|Times change. Only a few years ago diesel was the only option for any sensible business fleet. Now fleets need to be considering the wider picture, and together with individual user-choosers, total cost of ownership sums have to be carried out ahead of any car selection. |
|Key rival:||Ford Mondeo|
|Volkswagen Passat SE Business 1.4 TSI ACT 150hp DSG saloon|
It’s almost as if businesses must hedge their bets, because Government policy can change quickly and with little warning.
This is why there has been a swing towards not only plug-in cars, but also back to petrol as a fuel of preference.
The demand for choice is why Volkswagen has reintroduced petrol to the Passat range. There are now two petrol engines available in the saloon and estate; the 125hp 1.4, and the 150hp 1.4 driven here, which comes with clever cylinder-deactivation technology.
The Passat itself is still the same excellent large family car that it has always been with plenty of room inside, and first-rate build and material quality. And the car drives as well as it always has done.
The 150hp 1.4-litre petrol engine has several advantages over the diesel engines in the Passat range. The most noticeable is the refinement. While the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel in the Passat is refined for a diesel, it’s still not in the same league as this petrol, and the 1.6-litre diesel is still further behind. While on the motorway there’s little difference in cabin noise, around town the petrol is much the quieter engine.
In terms of fuel economy we saw an average of 49mpg over mixed driving with minimal thought to eco-antics. This sits well against he claimed figure of 55.4mpg. That said, the diesels are much more economical in this environment.
Because the 1.4-litre petrol is turbocharged, its performance is not only better on paper than the 150hp diesel, but it feels similar in the real-world, too.
A lower BIK bill is also on offer with the petrol thanks to its lower tax band (22% versus 25%) and its lower P11D price.
It’s this saving that will have to be set against any fuel penalty, as officially there is 7.4mpg between then, although in the real world that will depend on journey type.