New Volkswagen Passat GTE
One of the only electric saloon options on the market at the moment. The Passat GTE is the perfect car option for those thinking of turning their family to a greener future. With a sleek saloon body shape and acres of space inside it's everything you'd expect from an electric Passat.
Following on from the impactful design of the standard Passat, the GTE doesn't stray too far from its moulds. The black radiator grille and chrome louvers remain, but the GTE offers flashes of blue and the 'GTE' emblem adorns the front and rear. Now trademark Volkswagen C-shaped LED headlights rest in the front bumper and at the back too. The Passat GTE exterior is finished with 17" alloys.
Volkswagen 'ErgoComfort' seats are available in the Passat GTE range and the Passat also come with VW's Area View technology which enables the driver to see the entire area of the car aiding with traffic recognition. A generous boot allowance means that there's plenty of room in the back luggage without impacting on the ride comfort of passengers in the back seats. Thanks to the electric technology and strong build quality, minimal road noise penetrates the cab.
The Passat GTE benefits from two different driving modes. In electric mode the 9.9kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged from standard household 3 pin sockets and will charge from empty to full in around 4 hours. When charged the electric mode will complete 0-60mph in 13.2 seconds. Hybrid mode sees the turbocharged 1.4L TSI petrol engine team up with the electric power to create even more power.
Technology & Safety
Standard model Passat GTE's come with Volkswagen's Discover Navigation system and a 6.5" touchscreen complete with European mapping, speed limit display and DAB radio. To get more out of the on-board infotainment system the My Volkswagen App ensures that the screen mirrors a phone display through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and other MirrorLink enabled tech.
Trim levels available on the Volkswagen Passat GTE:
SE - Features include:
SEL - Features include:
R-Line - Features include:
What is it?
The Volkswagen Passat GTE is a plug-in hybrid version of the standard family saloon. It combines a small 1.4-litre petrol unit with a hybrid system to create a car with a claimed combined economy cycle of 157mpg.
It also sits at the top of the Passat range and resembles a GT line version but with the added hybrid status.
The Passat comes with lots of clever tech on board as standard, but there are also some extras that make this car even more impressive. For example, the Passat GTE can come with radar guided cruise control fitted, which is perfect in stop start traffic as it has the ability to work with the gearbox and braking to make driving even more effortless. Set the system up in seconds and go – it’s that easy.
It also had the ability to update on traffic issues without being connected to a phone. A red line appeared on the selected route, displayed on the screen. This determined that there was traffic ahead or that the route we had selected had problems or road closures.
What’s under the bonnet?
To understand how this car works, you have to think of it as having two engines. The first is a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol unit and the second is an electric motor. Together they give the car 215bhp and a 0-60mph time of 7.2 seconds, which when teamed with a six-speed automatic gearbox, feels rapid but not fast.
This is the only engine choice you can have, but is ideal as it offers a good balance of power and sportiness once you engage the GTE mode where the petrol and electric units work together to give you optimum performance.
The charging point isn’t where you’d expect it to be and is in fact hidden behind a secret compartment in the front grille. It’s very easy to plug in and get charging and within a few hours you have the optimum charge, which can last up to 30 miles on electric power alone.
What’s it like to drive?
On the road it feels super refined and has fantastic radar guided cruise control system that was especially helpful in stop start traffic.
To get the most out of the Passat GTE use it in hybrid mode. For lower speeds, it uses electricity until the petrol motor kicks in and to regenerate electricity, the friction from braking is used to recharge the battery. Clever stuff.
The handling is surprisingly agile for a large saloon, and you could easily forget it was a Passat you were driving and think you were in its smaller sibling – the Golf – especially on country roads where in GTE mode the steering firms up as does the suspension.
How does it look?
On the outside the only telltale sign that this isn’t a normal Passat are the two GTE badges on the front grille and boot lid, and blue lines that curve around the radiator. Apart from that it looks like a standard Passat, which is not ugly or boring either.
The LED headlights and wrap around LED daytime running lights give the car its more sporty face.
What’s it like inside?
The GTE has a fantastic interior. The seats are uber comfortable and everything feels solidly made. From the moment you set off it’s almost silent thanks to it starting in electric mode. But at motorway speeds it’s quiet, too, and you feel cocooned from the outside world with not even a whisper of another car being heard.
Space is also superb with a gigantic boot that can easily take lots of suitcases, bags of shopping, bags of souvenirs and a tennis set with oodles of room to spare. It also has a handy ski hatch should you be so inclined. Could also work with fishing rods.
The headroom is beyond ample as is legroom in the front. Jump in the back and there’s just as much space.
What’s the spec like?
Inside, the GTE comes with plenty of kit, including an excellent infotainment system that allows you to easily sift through DAB radio stations and also use the sat nav that keeps you up to date with the traffic conditions as you travel along.
You also get a full leather interior and panoramic glass sunroof. The higfhre up the range you go the more comfort you get, for a little extra you'll benefit from Volkswagen’s ‘ErgoComfort’ driver’s seat. This massages your back as you drive along with the electric lumbar support rolling up and down. On a big journey with the kids this is a necessity rather than luxury.
You also have an incredibly detailed amount of adjustability within the cabin, from the brightness of the interior lighting down to a choice of seven different tones for the parking sensors. It’s these tiny touches that make you realise that this car has been carefully designed.
The Passat GTE is a cracking car. Not only does it seem to blend electric and petrol power seamlessly, it’s based on a car that was already a thoroughly good family car. It offers all the practicality you want from a saloon, and then some too. A huge boot, tons of room inside the cabin and technology galore mixed with low emissions and a premium feel throughout the entire car.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Volkswagen Passat GTE Advance
Engine: 1.4 TSI plug-in Hybrid
Power (bhp): 215
Torque (Nm): 184
Max speed (mph): 140
0-60mph: 7.2 seconds
MPG (combined): 156.9
Emissions (g/km): 0