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GIVEN the way large-family saloons have plunged in popularity you could be forgiven for thinking it is last-chance saloon for the likes of the newly-revised Volkswagen Passat.

But no. They insist the next generation is already planned and being prepared.

I wonder what profile of powertrain it will have? The current one relies heavily on diesel (1.6, 2-litre). The revised model coming for October will have a 2-litre 150bhp diesel, 1.5-litre 150bhp petrol as well as a 1.4-litre petrol plug-in hybrid GTE. I can see the latter, with the €7,500 tax/grant concession, being more sought after than heretofore now we all want to drive ‘electrified’.

The GTE’s range has increased to 56km ‘real-world’ (WLTP) which makes it a much more attractive proposition. Its lower official consumption figures dip from 1.7litres/100km to 1.5-litre/100km. Emissions were 38/49g/km and are now 34-39g/km. That’s €170 road tax.

With a 50-litre petrol tank and 31pc more energy in the battery the range now spans 760km to 875km.

There is a price to pay; it will cost €2,000 or so more (to around €42,000). But I understand it will be packed to the gills with spec.

There is no price on the diesel or petrol versions yet but I’d say the only way is up. The current entry-level is €33,295 for the 1.6 diesel 120bhp but best value looks to be €33,150 for the 2-litre diesel 150bhp Comfortline.

Trim names for Ireland will be: Passat, Business, Style and R-Line.

Despite the fall off in demand for such cars, 1,136 saloon Passats have been registered this year (134 estates).

Ten years ago the Toyota Avensis was Ireland’s best-selling car, the Passat was number six, the Ford Mondeo and Opel Insignia nine and 10 respectively. Different era.

Connectivity (virtually unheard of then) is an important part of the revised Passat with the new MIB3 system debuting. The latest Volkswagen infotainment entourage makes its debut on the car (it also means Apple CarPlay without the need for a cable). It will also be on the new Golf. ‘Travel Assist’ also makes its debut. It makes the Passat capable of partially automated driving at any speed (0-210kmh with the new IQ.DRIVE system).

They haven’t done much with the looks, or a lot with the drive. The previous model aged well. Critically, however, the GTE’s more sophisticated technology inspired greater confidence, on my drive, by covering longer distances on pure electric power. Isn’t that what we all want these days?

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