Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate engines, drive & performance
The Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate is no sports car, but it’s more than fast enough in both electric and hybrid modes
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Provided there’s enough charge in the battery, the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate will automatically start up in electric-only ‘E-mode’ and stay there unless you’re particularly aggressive with the throttle. When the battery runs out, the car will switch to Hybrid mode, using the engine and any electricity recovered by the regenerative braking system: unless you’re paying attention, you may miss the engine kicking into life, such is the smoothness of the transition.
Flicking into Hybrid mode manually with a decent amount of charge left in the battery will prompt the GTE to figure out the best mix of available petrol and electric power: typically the car will prioritise electric-only running up to around 40mph, with the engine springing back into action at higher speeds when it's at its most efficient.
Finally, there’s a GTE mode, which is equivalent to the ‘sport’ setting in other plug-in hybrid vehicles: it sharpens the throttle response for better acceleration, while playing synthetic engine sounds inside the cabin to add a little flair to the experience.
Elsewhere, the ride strikes the right balance between comfort and handling, making it a relaxing vehicle for passengers without sacrificing reward for the driver.
Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
On paper, the Passat GTE Estate looks very quick for its class, but in reality it’s more sedate than the numbers suggest. Both the GTE and GTE Advance will go from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds on their way to a top speed of 138mph. In electric-only ‘E-mode’, the car can operate at up to 87mph, which is more than enough to get by on motorways and dual-carriageways.
Total output from the 1.4-litre engine and electric motor is 215bhp, although the latter is capable of 113bhp on its own. It’s clear from behind the wheel that the GTE Estate isn’t quite as quick in E-mode as it is when both engine and motor are working together, but there’s still enough speed to merge from a motorway slip road with ease.
Despite the car’s estate dimensions, the Passat GTE is very pleasant to drive, with direct steering making it easy to sweep through tight corners. There’s little in the way of body lean, either, giving the Passat a composed feel on the road.
The ride is decent, too, with few speeds or road surfaces unsettling the car. This makes the Passat GTE Estate a comfortable car to live with, and only the odd pothole or bump in the asphalt will disturb life in the cabin.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe VW Passat GTE plug-in hybrid estate could be the ultimate electrified car for a one-vehicle household
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingWith a 13kWh battery, the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate offers up to 34 miles of zero-emissions range
- 3Running costsIf you can plug it in regularly, running costs for the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate could be extremely low
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingThe Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate is no sports car, but it’s more than fast enough in both electric and hybrid modes
- 5Interior & comfortThe Volkswagen Passat GTE estate is well equipped, with an interior that just about delivers for the price point
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe battery eats into the boot space in the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate, making it less practical than the non-hybrid models
- 7Reliability & safetyA suite of driver-assistance systems and a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating make the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate very safe car indeed