So, you want a decent sized estate car with the flexibility of a good electric range and a petrol engine for those infrequent longer journeys? The Passat GTE could be just the ticket.
Under the bonnet is the ubiquitous 1.4 litre TSI petrol engine which here kicks out 113 bhp. This is joined by a compact electric motor which brings an additional 113 bhp to the party and sits within the casing of the 6 speed DSG gearbox. The addition of a third clutch between the engine and the electric motor allows the electric motor to either work with the petrol engine (hybrid) or independently (EV mode).
The problem with plug-in hybrids use to be a disappointingly small electric only range, but advances in battery technology are now allowing bigger batteries and thanks to a 13 kWh pack the Passat can hit 38 miles on the official tests, and on the City portion it can manage 43 miles. Unless you have a very heavy right foot between 30 – 40 miles is doable in the real world which for many, many people will comfortably cover daily mileage.
Of course once the battery is depleted the Passat reverts to hybrid mode giving you access to a normal petrol range. The official fuel consumption is 249 mpg, and if you can recharge every 30 – 40 miles you will be able to beat this, however as ever if you are planning to buy a plug-in hybrid and have no intention of ever plugging it in, then a) don’t! and b) no you won’t get 235 mpg.
The other key statistics for an estate car are how much clobber you can get in the back. Again the Passat acquits itself well. With the rear seats in place it will swallow 650 litres, fold the rear seats and that increases to a cavernous 1,780 litres. If that isn’t enough you can also tow up to 1,600 kg so most tasks should be easily covered.
The Passat GTE combines a good electric range with the flexibility of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. It also covers the estate car brief really well, delivering practicality and with 295 lb ft of torque it can also make good on its claimed towing and load hauling ability.
Estimated real world range: 25 – 40 miles (electric)
Official range: 38 miles (combined) – 43 miles (city) (electric)
Official electricity consumption: 150 Wh/km
Battery pack: 13 kWh (gross) 10.4 kWh (net) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 240 v 5 hours; 3.6 kW charge 3 hours 40 minutes
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.