From June 2010 issue

List price when tested: £23,465
Kerbweight: 1574kg
85% of kerbweight: 1338kg
Towball limit: 90kg
Maximum towing limit: 1800kg
Official mpg: 49.6mpg

WE’VE DRIVEN MANY Passats over recent years. The 2.0 TDI CR 170PS is definitely our pick. Unfortunately it’s no longer available with four-wheel drive, but even so this is a cracking towcar.

There’s plenty of muscle to pull any sensible match. Response is definite and determined even from low revs, and the engine keeps pulling harder and longer than most 2.0-litre diesels. Even when towing, overtaking is swift and assured.

Composed and comfortable

Once wound up to 60mph the VW is stable and relaxed. There’s rarely any need for steering corrections. In our emergency lane-change test the Passat didn’t change direction as quickly as some and rolled noticeably. We’ve tried other Passats on sport suspension and they’re definitely more precise, although ride comfort does suffer. On standard springs and dampers the Passat is very comfortable.

Inside, there’s plenty of space both front and rear. Luggage space is generous, too, although extending the space is long-winded. First you need to tip the seat bases forward. Ideally you should then remove the head restraints before folding the seat backs down. Even then the load area isn’t quite flat.

The Volkswagen badge helps with resale values. Expect to get back 43% of the original price after three years, which betters most rivals.

We say     
Towing: 4/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 4/5 – A quick towcar, and a roomy and comfortable estate.

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