PLUGGED-IN PASSAT (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Volkswagen has updated the technology of its plug-in hybrid Passat GTE. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 53
Volkswagen's plush medium range contender goes green in plug-in petrol electric hybrid GTE form. A nature lover dressed in a business suit, the Passat GTE delivers all the style and status a busy professional would need but does so with green-tinged smugness. Expect it to be a bit pricier than diesel models though.
Backgroundword count: 145
Over eight generations, the Volkswagen Passat has evolved from a slightly oddly-proportioned family car into today's handsome saloon or estate model that comes close to stepping on the toes of sister-brand, Audi. The GTE suffix was first used on the Golf plug-in hybrid and the technology was subsequently introduced into the Passat range, reducing emissions and improving fuel economy in a car that traditionally covers higher mileage. Plug-in hybrid technology will make a lot more sense for many buyers than conventional hybrid engines do. Keep the car charged up and if all you cover is a normal commuting distance, you could conceivably never have to fuel the car up at all. Yet, unlike a full-electric car, there's seamless transition to full engine technology for longer distances. This revised Passat GTE gets a bigger drive battery, 30% more zero-emissions range and some extra drive mode functionality.
Driving Experienceword count: 268
Moving off from a standstill, the Passat always begins in silent electric mode. Once on the move (or when it's more prudent to save battery-life to use later on in the journey), e-Mode can be turned off and the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine will take over. As the GTE drives in this setting, it will be recharging the battery pack and making full use of regenerative braking to top up the electricity on board. When the two power units are working together, they produce a combined 218PS, which allows the car to accelerate to 62mph in 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 140mph. The characteristics of an electric motor mean that the full power is available instantly, unlike in an internal combustion unit where the maximum output is only available when it reaches a certain engine speed. This can often have the effect of making a hybrid or electric car feel quicker than the figures suggest. The Passat GTE can achieve 81mph on electric mode, so there is no concern about travelling at motorway speeds, and in this revised model, the battery range has increased fto up to 36 miles under new-style WLTP rating. This improved design is also able to blend petrol and electric power more cleverly when you're using the car's more laid-back driver modes to emphasise real-world fuel economy. And it can use data from the navigation system to decide when to run the car on its electric motor, when to run it under petrol power, and how the two power sources should be combined to get you efficiently to your destination.
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Category: Spacious Family Cars
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