Volkswagen Passat GTE interior & comfort
Like all VW Passats, the GTE saloon boasts a classy and comfortable interior, and is generally well equipped
The Volkswagen Passat GTE is a comfortable car to drive, and tackles bumps and potholes very well – if not quite as smoothly as a Skoda Superb iV. The interior is classy, but a little plain and the materials could be better given the price of the GTE.
Volkswagen Passat GTE dashboard
The Passat’s dashboard is neat and tidy, but with few points of visual interest, it’s not exactly awe-inspiring. The central touchscreen is complemented by physical buttons and dials for control of the climate settings, which is good for ease of use.
There are buttons to select driving modes on the centre console by the gearshifter, although most of the car’s functions are controlled using the simple-to-operate touchscreen display.
One detail we noticed is that the analogue clock from the previous model has been replaced with a backlit Passat badge – some will find that a shame. The whole interior is just about acceptable for the price, but rivals such as the BMW 330e and Volvo S60 Recharge are much more luxurious.
Equipment, options & accessories
All Passat GTE models come with LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, leather seats and ambient interior lighting as standard. Move up to GTE Advance for 18-inch alloys, with LED matrix headlights, a 3D sat-nav map, a digital instrument cluster (called Active Info Display) and keyless entry.
It’s possible to get the Passat with adaptive suspension (Dynamic Chassis Control, DCC) for around £1,000. If you can afford it, this is a great option to choose as it means you can swap between softer suspension for around town and a stiffer set-up for twisty roads.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
The GTE comes with an eight-inch colour touchscreen display, and GTE Advance cars get a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster (and 3D sat-nav maps) as standard. The latter is called Active Info Display and is a great addition, giving the instruments a very modern look.
While the Volkswagen's infotainment set-up is a bit more fiddly to use than BMW’s iDrive system, it’s simple enough to find what you need, and the screen itself is nice and responsive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, so it’s easy to use your own apps on the screen. You also get real-time traffic updates via the built-in Discover Navigation system.
You can check and control the GTE’s charging and climate-control functions remotely, using a ‘We Connect Plus’ app that works in conjunction with the touchscreen system in the car. Together with the SIM card the Passat comes with (which means it’s always online), this is great news for technology fans.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe VW Passat GTE saloon is an excellent plug-in hybrid, but it's neither the most practical nor the best value choice on the market
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingImpressive official numbers will be tough to replicate in the real world, but the VW Passat GTE is reasonably competitive with rivals in most respects
- 3Running costsRunning a VW Passat GTE should be very cheap, especially if you're a company-car user
- 4Engines, drive & performanceThe VW Passat GTE is smooth and comfortable, but powerful plug-in hybrid drivetrain means it's also pretty fast, if not very involving
- 5Interior & comfort - currently readingLike all VW Passats, the GTE saloon boasts a classy and comfortable interior, and is generally well equipped
- 6Practicality & boot spaceAs the Passat is a four-door saloon, practicality isn't a speciality, and the GTE's hybrid battery pack doesn't help matters
- 7Reliability & safetyA strong safety score inspires confidence, but Volkswagen's traditional reputation for reliability has taken a bit of a knock in recent years