 3.6-litre V6 FSI 300 PS petrol; plus 2.0-litre TDI CR 110, 140 and 170 PS diesels
  • A BlueMotion model is also offered with a 2.0-litre TDI 110 PS engine with a number of modifications to increase efficiency and reduce emissions 
  • DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) offered on some TDI and 1.8-litre TSI models and standard on the R36
 

Market information

The Passat Estate is a competitor to the Ford Mondeo, Volvo V70, Peugeot 407, and also the BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.  Volkswagen UK sold 30,625 Passats in 2008 – 16,025 saloons and 13,070 estates.  The Passat Estate is sold mainly with TDI engines.  Volkswagen has established a strong reputation among business and private buyers for the performance, durability and economy of its TDI diesel engines. 

Production

The Passat Estate is produced at the Emden plant in Northern Germany alongside the Passat saloon and Passat CC.  Employing around 7,900 staff, the car production site at Emden measures 4.1 million square metres, 1.6 million sq m of which is occupied by buildings.  The plant location is convenient, being in the immediate vicinity of the Emden port from which Passat models are delivered across the world.  Around one million new vehicles are imported and exported annually through Emden, with almost daily crossings to the UK.  The plant itself is among the most advanced and sustainable in the world, with, for example, on-site wind generators which produce 4.5 megawatts of electrical power.  The site also has its own test track. 

The Emden factory was built in 1964, specialising in the production of the original Beetle, primarily for the North American market.  A total of 2,360,591 cars were produced in Emden until the model was discontinued in 1978.  The Passat has been built in Emden since 1977 and in November 2007, the 15 millionth Passat rolled off the production line. 

DESIGN

The exterior

The Passat Estate’s chrome radiator grille, with V-shape flowing up through the bonnet, combined with headlights, bonnet and bumpers, looks distinctive and stylish.  The dimensions of the latest generation Passat Estate illustrate the radical design changes between the current model and its predecessor:                   

  New Passat Estate Old Passat Estate
Difference
length, mm 4770 4678 + 92
width, w/out door mirrors, mm 1820 1746 + 74
height, mm 1520 1501 + 19
wheelbase, mm 2710 2703 + 7
luggage capacity with rear seats up 513 495 + 18 litres

The Passat Estate also has an increased payload of up to 638 kg, which is 43 kg more than the previous model.

The interior

The logically designed Passat Estate facia has several new features.  A new transmitter used to activate the central locking system has replaced the traditional ignition lock.  The press and drive key is pushed into a slot near the steering wheel, far above the knee, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury during a collision.  No conventional key is required. 

A button located to the right of the main headlight switch operates the new electronic parking brake, which acts on all four wheels.  This button replaces the handbrake lever.

The ergonomically designed seats are height adjustable for the driver (and passenger from R Line trim upwards), with an increase to the range of both length and height settings in comparison to the previous generation Passat.  The front seat inclination is simultaneously adjusted in the new model as height adjustments are made.  A new rail mechanism allows more subtle adjustments of the front seating length.  A six-way electronically adjustable driver’s seat is available from Highline trim upwards.  In this case, the driver’s seat is equipped with an electrically adjustable lumbar support.

Great attention has also been paid to the comfort of rear seat passengers, where there are three contoured seats with ample head and leg space plus good side bolstering.  The rear seat-back is split 60:40.  The back-rest locking system is another new addition.  The robust clasps are provided with a red indicator that displays their status and are visible from the front seats, as seen in the Golf. 

The Passat Estate has a host of practical storage spaces.  The glovebox is large enough to house A4 documents, while the air conditioning on all models extends to this storage compartment, meaning that drinks and chocolate bars can be kept cool.  The optional CD autochanger – and navigation system, if specified – is stored in a hidden drop-down tray above the glovebox, and is accessed via a new cable-controlled mechanism, providing easy retrieval.  Where it is not specified, the owner’s handbook is instead stored in this area.  This simple yet effective solution liberates more space elsewhere in the car. 

Other storage areas include a smaller glovebox on the driver’s side, a practical roof storage console, and front door compartments that can accommodate large drink bottles, but still leave enough room for an atlas.  Two small drawers are accessible on either side of the hazard warning switch. 

As the electronic parking brake excludes the need for a handbrake lever, the space between the seats can be used for a larger armrest (not on S) with an air-conditioned storage compartment (with four-litre cubic capacity) concealed underneath.  A mobile phone may also be stowed and charged in a compartment directly below the armrest if the requisite mounting is installed.  There is also space for an umbrella, inside the driver’s door.

The Passat Estate’s load space is exceptionally large, with a capacity of 513 cubic litres – 18 litres more than its predecessor.  To ensure easy loading, the hatchback lifts up to a height of 2.06 m.  The interior cabin affords headroom to the roof lining of 83 cm; the width between the wheel wells on either side measures one metre.  The area of greatest width in the cargo area is 1.3 m, with a minimum length of 1.13 m.  When the rear seat is folded down, the luggage area of the Passat Estate features a loading length of 1.96 m.

Four chrome-plated load lashing points enable easy and safe luggage storage.  A twin bag hook is fitted as standard, while a luggage partition net is available – a device which can either be completely stretched over the floor of the boot or, as in the Sharan, used as a vertical net bag.  The specially designed semi-circular boot hinges, built into the exterior of the boot rim, rise smoothly to open the lid completely at the touch of an interior button.  The boot-lid lining houses the optional hazard warning triangle, so that it can be quickly accessed even when the cargo area is fully laden. 

The starting and locking system with radio remote control has been completely redeveloped.  There is no longer an ignition key in the conventional sense.  Most
of the transmitter components for unlocking and locking the central locking system have been moved into a slot retainer to the right of the steering wheel.  The engine is then started by simply pressing the transmitter into the slot.  If the Passat Estate is equipped with the optional keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a separate button.

Lights

The Passat Estate’s headlights have been further improved, particularly the main beam, while the bi-Xenon units that are standard on the R36 and offered as on option on the rest of the range also provide better long-distance visibility than before.  The directional headlights, included with bi-Xenon lights, turn with the steering to a maximum swivelling angle of 15 degrees, providing better visibility around bends.  When the vehicle is static, these are able to turn to 35 degrees
in relation to the car’s axis, useful, for example when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces.

For the first time in the Passat Estate, the indicators in the door mirrors and the components of the twin round tail lights now use fast-response LED technology, introduced in the Phaeton.  The central high-mounted stop light also uses LED technology and is situated beneath the rear window.  LEDs react much more quickly than conventional light bulbs, are more durable and consume less energy. 

As on the Phaeton, LED lighting technology is used for tail, indicator and brake lights.  This system has the advantage of high efficiency in converting electrical energy into light, rapid response, high reliability and long life.  Conventional bulbs are used for the less frequently used high-intensity rear and reversing lamps.

The Passat Estate also features automatic hazard warning lights, which activate under severe braking.  This is defined by deceleration of more than 0.7 g at speeds of 60 km/h or above using the brake pedal, or if ABS control is activated for more than two seconds.

ENGINES

There are six direct-injection engines in the Passat Estate ranging from 110 PS to 300 PS, with a choice of three petrol and three diesel units.  All the Passat’s petrol engines conform to the Euro 4 emissions standard, while all of the diesel powerplants meet Euro 5 standards, and all are installed transversely.

The petrol line-up comprises: a 1.4-litre 122 PS TSI; a 1.8-litre 160 PS; and a 3.6-litre FSI V6 with 300 PS which powers the R36.  The three 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines use common rail technology and are available with 110, 140 or 170 PS.

Petrol engines

TSI technology

The TSI name represents all of Volkswagen’s pioneering forced-induction petrol engines which are available in the Passat Estate.  These engines produce high levels of power with low emissions from a relatively small capacity.

1.4-litre 1390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS

This unit replaced the Passat’s 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS unit.  Power is up to 122 PS while torque is also increased by nearly 30 per cent to 147 lbs ft (200 Nm) at just 1,500 rpm. 

Zero to 62 mph takes 10.8 seconds and top speed is 124 mph.  The new engine also brings fuel saving benefits: the combined consumption for this unit is 42.2 mpg with carbon dioxide emissions of 159 g/km.

This engine is available with a standard six-speed manual gearbox.

1.8-litre 1798 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 160 PS

This engine was introduced to the Volkswagen range in December 2007, and endows the Passat with lively performance and refinement thanks in part to maximum torque of 185 lbs ft (250 Nm) from just 1,500 rpm and maximum power of 160 PS. 

The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes 8.8 seconds (8.7 DSG) and top speed for this Passat Estate is 135 mph (134 DSG).

This engine has a combined fuel economy figure of 37.2 mpg (37.7 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 186 g/km (178 DSG).  It is available with a standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

3.6-litre 3597 cc V6 FSI, 24-valve 6-cyl, 300 PS

The 3.6-litre engine represents the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Passat.  The engine is linked to a six-speed DSG gearbox and has 4MOTION four-wheel drive as standard. 

It produces 300 PS and 244 lbs ft (330 Nm) of torque at 3,000 rpm making it flexible and the performance easy to exploit.  This engine returns 26.9 mpg on the combined cycle and produces 249 g/km of CO2.  Zero to 62 mph takes just 5.8 seconds and this Passat’s top speed is limited to 155 mph.

Diesel engines

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 110 PS

The 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS engine replaces the legendary 1.9-litre ‘Pumpe Düse’ TDI unit and provides the entry point to the Passat Estate TDI range.  With 110 PS at 4,200 rpm and 185 lbs ft (250 Nm) of torque from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm, this powerplant is a great all-rounder – especially as it has surprisingly low fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures for a vehicle of this size (50.4 mpg and 146 g/km).  Zero to 62 mph takes 11.9 seconds and top speed is 118 mph.  This powerplant is available with a standard five-speed manual gearbox only. 

This engine is also used in the Passat Estate BlueMotion 2, denoting the most economical car in the range.

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

The original and popular 2.0-litre TDI unit was replaced at the start of 2008 with a common rail diesel engine, with the same capacity and power output.  Piezo injectors mean maximum efficiency in the combustion process, while a standard DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) guarantees this engine meets Euro 5 emissions legislation. 

Maximum power output is 140 PS, while maximum torque of 236 lbs ft (320 Nm) is delivered at 1,750 rpm.  Available with a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox, this Passat Estate goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 128 mph (126 DSG).

This engine has a combined economy figure of 49.6 mpg (46.3 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 148 g/km (159 DSG). 

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The most powerful diesel engine in the Passat Estate range has a maximum power output of 170 PS and maximum torque of 258 lbs ft (350 Nm) from 1,750 rpm.  Combined economy is 49.6 mpg for the standard six-speed manual gearbox (45.6 DSG) with CO2 emissions of 149 g/km (163 DSG).

Performance-wise, this car delivers the 0 to 62 mph dash in 8.8 seconds and has a top speed of 137 mph (135 DSG).

Gearboxes

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox

The Direct Shift Gearbox is a true innovation, combining the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG has two wet clutches (offering a higher thermal load tolerance than dry clutches) with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this new clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.

In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection.  The 2.0-litre TDI engines with 140 and 170 PS and the 3.6-litre V6 petrol units are available with this DSG gearbox.

Seven-speed DSG

New in 2009 and available with the 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS engine only is a seven-speed DSG ’box.  This, another world-first for Volkswagen, uses a pair of dry clutches (as opposed to the wet ones in the six-speed version) to improve fuel efficiency and performance.  The pair of dry, organic bonded friction linings do not require cooling, making the drivetrain more efficient through the extra gear ratio and the fact that less power is required for the gear selection and clutch servo system.  Measuring only 369 mm in length and weighing only 79 kg including the dual-mass flywheel the gearbox is remarkably compact. 

In adopting seven-speeds, Volkswagen engineers were able to lower first gear to improve acceleration from a standstill.  By contrast seventh gear has been raised to act as an overdrive function making it ideal for motorway driving with the additional effect of raising economy and comfort levels.

The volume of oil contained within the gearbox has also been reduced by 75 per cent.  The oil circuits are split into two in an effort to protect the lubrication’s purity.  As with a conventional manual gearbox, one of the circuits is used for cooling and lubrication of the gear teeth, the second feeds oil to the gear actuators.  Since the clutch does not require cooling the quantity of oil was reduced from seven litres in the six-speed DSG gearbox to only 1.7-litres in the new seven-speed system.

Servicing

Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Passat Estate.  They can choose between Time and Distance and LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 18,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due. 

RUNNING GEAR

The Passat Estate benefits from a four-link rear suspension system.  The four-arm rear axle is acoustically isolated from the bodywork by a subframe and strut-type front suspension uses light alloy components.  Electro-mechanical power-assisted steering provides agility, comfort and safety of the highest standard. 

Front axle

The front axle of the Passat Estate uses strut-type suspension, with low-mounted wishbones and control arms.  This axle is extremely light, offering numerous advantages.  An example of innovative lightweight construction can be found in the rigid, crash-optimised subframe, where weight has been reduced by 4.5 kg compared with conventional steel construction.  Another lightweight part is the forged aluminium wishbone.  The weight saving over pressed steel is 4.2 kg.

The methods of lightweight construction are of the greatest value when it comes to unsprung mass, hence both the wishbones and pivot bearings are made of aluminium.  The weight advantage here adds up to 3.2 kg.  The weight of the anti-roll bar has been reduced by 1.4 kg due to special lightweight construction.  Taken all together, the lightweight construction techniques used in the area of the front axle result in a weight advantage of 13.3 kg.  And that means greater comfort, better dynamics, and lower fuel consumption.                    

Multi-link rear suspension
The Passat Estate has a compact, independent rear suspension system that brings improvements to both ride quality and handling.  An upper and lower transverse arm and a longitudinal link on each side control wheel location.  This arrangement provides separate control of the longitudinal and lateral movement of wheel location.  For occupants the benefits are a more comfortable ride and less body roll in corners.  The driver will notice better handling with safe, controllable and involving dynamic behaviour.  A lightweight, tubular anti-roll bar is used at the rear.

A principal feature that adds to refinement in the Passat Estate is a rear subframe that isolates the rear suspension from the body.  The subframe is also very light, due to the use of high-tensile steel.   

4MOTION four-wheel drive

This latest generation all-wheel drive Passat Estate continues a tradition which started with the Estate GT syncro in 1984.  The R36 model has standard 4MOTION; this system uses a Haldex rear differential system as opposed to the previous generation Passat which used a centre differential.

In normal conditions, 4MOTION distributes 90 per cent of torque to the front wheels and 10 per cent to the rear.  In extreme cases, 100 per cent of available torque can be transmitted to the rear axle.

The 4MOTION system brings particular benefits when towing or driving on challenging terrain.  The towing capability for the 3.2-litre V6 4MOTION Passat is 2,200 kg (braked trailer 12 per cent incline).

Electro-mechanical power steering

An electro-mechanical power steering system is employed in the Passat Estate.  Unlike previous electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.  Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy, as it dispenses with the usual engine driven pump.

Braking system

The Passat Estate features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.

All Passat models have an integrated ‘brake disc wiper’ as standard, where the linings are gently applied at intervals of five minutes.  This wipes off any water film that may have built up on wet roads and therefore shortens the braking distance.  The driver is oblivious to this procedure.

Electronic parking brake

The Passat Estate was the first in its class to have a push-button operated electro-mechanical parking brake as standard.  New functions can be implemented because of the electronic control system and its ability to communicate with other control units.  These include a dynamic emergency braking function, dynamic driving assistant (for use on hills, for example) and an auto hold function (avoids frequent application of the brake pedal when, for example, crawling in traffic).

The electro-mechanical parking brake is operated using a button to the right of the rotary light switch.  Pressing a foot-pedal or pulling a handbrake lever has now been replaced by a simple push of a button.  A light in the button and on the dashboard indicates that the brake is applied.  A separate control unit is needed to actuate and monitor the electro-mechanical parking brake.  This is linked with the ESP control unit and is therefore a part of the Controller Area Network (CAN).  This is important, because it means that all the convenience and safety functions of the electro-mechanical parking brake can be perfectly controlled, offering noticeable advantages over a conventional handbrake. 

Dynamic emergency brake function

The law requires that a car must be capable of being stopped by the parking brake in the extremely unlikely event of main brake system failure.  In a worse case scenario, the electro-mechanical parking brake can do this much more efficiently than a normal handbrake lever, since braking is carried out on all four wheels by means of active brake pressure build-up.  Dynamic emergency braking is initiated by pressing and holding the parking brake button.  The ABS and ESP functions are also integrated.  Emergency braking stops as soon as the button is released.

Dynamic starting assistant (DAA) of the electronic parking brake

The dynamic starting function provides jolt-free starting in almost any situation, so a Passat Estate that is parked on a slope does not roll back when it starts off.  The DAA function becomes active as soon as the propulsion torque (when moving off) of the Passat Estate is greater than the reversing torque (rolling back).  In other words, the parking brake releases smoothly and automatically when the driver moves off with manual as well as automatic transmission.

Auto hold function

Another major convenience feature is the optional auto hold function (standard on automatic and DSG models).  This is activated by a button next to the gear lever, and is helpful to hold the car stationary for short periods (such as in heavy town traffic).  The parking brake now comes on automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake preventing the car from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  This function really comes into its own when crawling along in heavy traffic, particularly on gradients.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way,
it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one
has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

Brake Assist System – BAS

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of BAS recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, BAS automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Press and drive key system

The Passat Estate’s starting and locking system with radio remote control no longer uses an ignition key in the traditional sense.  Most of the transmitter components for activating and deactivating the central locking system have been moved into a special ‘key holder’ to the right of the steering wheel – the electronic ignition lock.  The engine is started by pressing the electronic key.  If the Passat Estate is equipped with the optional new keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a separate button.

The Passat Estate is started as follows:

1.  Slide the press and drive key into the dashboard slot.  A clearly audible latching noise indicates that the ‘key’ has been inserted.

2.  With manual transmission, press clutch, and with automatic transmission (Tiptronic or DSG) press the brake.

3.  Push the press and drive key in all the way.  Engine starts.

4.  Press the press and drive key again to stop the engine.

Run-flat tyres and pressure sensor

The self-supporting optional 16-inch tyres have reinforced side walls and allow the vehicle to be driven safely, even if the inflation pressure is low or zero.  Since this loss of pressure is hardly noticeable because of the emergency running characteristics of the tyre, an optional tyre pressure monitoring system (standard on V6 4MOTION) indicates the loss of pressure via a warning light in the instrument binnacle.

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

In May 2009, the Passat Estate line-up was revised to include just three standard trim levels: S, R Line and Highline.  At the top of the range is the R36 while the BlueMotion’s specification is based on that of the entry-level S.

S 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS

S 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

S 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS
S 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

All the above models feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with BAS (Brake Assist System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • driver and front passenger airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers
  • driver and front passenger’s active head restraints
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • automatic hazard lights activation under severe braking
  • press and drive key system, including electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection
  • remote control central locking
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning system
  • electronic parking brake
  • multifunction computer
  • front electric windows
  • electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • radio/CD player with four speakers
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • 7J x 16 ‘Milwaukee’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts, plus full-size steel spare wheel

R Line 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS   

R Line 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

R Line 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS
R Line 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

In addition to all the features from the S model, R Line adds:

  • front electric windows
  • body coloured bumpers and side strips
  • matt chrome trimmed radiator grille surround and double louvres
  • leather trimmed steering wheel and gearknob
  • cruise control
  • driver’s and front seat passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • front centre armrest
  • multifunction computer
  • multifunction steering wheel
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Monte Carlo’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts

Highline 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 170 PS

Among a number of additional features, the Highline adds the following equipment:

  • chrome plated side and rear bump strips and ‘chrome satin’ side window surrounds
  • front comfort seats
  • ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery
  • carpet mats, front and rear
  • six-way electric adjustment for driver’s seat including lumbar support
  • load through provision
  • heated front seats
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Macau’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft bolts

R36 3.6-litre V6 FSI 300 PS 4MOTION

The range-topping R36 features a unique specification with the following equipment highlights all standard:

  • 2Zone electronic climate control with automatic air recirculation
  • electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with memory function and integrated indicators
  • gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights with dynamic curve lighting, static cornering lights and headlight washers
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror; dusk sensor, automatic driving lights; rain sensor
  • rear lights incorporating LED technology; white turn signal lights integrated into front bumper
  • driver’s seat with electric 12-way adjustment including lumbar support memory; front passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • heated outer rear seats; split folding rear seats (60:40)
  • Isofix child seat preparation
  • parking sensors, front and rear
  • 4MOTION four-wheel drive
  • sports suspension, lowered by approx. 20mm
  • blue brake callipers
  • exterior ‘R’ design package – body-coloured roof spoiler, restyled front and rear bumpers, wheel arch extensions, R36 logo on restyled radiator grille and louvres, large chrome exhausts and restyled front air intakes
  • ‘R36’ cloth upholstery
  • interior ‘R’ design package – brushed aluminium decorative inserts, R36 logo on seat backrests and stainless steel door sill protectors, aluminium pedals with ‘R’ logo
  • leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift, and gear knob
  • 8J x 18 ‘Omanyt’ alloy wheels with 235/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft bolts

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Passat Estate, allowing customers to customise further their vehicles.  These include an electric tilt/slide sunroof; a wide variety of alloy wheels; sports suspension; leather upholstery; 12-way electric front seat adjustment with memory; rear electric sunblind; and tyre pressure monitoring system.

2Zone air conditioning system

As well as the standard Climatic system, Volkswagen offers a 2Zone electronic climate control system (standard on R36).  This two-zone device allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Keyless entry

Passat Estate models now feature a keyless entry, start and exit system as an option.  When any door handle is touched, a signal is transmitted from an aerial integrated in the handle.  The system then searches for a valid ID transmitter, from which it detects access authorisation.  The antenna relays the code sent by the transmitter to the relevant control unit in the Passat.  If the code is recognised, the system unlocks the doors, deactivates the immobiliser and the anti-theft alarm system, and allows the vehicle to be started at the push of a button. 

Other antennae check whether the ID transmitter is in the car.  For example, to protect children, the Passat cannot be started if the ID transmitter is too far away from the vehicle.  It is not possible, for example, to put the transmitter on the roof, get in the car and drive off.

If no door is opened within 30 seconds, the doors lock again as with a conventional system operated by remote control.  From inside the vehicle, it is unlocked by pressing a button in the door handle.  The Passat Estate can also be unlocked and locked by remote control. 

Bluetooth telephone system

The Passat Estate comes with the choice of two telephone preparation systems, one of which is Bluetooth compatible.  With the bluetooth option, the driver’s mobile phone is integrated with the vehicle’s systems without it being removed from a pocket or handbag, for example. 

The normal functions of an individual, compatible mobile phone may be operated from the car’s controls, even accessing data from the phones SIM card.  The telephone is controlled using a separate keyboard, the optional multifunction steering wheel or by voice command.  Volkswagen also provides an optional facility for connecting the phone to the in-car network in a compartment in the central console where it will also be recharged. 

Dynaudio sound system

A 600 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality, especially compared with other systems in the Passat’s market sector.  The 10-speaker, six-amplifier system delivering up to a 600 watts without generating unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class.  A Volkswagen sound system with an output of 250 watts is also available. 

ADC – Automatic Distance Control

Available on all models is ADC, essentially a radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system.  In basic terms, it uses radars in the front bumper to monitor the distance to other vehicles in traffic ahead of the Passat Estate.  If the car gets too close to the vehicle in front (ie less than the minimum stopping distance), ADC warns the driver in two stages.  First there is a visual signal on the dashboard along with an audible warning.  Second, there is a brief braking pulse to increase the distance between the two vehicles.  At the same time, the Passat Estate is prepared for possible hard braking by the driver – should the traffic ahead have slowed considerably for example.  In extreme cases, ADC can slow the car to a complete standstill.

Gas discharge bi-Xenon headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are fitted as standard on the Passat Estate R36 and are offered as an option on all remaining Passat models.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with directional headlights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash.  If gas discharge headlights are specified, fog lights are deleted.

Cargo management system

The Passat Estate features a specially designed optional load restraint system.  The arrangement comprises two longitudinal tracks located in the load space floor.  Vertical telescoped pillars may be locked into these tracks in any position.  Two such pillars carry a horizontal strap that can span the load space and be adjusted in height so that it makes an appropriate restraint for the load in question.  In addition, four load lashing eyes come with the system and may be locked into the two rails at any point.

DVD touchscreen navigation/radio system

Volkswagen’s latest touchscreen DVD navigation and entertainment system is offered with the Passat.  Designated the RNS 510 the installation uses the standard touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  

With the RNS 510, as well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  This can be particularly useful in off-road situations and regions for which digital mapping does not exist.  For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth. 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The addition of highly effective passive safety elements using intelligent, active safety components such as ESP, makes the latest model the safest Passat Estate to date.  The basis for optimum passive safety is the highest possible bodywork rigidity, an area where the Passat Estate sets new standards in its class. 

The car’s restraint systems also improve safety levels, as it is equipped as standard with dual-stage front airbags, active front seat head restraints, in addition to front seat side airbags and curtain airbags (for the front and rear).  A rear seat side airbag system is a low-cost optional extra.  Naturally, the Passat Estate conforms to all worldwide crash test standards.

Head-on collision

In the event of a head-on collision, passengers are protected by the high-tensile steel bodywork structure and restraint systems, with the passenger cell greatly improving survival chances.  During offset crash tests, the passenger cell suffered only low-level intrusions, while distortions in the footwells were particularly low.  Furthermore, in the case of serious head-on accidents, the crash-optimised pedal control system reduces the risk of injury to the driver’s feet and legs with the aid of an automatic pedal retraction mechanism. 

Side-on collision

This form of collision is considered the most dangerous, even if the impact speed is very low, as lateral crumple zones are smaller than those at the front and rear of a car’s structure.  This is one of the reasons why the B-pillar is the most important structural component.  Those on the Passat Estate are produced from high-tensile sheet metals, and divert a large amount of the force transmitted by a collision into the runners and roof frame.  Both these elements are also manufactured from
high-tensile metal, in this case shape-hardened steels.  The seating crossbeams and roof frame reinforce the passenger cell on the opposite side of the vehicle, resulting in increased rigidity.  The doors, strengthened by diagonal impact bars, are also designed to absorb crash energy, thus reducing risk of injury.

Rear collision

In order to ensure best possible crash performance at the rear, protecting the fuel system was a top priority.  The creation of a new position for the filler neck in front of the rear axle was an important development. 

Pedestrian protection

The Passat Estate’s consideration for pedestrian protection includes numerous design features at the front of the vehicle.  Structural parts at the front of the car are located to assist pedestrian protection.  An additional protective crossbeam and deformation insulating foam in the bumper region further help in reducing the risk of injury to pedestrians. 

Knee impact area

The new press and drive starting and locking system enables the electronic steering lock to be positioned independently from the ignition lock.  The latter no longer has to be located in the knee impact area making the use of a so-called knee airbag totally redundant.  The steering column was also redesigned.

Dual-stage front airbags

The front airbags now have dual-stage activation, which means that they react with a different degree of intensity depending on the severity of the collision.  Additionally the passenger airbag can be switched off to allow a child seat
to be fitted safely in the front passenger seat.

Belt-up request

As with all new Volkswagen models, the Passat Estate is fitted with a control system, which requests driver and passengers to fasten their seatbelts both acoustically and with the aid of warning lights.  The ‘seatbelt reminder system’ is activated from speeds exceeding 10 km/h (approximately 6 mph). 

Active head restraints

Driver and passenger seats are also fitted with active head restraints, which move towards the head in the event of a rear collision, thus reducing the risk of whiplash.  Additionally, seatbelt pre-tensioners in the front ensure that they are in the best possible position immediately after impact but before the occupants begin to move forwards.

Euro NCAP test results

The Passat Estate is not rated as a standalone model by Euro NCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme).  However the Passat saloon scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the tests.  It scored two stars for pedestrian protection and four for child occupant protection.

Line-up with insurance groups

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Passat Estate has secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                   8

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                 13

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS             9

R Line –TBC 20 July

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS          

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS          

Highline

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                 13

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS           10

2.0-litre TDI CR 170 PS           13

BlueMotion

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

R36

3.6-litre FSI V6 300 PS            18

WARRANTIES

The Passat Estate has a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a class-leading 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance for UK and European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

First seen by the public at the Frankfurt Show 2005, and launched in the UK in November 2005, the sixth generation, Passat Estate raised standards in its sector once again.

Since its introduction in 1973, the Passat has established a reputation for quality in the medium car market, a lead that successive Passat models have maintained and a challenge that the new model has been developed to meet.

The new Passat Estate is larger in almost every dimension compared with the previous model.  Its appearance is typically Volkswagen – and instantly recognisable as a Passat – but it is designed to rival the appearance of more expensive cars.

Elements of the flagship Phaeton have been incorporated into the new car, such as the distinctive circular LED tail lights and bolder grille.  Inside too, the Passat Estate has a fresher, more dynamic style, with curves and contrasts that combine to form an exclusive ambience.  Again, Volkswagen’s luxury cars, the Phaeton and Touareg, provided inspiration for the designers in this important area.

But the Passat Estate is not just about appearance.  As expected of Volkswagen, the new car is technologically advanced, not least in the considerably stiffer construction of its bodyshell.  Static torsional rigidity has been increased over its already very good predecessor, making it a class leader.  The benefits of this to the customer are improved levels of safety, refinement, handling, ride and build quality. 

The Passat Estate also appeals to enthusiastic drivers, through responsive handling.  New four-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical power steering have been developed to provide appealing driving characteristics on twisty roads, and yet the important area of ride quality has also been improved due to suspension damping development and the stiffer body structure.

Standard fitment of an electronic parking brake is a class first.  It has previously only been featured on cars in the next class up.

Other technological highlights include the availability of Volkswagen’s revolutionary DSG (twin clutch) transmission; a range of six sophisticated direct-injection petrol and diesel engines that meet Euro 5 legislation; optional Bluetooth telephone unit; and the availability of a ten-channel 600 watt sound system developed in conjunction with Danish hi-fi specialists, Dynaudio.

The range gained a performance flagship in the form of the Passat Estate R36 in May 2008.  Equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 300 PS engine and 4MOTION four-wheel drive, the R36 is the most powerful Passat Estate yet produced.

Summary

  • Sixth generation of Volkswagen’s mid-sized family estate
  • Longer (+ 92 mm), wider (+ 74 mm) and taller (+ 19 mm) than previous model
  • Exterior dimensions are 4.77 m length, 1.82 mm width, 1.52 m height, with a 2.71 m wheelbase
  • Luggage space (seats up, measured to window line) increased by 18 litres to 513 litres; maximum cargo space (seats folded, measured to roof) is up 41 litres to 1641 litres
  • 60/40 split rear seat folds flat, offering maximum load length of 1.96 metres
  • Like saloon, features new multi-link rear suspension for class-leading driving dynamics and comfort, plus greater payload
  • Chassis is significantly stiffer than before, for class-leading rigidity and refinement
  • Standard safety equipment includes ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme); driver, front passenger, front side and curtain airbags; fast-response rear LED lights; active front headrests; and Isofix child seat mountings
  • Technical highlights available through the range include electronic parking brake operating on all four wheels (auto hold function standard with automatic gearboxes; optional on manuals); Bluetooth telephone unit; class-leading 600 watt hi-fi system developed with Dynaudio; plus 2Zone Climatronic system
  • Optional rails integrated into boot floor enable more flexible securing of loads
  • Six engines available: 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS; 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS; 3.6-litre V6 FSI 300 PS petrol; plus 2.0-litre TDI CR 110, 140 and 170 PS diesels
  • A BlueMotion model is also offered with a 2.0-litre TDI 110 PS engine with a number of modifications to increase efficiency and reduce emissions 
  • DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) offered on some TDI and 1.8-litre TSI models and standard on the R36
 

Market information

The Passat Estate is a competitor to the Ford Mondeo, Volvo V70, Peugeot 407, and also the BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.  Volkswagen UK sold 30,625 Passats in 2008 – 16,025 saloons and 13,070 estates.  The Passat Estate is sold mainly with TDI engines.  Volkswagen has established a strong reputation among business and private buyers for the performance, durability and economy of its TDI diesel engines. 

Production

The Passat Estate is produced at the Emden plant in Northern Germany alongside the Passat saloon and Passat CC.  Employing around 7,900 staff, the car production site at Emden measures 4.1 million square metres, 1.6 million sq m of which is occupied by buildings.  The plant location is convenient, being in the immediate vicinity of the Emden port from which Passat models are delivered across the world.  Around one million new vehicles are imported and exported annually through Emden, with almost daily crossings to the UK.  The plant itself is among the most advanced and sustainable in the world, with, for example, on-site wind generators which produce 4.5 megawatts of electrical power.  The site also has its own test track. 

The Emden factory was built in 1964, specialising in the production of the original Beetle, primarily for the North American market.  A total of 2,360,591 cars were produced in Emden until the model was discontinued in 1978.  The Passat has been built in Emden since 1977 and in November 2007, the 15 millionth Passat rolled off the production line. 

DESIGN

The exterior

The Passat Estate’s chrome radiator grille, with V-shape flowing up through the bonnet, combined with headlights, bonnet and bumpers, looks distinctive and stylish.  The dimensions of the latest generation Passat Estate illustrate the radical design changes between the current model and its predecessor:                   

  New Passat Estate Old Passat Estate
Difference
length, mm 4770 4678 + 92
width, w/out door mirrors, mm 1820 1746 + 74
height, mm 1520 1501 + 19
wheelbase, mm 2710 2703 + 7
luggage capacity with rear seats up 513 495 + 18 litres

The Passat Estate also has an increased payload of up to 638 kg, which is 43 kg more than the previous model.

The interior

The logically designed Passat Estate facia has several new features.  A new transmitter used to activate the central locking system has replaced the traditional ignition lock.  The press and drive key is pushed into a slot near the steering wheel, far above the knee, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury during a collision.  No conventional key is required. 

A button located to the right of the main headlight switch operates the new electronic parking brake, which acts on all four wheels.  This button replaces the handbrake lever.

The ergonomically designed seats are height adjustable for the driver (and passenger from R Line trim upwards), with an increase to the range of both length and height settings in comparison to the previous generation Passat.  The front seat inclination is simultaneously adjusted in the new model as height adjustments are made.  A new rail mechanism allows more subtle adjustments of the front seating length.  A six-way electronically adjustable driver’s seat is available from Highline trim upwards.  In this case, the driver’s seat is equipped with an electrically adjustable lumbar support.

Great attention has also been paid to the comfort of rear seat passengers, where there are three contoured seats with ample head and leg space plus good side bolstering.  The rear seat-back is split 60:40.  The back-rest locking system is another new addition.  The robust clasps are provided with a red indicator that displays their status and are visible from the front seats, as seen in the Golf. 

The Passat Estate has a host of practical storage spaces.  The glovebox is large enough to house A4 documents, while the air conditioning on all models extends to this storage compartment, meaning that drinks and chocolate bars can be kept cool.  The optional CD autochanger – and navigation system, if specified – is stored in a hidden drop-down tray above the glovebox, and is accessed via a new cable-controlled mechanism, providing easy retrieval.  Where it is not specified, the owner’s handbook is instead stored in this area.  This simple yet effective solution liberates more space elsewhere in the car. 

Other storage areas include a smaller glovebox on the driver’s side, a practical roof storage console, and front door compartments that can accommodate large drink bottles, but still leave enough room for an atlas.  Two small drawers are accessible on either side of the hazard warning switch. 

As the electronic parking brake excludes the need for a handbrake lever, the space between the seats can be used for a larger armrest (not on S) with an air-conditioned storage compartment (with four-litre cubic capacity) concealed underneath.  A mobile phone may also be stowed and charged in a compartment directly below the armrest if the requisite mounting is installed.  There is also space for an umbrella, inside the driver’s door.

The Passat Estate’s load space is exceptionally large, with a capacity of 513 cubic litres – 18 litres more than its predecessor.  To ensure easy loading, the hatchback lifts up to a height of 2.06 m.  The interior cabin affords headroom to the roof lining of 83 cm; the width between the wheel wells on either side measures one metre.  The area of greatest width in the cargo area is 1.3 m, with a minimum length of 1.13 m.  When the rear seat is folded down, the luggage area of the Passat Estate features a loading length of 1.96 m.

Four chrome-plated load lashing points enable easy and safe luggage storage.  A twin bag hook is fitted as standard, while a luggage partition net is available – a device which can either be completely stretched over the floor of the boot or, as in the Sharan, used as a vertical net bag.  The specially designed semi-circular boot hinges, built into the exterior of the boot rim, rise smoothly to open the lid completely at the touch of an interior button.  The boot-lid lining houses the optional hazard warning triangle, so that it can be quickly accessed even when the cargo area is fully laden. 

The starting and locking system with radio remote control has been completely redeveloped.  There is no longer an ignition key in the conventional sense.  Most
of the transmitter components for unlocking and locking the central locking system have been moved into a slot retainer to the right of the steering wheel.  The engine is then started by simply pressing the transmitter into the slot.  If the Passat Estate is equipped with the optional keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a separate button.

Lights

The Passat Estate’s headlights have been further improved, particularly the main beam, while the bi-Xenon units that are standard on the R36 and offered as on option on the rest of the range also provide better long-distance visibility than before.  The directional headlights, included with bi-Xenon lights, turn with the steering to a maximum swivelling angle of 15 degrees, providing better visibility around bends.  When the vehicle is static, these are able to turn to 35 degrees
in relation to the car’s axis, useful, for example when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces.

For the first time in the Passat Estate, the indicators in the door mirrors and the components of the twin round tail lights now use fast-response LED technology, introduced in the Phaeton.  The central high-mounted stop light also uses LED technology and is situated beneath the rear window.  LEDs react much more quickly than conventional light bulbs, are more durable and consume less energy. 

As on the Phaeton, LED lighting technology is used for tail, indicator and brake lights.  This system has the advantage of high efficiency in converting electrical energy into light, rapid response, high reliability and long life.  Conventional bulbs are used for the less frequently used high-intensity rear and reversing lamps.

The Passat Estate also features automatic hazard warning lights, which activate under severe braking.  This is defined by deceleration of more than 0.7 g at speeds of 60 km/h or above using the brake pedal, or if ABS control is activated for more than two seconds.

ENGINES

There are six direct-injection engines in the Passat Estate ranging from 110 PS to 300 PS, with a choice of three petrol and three diesel units.  All the Passat’s petrol engines conform to the Euro 4 emissions standard, while all of the diesel powerplants meet Euro 5 standards, and all are installed transversely.

The petrol line-up comprises: a 1.4-litre 122 PS TSI; a 1.8-litre 160 PS; and a 3.6-litre FSI V6 with 300 PS which powers the R36.  The three 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines use common rail technology and are available with 110, 140 or 170 PS.

Petrol engines

TSI technology

The TSI name represents all of Volkswagen’s pioneering forced-induction petrol engines which are available in the Passat Estate.  These engines produce high levels of power with low emissions from a relatively small capacity.

1.4-litre 1390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS

This unit replaced the Passat’s 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS unit.  Power is up to 122 PS while torque is also increased by nearly 30 per cent to 147 lbs ft (200 Nm) at just 1,500 rpm. 

Zero to 62 mph takes 10.8 seconds and top speed is 124 mph.  The new engine also brings fuel saving benefits: the combined consumption for this unit is 42.2 mpg with carbon dioxide emissions of 159 g/km.

This engine is available with a standard six-speed manual gearbox.

1.8-litre 1798 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 160 PS

This engine was introduced to the Volkswagen range in December 2007, and endows the Passat with lively performance and refinement thanks in part to maximum torque of 185 lbs ft (250 Nm) from just 1,500 rpm and maximum power of 160 PS. 

The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes 8.8 seconds (8.7 DSG) and top speed for this Passat Estate is 135 mph (134 DSG).

This engine has a combined fuel economy figure of 37.2 mpg (37.7 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 186 g/km (178 DSG).  It is available with a standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

3.6-litre 3597 cc V6 FSI, 24-valve 6-cyl, 300 PS

The 3.6-litre engine represents the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Passat.  The engine is linked to a six-speed DSG gearbox and has 4MOTION four-wheel drive as standard. 

It produces 300 PS and 244 lbs ft (330 Nm) of torque at 3,000 rpm making it flexible and the performance easy to exploit.  This engine returns 26.9 mpg on the combined cycle and produces 249 g/km of CO2.  Zero to 62 mph takes just 5.8 seconds and this Passat’s top speed is limited to 155 mph.

Diesel engines

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 110 PS

The 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS engine replaces the legendary 1.9-litre ‘Pumpe Düse’ TDI unit and provides the entry point to the Passat Estate TDI range.  With 110 PS at 4,200 rpm and 185 lbs ft (250 Nm) of torque from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm, this powerplant is a great all-rounder – especially as it has surprisingly low fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures for a vehicle of this size (50.4 mpg and 146 g/km).  Zero to 62 mph takes 11.9 seconds and top speed is 118 mph.  This powerplant is available with a standard five-speed manual gearbox only. 

This engine is also used in the Passat Estate BlueMotion 2, denoting the most economical car in the range.

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

The original and popular 2.0-litre TDI unit was replaced at the start of 2008 with a common rail diesel engine, with the same capacity and power output.  Piezo injectors mean maximum efficiency in the combustion process, while a standard DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) guarantees this engine meets Euro 5 emissions legislation. 

Maximum power output is 140 PS, while maximum torque of 236 lbs ft (320 Nm) is delivered at 1,750 rpm.  Available with a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox, this Passat Estate goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 128 mph (126 DSG).

This engine has a combined economy figure of 49.6 mpg (46.3 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 148 g/km (159 DSG). 

2.0-litre 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The most powerful diesel engine in the Passat Estate range has a maximum power output of 170 PS and maximum torque of 258 lbs ft (350 Nm) from 1,750 rpm.  Combined economy is 49.6 mpg for the standard six-speed manual gearbox (45.6 DSG) with CO2 emissions of 149 g/km (163 DSG).

Performance-wise, this car delivers the 0 to 62 mph dash in 8.8 seconds and has a top speed of 137 mph (135 DSG).

Gearboxes

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox

The Direct Shift Gearbox is a true innovation, combining the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG has two wet clutches (offering a higher thermal load tolerance than dry clutches) with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this new clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.

In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection.  The 2.0-litre TDI engines with 140 and 170 PS and the 3.6-litre V6 petrol units are available with this DSG gearbox.

Seven-speed DSG

New in 2009 and available with the 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS engine only is a seven-speed DSG ’box.  This, another world-first for Volkswagen, uses a pair of dry clutches (as opposed to the wet ones in the six-speed version) to improve fuel efficiency and performance.  The pair of dry, organic bonded friction linings do not require cooling, making the drivetrain more efficient through the extra gear ratio and the fact that less power is required for the gear selection and clutch servo system.  Measuring only 369 mm in length and weighing only 79 kg including the dual-mass flywheel the gearbox is remarkably compact. 

In adopting seven-speeds, Volkswagen engineers were able to lower first gear to improve acceleration from a standstill.  By contrast seventh gear has been raised to act as an overdrive function making it ideal for motorway driving with the additional effect of raising economy and comfort levels.

The volume of oil contained within the gearbox has also been reduced by 75 per cent.  The oil circuits are split into two in an effort to protect the lubrication’s purity.  As with a conventional manual gearbox, one of the circuits is used for cooling and lubrication of the gear teeth, the second feeds oil to the gear actuators.  Since the clutch does not require cooling the quantity of oil was reduced from seven litres in the six-speed DSG gearbox to only 1.7-litres in the new seven-speed system.

Servicing

Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Passat Estate.  They can choose between Time and Distance and LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 18,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due. 

RUNNING GEAR

The Passat Estate benefits from a four-link rear suspension system.  The four-arm rear axle is acoustically isolated from the bodywork by a subframe and strut-type front suspension uses light alloy components.  Electro-mechanical power-assisted steering provides agility, comfort and safety of the highest standard. 

Front axle

The front axle of the Passat Estate uses strut-type suspension, with low-mounted wishbones and control arms.  This axle is extremely light, offering numerous advantages.  An example of innovative lightweight construction can be found in the rigid, crash-optimised subframe, where weight has been reduced by 4.5 kg compared with conventional steel construction.  Another lightweight part is the forged aluminium wishbone.  The weight saving over pressed steel is 4.2 kg.

The methods of lightweight construction are of the greatest value when it comes to unsprung mass, hence both the wishbones and pivot bearings are made of aluminium.  The weight advantage here adds up to 3.2 kg.  The weight of the anti-roll bar has been reduced by 1.4 kg due to special lightweight construction.  Taken all together, the lightweight construction techniques used in the area of the front axle result in a weight advantage of 13.3 kg.  And that means greater comfort, better dynamics, and lower fuel consumption.                    

Multi-link rear suspension
The Passat Estate has a compact, independent rear suspension system that brings improvements to both ride quality and handling.  An upper and lower transverse arm and a longitudinal link on each side control wheel location.  This arrangement provides separate control of the longitudinal and lateral movement of wheel location.  For occupants the benefits are a more comfortable ride and less body roll in corners.  The driver will notice better handling with safe, controllable and involving dynamic behaviour.  A lightweight, tubular anti-roll bar is used at the rear.

A principal feature that adds to refinement in the Passat Estate is a rear subframe that isolates the rear suspension from the body.  The subframe is also very light, due to the use of high-tensile steel.   

4MOTION four-wheel drive

This latest generation all-wheel drive Passat Estate continues a tradition which started with the Estate GT syncro in 1984.  The R36 model has standard 4MOTION; this system uses a Haldex rear differential system as opposed to the previous generation Passat which used a centre differential.

In normal conditions, 4MOTION distributes 90 per cent of torque to the front wheels and 10 per cent to the rear.  In extreme cases, 100 per cent of available torque can be transmitted to the rear axle.

The 4MOTION system brings particular benefits when towing or driving on challenging terrain.  The towing capability for the 3.2-litre V6 4MOTION Passat is 2,200 kg (braked trailer 12 per cent incline).

Electro-mechanical power steering

An electro-mechanical power steering system is employed in the Passat Estate.  Unlike previous electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.  Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy, as it dispenses with the usual engine driven pump.

Braking system

The Passat Estate features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.

All Passat models have an integrated ‘brake disc wiper’ as standard, where the linings are gently applied at intervals of five minutes.  This wipes off any water film that may have built up on wet roads and therefore shortens the braking distance.  The driver is oblivious to this procedure.

Electronic parking brake

The Passat Estate was the first in its class to have a push-button operated electro-mechanical parking brake as standard.  New functions can be implemented because of the electronic control system and its ability to communicate with other control units.  These include a dynamic emergency braking function, dynamic driving assistant (for use on hills, for example) and an auto hold function (avoids frequent application of the brake pedal when, for example, crawling in traffic).

The electro-mechanical parking brake is operated using a button to the right of the rotary light switch.  Pressing a foot-pedal or pulling a handbrake lever has now been replaced by a simple push of a button.  A light in the button and on the dashboard indicates that the brake is applied.  A separate control unit is needed to actuate and monitor the electro-mechanical parking brake.  This is linked with the ESP control unit and is therefore a part of the Controller Area Network (CAN).  This is important, because it means that all the convenience and safety functions of the electro-mechanical parking brake can be perfectly controlled, offering noticeable advantages over a conventional handbrake. 

Dynamic emergency brake function

The law requires that a car must be capable of being stopped by the parking brake in the extremely unlikely event of main brake system failure.  In a worse case scenario, the electro-mechanical parking brake can do this much more efficiently than a normal handbrake lever, since braking is carried out on all four wheels by means of active brake pressure build-up.  Dynamic emergency braking is initiated by pressing and holding the parking brake button.  The ABS and ESP functions are also integrated.  Emergency braking stops as soon as the button is released.

Dynamic starting assistant (DAA) of the electronic parking brake

The dynamic starting function provides jolt-free starting in almost any situation, so a Passat Estate that is parked on a slope does not roll back when it starts off.  The DAA function becomes active as soon as the propulsion torque (when moving off) of the Passat Estate is greater than the reversing torque (rolling back).  In other words, the parking brake releases smoothly and automatically when the driver moves off with manual as well as automatic transmission.

Auto hold function

Another major convenience feature is the optional auto hold function (standard on automatic and DSG models).  This is activated by a button next to the gear lever, and is helpful to hold the car stationary for short periods (such as in heavy town traffic).  The parking brake now comes on automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake preventing the car from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  This function really comes into its own when crawling along in heavy traffic, particularly on gradients.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way,
it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one
has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

Brake Assist System – BAS

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of BAS recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, BAS automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Press and drive key system

The Passat Estate’s starting and locking system with radio remote control no longer uses an ignition key in the traditional sense.  Most of the transmitter components for activating and deactivating the central locking system have been moved into a special ‘key holder’ to the right of the steering wheel – the electronic ignition lock.  The engine is started by pressing the electronic key.  If the Passat Estate is equipped with the optional new keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a separate button.

The Passat Estate is started as follows:

1.  Slide the press and drive key into the dashboard slot.  A clearly audible latching noise indicates that the ‘key’ has been inserted.

2.  With manual transmission, press clutch, and with automatic transmission (Tiptronic or DSG) press the brake.

3.  Push the press and drive key in all the way.  Engine starts.

4.  Press the press and drive key again to stop the engine.

Run-flat tyres and pressure sensor

The self-supporting optional 16-inch tyres have reinforced side walls and allow the vehicle to be driven safely, even if the inflation pressure is low or zero.  Since this loss of pressure is hardly noticeable because of the emergency running characteristics of the tyre, an optional tyre pressure monitoring system (standard on V6 4MOTION) indicates the loss of pressure via a warning light in the instrument binnacle.

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

In May 2009, the Passat Estate line-up was revised to include just three standard trim levels: S, R Line and Highline.  At the top of the range is the R36 while the BlueMotion’s specification is based on that of the entry-level S.

S 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS

S 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

S 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS
S 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

All the above models feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with BAS (Brake Assist System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • driver and front passenger airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers
  • driver and front passenger’s active head restraints
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • automatic hazard lights activation under severe braking
  • press and drive key system, including electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection
  • remote control central locking
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning system
  • electronic parking brake
  • multifunction computer
  • front electric windows
  • electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • radio/CD player with four speakers
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • 7J x 16 ‘Milwaukee’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts, plus full-size steel spare wheel

R Line 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS   

R Line 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

R Line 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS
R Line 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

In addition to all the features from the S model, R Line adds:

  • front electric windows
  • body coloured bumpers and side strips
  • matt chrome trimmed radiator grille surround and double louvres
  • leather trimmed steering wheel and gearknob
  • cruise control
  • driver’s and front seat passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • front centre armrest
  • multifunction computer
  • multifunction steering wheel
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Monte Carlo’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts

Highline 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS

Highline 2.0-litre TDI CR 170 PS

Among a number of additional features, the Highline adds the following equipment:

  • chrome plated side and rear bump strips and ‘chrome satin’ side window surrounds
  • front comfort seats
  • ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery
  • carpet mats, front and rear
  • six-way electric adjustment for driver’s seat including lumbar support
  • load through provision
  • heated front seats
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Macau’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft bolts

R36 3.6-litre V6 FSI 300 PS 4MOTION

The range-topping R36 features a unique specification with the following equipment highlights all standard:

  • 2Zone electronic climate control with automatic air recirculation
  • electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with memory function and integrated indicators
  • gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights with dynamic curve lighting, static cornering lights and headlight washers
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror; dusk sensor, automatic driving lights; rain sensor
  • rear lights incorporating LED technology; white turn signal lights integrated into front bumper
  • driver’s seat with electric 12-way adjustment including lumbar support memory; front passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • heated outer rear seats; split folding rear seats (60:40)
  • Isofix child seat preparation
  • parking sensors, front and rear
  • 4MOTION four-wheel drive
  • sports suspension, lowered by approx. 20mm
  • blue brake callipers
  • exterior ‘R’ design package – body-coloured roof spoiler, restyled front and rear bumpers, wheel arch extensions, R36 logo on restyled radiator grille and louvres, large chrome exhausts and restyled front air intakes
  • ‘R36’ cloth upholstery
  • interior ‘R’ design package – brushed aluminium decorative inserts, R36 logo on seat backrests and stainless steel door sill protectors, aluminium pedals with ‘R’ logo
  • leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift, and gear knob
  • 8J x 18 ‘Omanyt’ alloy wheels with 235/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft bolts

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Passat Estate, allowing customers to customise further their vehicles.  These include an electric tilt/slide sunroof; a wide variety of alloy wheels; sports suspension; leather upholstery; 12-way electric front seat adjustment with memory; rear electric sunblind; and tyre pressure monitoring system.

2Zone air conditioning system

As well as the standard Climatic system, Volkswagen offers a 2Zone electronic climate control system (standard on R36).  This two-zone device allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Keyless entry

Passat Estate models now feature a keyless entry, start and exit system as an option.  When any door handle is touched, a signal is transmitted from an aerial integrated in the handle.  The system then searches for a valid ID transmitter, from which it detects access authorisation.  The antenna relays the code sent by the transmitter to the relevant control unit in the Passat.  If the code is recognised, the system unlocks the doors, deactivates the immobiliser and the anti-theft alarm system, and allows the vehicle to be started at the push of a button. 

Other antennae check whether the ID transmitter is in the car.  For example, to protect children, the Passat cannot be started if the ID transmitter is too far away from the vehicle.  It is not possible, for example, to put the transmitter on the roof, get in the car and drive off.

If no door is opened within 30 seconds, the doors lock again as with a conventional system operated by remote control.  From inside the vehicle, it is unlocked by pressing a button in the door handle.  The Passat Estate can also be unlocked and locked by remote control. 

Bluetooth telephone system

The Passat Estate comes with the choice of two telephone preparation systems, one of which is Bluetooth compatible.  With the bluetooth option, the driver’s mobile phone is integrated with the vehicle’s systems without it being removed from a pocket or handbag, for example. 

The normal functions of an individual, compatible mobile phone may be operated from the car’s controls, even accessing data from the phones SIM card.  The telephone is controlled using a separate keyboard, the optional multifunction steering wheel or by voice command.  Volkswagen also provides an optional facility for connecting the phone to the in-car network in a compartment in the central console where it will also be recharged. 

Dynaudio sound system

A 600 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality, especially compared with other systems in the Passat’s market sector.  The 10-speaker, six-amplifier system delivering up to a 600 watts without generating unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class.  A Volkswagen sound system with an output of 250 watts is also available. 

ADC – Automatic Distance Control

Available on all models is ADC, essentially a radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system.  In basic terms, it uses radars in the front bumper to monitor the distance to other vehicles in traffic ahead of the Passat Estate.  If the car gets too close to the vehicle in front (ie less than the minimum stopping distance), ADC warns the driver in two stages.  First there is a visual signal on the dashboard along with an audible warning.  Second, there is a brief braking pulse to increase the distance between the two vehicles.  At the same time, the Passat Estate is prepared for possible hard braking by the driver – should the traffic ahead have slowed considerably for example.  In extreme cases, ADC can slow the car to a complete standstill.

Gas discharge bi-Xenon headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are fitted as standard on the Passat Estate R36 and are offered as an option on all remaining Passat models.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with directional headlights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash.  If gas discharge headlights are specified, fog lights are deleted.

Cargo management system

The Passat Estate features a specially designed optional load restraint system.  The arrangement comprises two longitudinal tracks located in the load space floor.  Vertical telescoped pillars may be locked into these tracks in any position.  Two such pillars carry a horizontal strap that can span the load space and be adjusted in height so that it makes an appropriate restraint for the load in question.  In addition, four load lashing eyes come with the system and may be locked into the two rails at any point.

DVD touchscreen navigation/radio system

Volkswagen’s latest touchscreen DVD navigation and entertainment system is offered with the Passat.  Designated the RNS 510 the installation uses the standard touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  

With the RNS 510, as well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  This can be particularly useful in off-road situations and regions for which digital mapping does not exist.  For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth. 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The addition of highly effective passive safety elements using intelligent, active safety components such as ESP, makes the latest model the safest Passat Estate to date.  The basis for optimum passive safety is the highest possible bodywork rigidity, an area where the Passat Estate sets new standards in its class. 

The car’s restraint systems also improve safety levels, as it is equipped as standard with dual-stage front airbags, active front seat head restraints, in addition to front seat side airbags and curtain airbags (for the front and rear).  A rear seat side airbag system is a low-cost optional extra.  Naturally, the Passat Estate conforms to all worldwide crash test standards.

Head-on collision

In the event of a head-on collision, passengers are protected by the high-tensile steel bodywork structure and restraint systems, with the passenger cell greatly improving survival chances.  During offset crash tests, the passenger cell suffered only low-level intrusions, while distortions in the footwells were particularly low.  Furthermore, in the case of serious head-on accidents, the crash-optimised pedal control system reduces the risk of injury to the driver’s feet and legs with the aid of an automatic pedal retraction mechanism. 

Side-on collision

This form of collision is considered the most dangerous, even if the impact speed is very low, as lateral crumple zones are smaller than those at the front and rear of a car’s structure.  This is one of the reasons why the B-pillar is the most important structural component.  Those on the Passat Estate are produced from high-tensile sheet metals, and divert a large amount of the force transmitted by a collision into the runners and roof frame.  Both these elements are also manufactured from
high-tensile metal, in this case shape-hardened steels.  The seating crossbeams and roof frame reinforce the passenger cell on the opposite side of the vehicle, resulting in increased rigidity.  The doors, strengthened by diagonal impact bars, are also designed to absorb crash energy, thus reducing risk of injury.

Rear collision

In order to ensure best possible crash performance at the rear, protecting the fuel system was a top priority.  The creation of a new position for the filler neck in front of the rear axle was an important development. 

Pedestrian protection

The Passat Estate’s consideration for pedestrian protection includes numerous design features at the front of the vehicle.  Structural parts at the front of the car are located to assist pedestrian protection.  An additional protective crossbeam and deformation insulating foam in the bumper region further help in reducing the risk of injury to pedestrians. 

Knee impact area

The new press and drive starting and locking system enables the electronic steering lock to be positioned independently from the ignition lock.  The latter no longer has to be located in the knee impact area making the use of a so-called knee airbag totally redundant.  The steering column was also redesigned.

Dual-stage front airbags

The front airbags now have dual-stage activation, which means that they react with a different degree of intensity depending on the severity of the collision.  Additionally the passenger airbag can be switched off to allow a child seat
to be fitted safely in the front passenger seat.

Belt-up request

As with all new Volkswagen models, the Passat Estate is fitted with a control system, which requests driver and passengers to fasten their seatbelts both acoustically and with the aid of warning lights.  The ‘seatbelt reminder system’ is activated from speeds exceeding 10 km/h (approximately 6 mph). 

Active head restraints

Driver and passenger seats are also fitted with active head restraints, which move towards the head in the event of a rear collision, thus reducing the risk of whiplash.  Additionally, seatbelt pre-tensioners in the front ensure that they are in the best possible position immediately after impact but before the occupants begin to move forwards.

Euro NCAP test results

The Passat Estate is not rated as a standalone model by Euro NCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme).  However the Passat saloon scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the tests.  It scored two stars for pedestrian protection and four for child occupant protection.

Line-up with insurance groups

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Passat Estate has secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                   8

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                 13

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS             9

R Line –TBC 20 July

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS          

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS          

Highline

1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                 13

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

2.0-litre TDI CR 140 PS           10

2.0-litre TDI CR 170 PS           13

BlueMotion

2.0-litre TDI CR 110 PS             8

R36

3.6-litre FSI V6 300 PS            18

WARRANTIES

The Passat Estate has a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a class-leading 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance for UK and European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

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