Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion – Review
By Liam Bird
Whether you’re the kind of person who scrutinises every car you see, or you’re simply someone who barely gives anything automotive a second glance, it’s unlikely that you’ll not have noticed more than just a few Volkswagens these days baring Bluemotion badges.
BlueMotion is the moniker Volkswagen apply to a range of their vehicles that are fit with certain fuel-saving technologies. Of the 24 variants in the Passat range alone, 15 of them now carry a BlueMotion badge. All of them, no doubt, will help save you having to spend any unnecessary time at the pumps. But it’s perhaps this car, the Passat 1.6 BlueMotion TDi that’s the real headline stealer.
First, let me fill you in with a little background knowledge. In October 2010 a standard production Passat BlueMotion enters the record books after covering a distance of 1527.63 miles on just a single tank of fuel. That’s an average of 89.83mpg! It is perhaps no-wonder then that, not wanting to rest on the laurels of the previous generation Passat, Volkswagen are so keen to add a fully fledged Bluemotion model to this, the seventh generation series.
“Most frugal of executive saloons”
Now even more economical – even the latest standard Passat and Passat Estate exceed the fuel economy figures of the out going BlueMotion models – the Passat 1.6 TDI BlueMotion, raises the bar ever further.
Power comes from modifying a version of VW’s 1.6-litre common rail TDI engine. There’s a six-speed manual gearbox and Stop/Start battery regeneration systems put in an appearance. Externally the more eagle-eye amongst us will also spot that in addition to low rolling resistance tyres, the Passat Bluemotions’s suspension has been lowered by 15mm at the front and 7.5mm at the rear. They’ll also spot a revised radiator grille and an underbody panel which helps minimise drag. But perhaps the easiest to spot modification – in the case of this saloon at least – is the neat little rear spoiler on the boot.
Add all the effects of these somewhat subtle modifications up and the results are impressive. Volkswagen claim an average combined fuel consumption of 68.9 mpg for their most frugal of executive saloons. CO2 emissions are just 109g/km and band B VED. Or to put it another way, after a week in which I cover well over 500 miles behind the Passat Bluemotion’s leather wheel, including a biblically wet four-hour schelp up the M1, I still have the best part of half a tank of diesel left. And the tax disc is just £20.
“Holds its own on the daily commute”
You needn’t worry either that the Passat BlueMotion comes only in full sack-cloth and ashes spec in a bid to help save the environment. With a premium of just £220 over the S trim models on which they are based; all BlueMotion Passats are (fairly) generously equipped. Curtain airbags, ESP, ‘Climatic’ air conditioning, electric windows, electronic parking brake, RCD 310 radio / CD player and Multi Device Interface (MDI) with iPod connectivity are all standard. Although you will have pay extra if want items such as the fatigue detection system, cruise control, Park Assist, automatic lights and wipers, and even, a sat-nav. Personally I’d stump up the extra for the 17-inch ‘Buenos Aires’ alloy wheels too, or at I’d least haggle hard in a bid to get them. VW, if you’re reading this: the standard fit 16-inch steel wheels are a stingy step too far.
It probably goes without saying that because the Passat weighs in at 1505kg and has just 103bhp to pull it along it’s hardly the kind of car in which you’ll be winning many Traffic Light Grands Prix. But that said it is a relaxing long distance cruiser and it’s more than capable of holding its own on the daily commute. It rides well, it’s quiet and you can even say it’s refined. However, involving or exciting are not words you can use to describe the Passat Bluemotion. Enthusiastic drivers will find themselves stirring the gears perhaps a little more than Volkswagen intend in a bid to gain a little more go.
“Not the most exciting car”
To sum the Passat Bluemotion up as just a solid, comfy, well engineered and astonishingly economical saloon, is perhaps, to damn it with faint praise; it somehow feels altogether greater than being just a sum of its parts. It’s certainly not the most exciting car you can buy for around £21k, but nevertheless it is a very, very good one – its residuals too should keep you happy.
Personally, I could happily drive this car day-to-day without complaint. Knowing that I’d only have to fill its tank every 900 miles would probably make me happier still.
Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion TDi 105 PS
Engine: 1598cc 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6 speed Front wheel drive
Power: 103 bhp @ 1500 rpm
Torque: 185 lbft @ 4400 rpm
0-62MPH: 12.2 Sec
Max Speed: 123 mph
CO2: 109 g/km
MPG: 68.9 combined
Price: from £21,405