VW Passat BlueMotion.

Whether you’re the kind of who scrutinises every car you see or who simply someone who barely gives anything automotive a second glance, it’s unlikely that you’ll not have noticed more than just a few Volkswagens these days baring Bluemotion badges.

BlueMotion is the moniker VW have applied to a range of their vehicles that have been fitted with certain fuel-saving technologies. And, of the 24 variants in the Passat range alone, 15 of them now carry a BlueMotion badge. All of them no-doubt will help save you having to spend any unnecessary time at the pumps - but it’s perhaps this car: the Passat 1.6 BlueMotion TDi that’s the real headline stealer.

First, let me fill you in with a little background knowledge.  In October 2010 a standard production Passat BlueMotion entered the record books after covering a distance of 1527.63 miles on just a single tank of fuel. That’s an average of 89.83mpg! It is perhaps no-wonder then that, not wanting to rest on the laurels of the previous generation Passat, Volkswagen was so keen to add a fully fledged Bluemotion model to this, the Seventh generation series. 

Now even more economical - even the latest standard Passat and Passat Estate exceeded the fuel economy figures of the out going BlueMotion models - the Passat 1.6 TDI BlueMotion, raised the bar ever further.

Power comes from a modified version of VW’s 1.6 litre common rail TDI engine, coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, with Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems also putting in an appearance. Externally the more eagle-eyed amongst us will also spot that in addition to low rolling resistance tyres having been fitted, the Passat Bluemotions’s suspension has been lowered by 15 mm at the front and 7.5 mm at the rear. They’ll also spot that a revised radiator grille and an underbody panel which to helps minimise drag.  But perhaps the easiest to spot modification – in the case of this, the saloon at least, is the neat little rear spoiler on the boot.

Add all of the effects of those somewhat subtle modifications up and the results are impressive. Volkswagen claim an average combined fuel consumption of 68.9 mpg for their most frugal of executive saloons, CO2 emissions of just 109g/km and band B VED. Or to put it another way, after a week in which I’ve covered well over 500 miles behind the Passat Bluemotion’s leather rimmed wheel, including a biblically wet 4 hour schelp up the M1, I’ve still got the best part of half a tank of diesel left, and the tax disc is just £20.

You needn’t worry either that the Passat BlueMotion comes only in full sack-cloth and ashes spec in a bid to help save the environment. With a premium of just £220 over the S trim models on which they are based; all BlueMotion Passats are (fairly) generously equipped. Curtain airbags, ESP, ‘Climatic’ air conditioning, electric windows, electronic parking brake, RCD 310 radio / CD player and Multi Device Interface (MDI) with iPod connectivity are all standard. Although you will have pay extra if want items such as the fatigue detection system, cruise control, Park Assist, automatic lights and wipers, and even, a sat-nav. Personally I’d stump up the extra for the 17-inch ‘Buenos Aires’ alloy wheels too, or at I’d  least haggle hard in a bid to get them. VW, if you’re reading this:  The standard fit 16-inch steel wheels a stingy step too far.

It probably goes without saying that because the Passat weighs in at 1505kg and has just 103bhp to pull it along it’s hardly the kind of car in which you’ll be winning many Traffic Light Grand Prix’s, but that said it is a relaxing long distance cruiser and it’s  more than capable of holding it’s own on the daily commute. It rides well, it’s quite and you could even say it’s refined, however, involving or exciting are not words that could be used to describe the Passat Bluemotion and enthusiast drivers will find themselves stirring the gears perhaps a little more than Volkswagen intended in a bid to gain a little more go.

To sum the Passat Bluemotion up as just a solid, comfy, well engineered and astonishingly economical saloon, is perhaps, to damn it with faint praise; it some how feels altogether greater than being just a sum of it’s parts. It’s certainly not the most exciting car you can buy for around £21,000 but nevertheless it is a very, very good one – its residuals too should keep you happy.

Personally, I could happily drive this car day-to-day without complaint. Knowing that I’d only have to fill its tank every 900 miles would probably make me happier still.

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion TDi 105 PS

Engine: 1598cc 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6 speed Front wheel drive.
Power:  103 bhp @ 1500 rpm
Torque: 185 lbft @ 4400 rpm
0-62MPH: 12.2 Sec
Max Speed: 123 mph
CO2: 109 g/km
MPG: 68.9 combined
Price: from £21,405

Many thanks to Volkswagen’s UK press office for the loan of their PASSAT

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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