New Volkswagen Passat tested by Which? CarVW Caravelle MPV also faces the Which? lab test

28 May 2011

2 VW Passat.jpg

The Passat is a bit boring to look at, but a very complete car overall

Two new Volkswagens faced the in-depth Which? Car lab test this week - the Passat saloon and the Caravelle MPV.

While each has a very different market to serve, they both share VW's premium image. While that might be welcome in a large family saloon, can the firm get away with it in a van-based people carrier?

VW Passat - a safe option

The Passat was refreshed last year with a new front end that brings it into line with other Volkswagen models (i.e. it looks almost the same, but bigger).

But what's most interesting is some of the clever safety kit it can now be specified with - not least the City Safety automatic braking system that can prevent accidents at low speeds.

We've tested the system, and found it very impressive - albeit not the best out of the six we tried. Click here to see the results of our advanced braking systems test

We also like the Passat's safe driving character, as well as the clever hands-free boot opening system. If you've got your hands full, you can wave your foot below the rear bumper and the tailgate raises automatically - very swish.

See the cars the VW Passat has to beat by looking at our large car reviews

VW Caravelle 2010- 2

The Caravelle's sliding doors mean easy access into the plush interior

Is Caravelle too posh?

When you think that the VW Caravelle is based on the Transporter van, you can't fail to be impressed.

It's probably the most spacious car we've tested; it's simply huge inside, with space for seven people and lots of luggage.

It also feels surprisingly car-like to drive, and the inside is very well-made. In fact, that's our main criticism: the high-quality interior, sliding doors and all of the flexible seating and equipment really hike up the price - it starts from an eye-watering £33,030.

So, is it only worth a look if you're the manager of a particularly fussy football team? Click on the link below to find out.

See the Caravelle's rivals in our MPV reviews

Which? members can see our Volkswagen Passat review and video here, and the review of the Caravelle here.

If you're not yet a member, you can take out a £1 trial of Which? by following this link