Volkswagen ready new estate-only Passat

WE’RE big fans of estate cars here at Drive Towers, and while the humble long-roof appeared to have been on the brink of extinction over the past few years due to the dominance of SUVs, Volkswagen have given us something to be cheerful about with their imminent new Passat Variant.

No, that’s not some sort of high-falutin’ estate-shaped concept car: ‘Variant’ is simply how VW refers to the estate version of its long-running, big-selling, mid-size family saloon – which, in fact, is no longer available as a saloon as it marks its 50th anniversary.

Yes, if you want to buy a new Passat, the estate version is now your only option: US production of the booted Passat ended last year and now VW’s European factories are following suit by only cranking out estate models.

Of course, you could always just buy a de-badged Arteon and tell people it’s a Passat – they are unlikely to argue.

The new Passat Variant will be available to order from next month, with first deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2024. Like the new Skoda Superb, the ninth-generation Passat is based on Volkswagen’s new MQB evo platform and will include a plug-in hybrid version offering pure-electric range of up to 62miles, faster than ever AC-charging and DC charging capability as standard.

Mild-hybrid and pure petrol and diesel engines will also be offered in a car which is much larger and longer than the outgoing Passat estate: 14cm longer, to be precise, which adds an extra 5cm of legroom for passengers, plus an increased rear cargo capacity of 690 litres (vs 640 litres for the old model) or 1920 litres with the rear seats folded down.

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Incoming: Volkswagen Arteon

“With the new Passat, we have placed great importance on high ride and travel comfort that customers will feel immediately,” enthuses Kai Grunitz, member of the Brand Board of Management responsible for the new Passat’s development.

“Among other things, this is ensured by the longer wheelbase and the new adaptive chassis control with two-valve shock absorbers.

“At the same time, our new display and operating concept is very intuitive. Climate-controlled massage seats illustrate our premium standard in the interior.”

Indeed, a new DCC Pro adaptive chassis control system and ergoActive seats are available as options, while a new and improved 12.9-inch infotainment display comes as standard equipment (upgradable to 15-inch) along with backlit touch slider-controlled climate/audio controls and the return of real buttons on the multifunction steering wheel rather than those annoyingly fiddly haptic switch thingys used elsewhere in the VW range.

There will also be a new head-up display available as an optional extra which will deliver vital vehicle and journey info right into your field of vision for drivers who prefer not to have to take their eyes off the road.

Pricing, trim levels and performance figures for the 2024 Passat have yet to be announced, but VW have just released shots of camouflaged prototypes being put through the final stages of driver testing.

It certainly looks like a capable, comfortable and fairly stylish load-lugger to us – up with this sort of thing.