Among its plus points are a comfortable driving experience with a quiet cabin that has a classic style of design. It's also a desirable car to own despite the fact there is no petrol engine choice. Instead, there's a range of 1.6 litre or 2.0 litre diesel units offering excellent levels of performance.
The basic VW Passat Estate comes with a 1.6 litre unit producing 118 bhp while the top model has a 2.0 litre twin-turbocharged unit producing 237 bhp that delivers impressive levels of performance. Buyers do, however, have the option of a plug-in hybrid petrol model. Volkswagen also supplies its Passat estate with BlueMotion models with the 1.6 litre diesel engine returning 76 mpg with emissions of 95g/km. The Passat GTE is the award-winning electric model.
The list of standard equipment is fairly impressive but the best choice would be the SE Business trim which comes with lots of kit including alloy wheels, satnav, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic wipers and lights. This model also has very comfortable ergonomic front seats. Safety kit includes tyre pressure monitoring, a post collision braking system and airbags. There's also anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and traction control.
The handling is also impressive and it is a great car on long journeys with excellent stability and high comfort levels; the car has a solid feel which helps bring confidence when driving at speed. With the high levels of refinements there's a taste of luxury and with good equipment levels means owners will want for nothing.
The VW Passat Estate is up against some interesting competition from the likes of the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and the well-equipped Ford Mondeo Estate; the Mazda 6 Tourer also delivers excellent levels of handling but the Passat Estate offers something different with a stylish design, great handling around town and a comfortable driving experience. And while it costs more than many of its rivals, there's a lot to recommend the Volkswagen as the best family estate car in its segment.
Essentially, for anybody wanting a spacious family estate car with a decent spec, high-performance levels with low running costs then the VW Passat Estate will make for a sound choice and though it's quite pricey to begin with potential buyers could also look at the Skoda Superb Estate which is built on the same platform but costs substantially less.