We try the Volkswagen Passat with the brand’s latest 1.4 TSI petrol engine to see if it’s a worthy diesel alternative.
Petrol family saloons have been out of favour for more than a decade, thanks to taxation and company car rules designed to favour diesel models. But recent events have forced a rethink and have made products such as the latest petrol-powered Volkswagen Passat more relevant again.
This isn’t just a regular turbo petrol engine, either. The 148bhp 1.4-litre unit has VW’s cylinder-deactivation technology, so it shuts down two cylinders when you’re cruising along on part throttle, in a bid to improve fuel efficiency. On paper it works, too, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km and claimed economy of 56.5mpg.
The set-up is effective on the road. The engine has 250Nm of torque from as little as 1,500rpm, so you can almost drive it like a diesel, with early upshifts. It’s smooth throughout and while you may hear a slight resonance when the cylinders shut down, for the most part you’ll only become aware of it kicking in when the instrument panel indicator lights up.
Real-world economy appears strong, too; we saw just under 50mpg on a mixed commute that combined a motorway run and traffic-clogged urban streets.
GT spec brings a few niceties over our preferred Passat trim level, SE Business;
you get the fully digital instrument panel as standard, along with heated ‘premium comfort’ front seats, a panoramic sunroof and an upgrade to 18-inch wheels. We’re not sure the extra kit is worth the additional financial outlay – and since the 150 ACT engine is also available in SE Business, we’d be tempted to stick with that version.
Model: Volkswagen Passat GT 1.4 TSI ACT 150 PS
Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 8.4 seconds
Top speed: 137mph
On sale : Now