The only body panel unchanged from the previous-generation Volkswagen Passat is the roof. Despite very similar proportions and dimensions (the new car is just 4mm longer and unaltered in width and height), every other panel is new.

The styling is designed to reference other VW models and, specifically, the latest VW Phaeton. This is particularly evident with the new wraparound rear lights of the saloon. At the front, the bonnet’s more pronounced crease lines are designed to make the Passat appear wider and lower.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The rear window on the estate is deep enough to afford good rear visibility

To improve refinement, the Passat’s windscreen features an acoustic film sandwiched between layers of glass. It consists of five layers and has a total thickness of 4.46mm.

A new headlight design features optional bi-xenon bulbs (with static and dynamic cornering function) and LED daytime running lights. Each daytime running light consists of 15 LEDs.

All Passats have chrome louvres on the grille, but SE models and above also get chrome trim on the front splitter and window surrounds. In line with its crisper styling, the Passat’s door mirrors look slim, a feeling reinforced when you look into them. The viewing area seems small by most standards.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

The load lip of both the saloon and estate is low and level. A new feature added for the seventh generation of Passat is an automatic boot-opening function. Curiously, though, this is available on the saloon only, and not on the estate.

The rear window on the estate is deep enough to afford good rear visibility, but the rear wiper has a fairly limited sweep and leaves almost half of the rear screen untouched.

The BlueMotion badge is no longer reserved for a single model; it’s applied to any variant that uses BlueMotion technology (stop-start and low-resistance tyres). That means all diesel variants and the 1.4 TSI.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week