In a world obsessed with SUVs and Crossovers you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the humble Volkswagen Passat.
But perhaps it’s time to rush out and buy a birthday card as this year sees the mid-size offering celebrate its 45th anniversary.
In that time, we’ve seen 8 generations of the Passat and with over 29 million models sold, it’s the second most successful model Volkswagen has ever made.
A lot has changed in 45 years - © Volkswagen UK
This figure means that the Passat has the slightly boring, but still impressive title of being both the most successful mid-size car and company car in the world.
It’s unlikely it will ever surpass its younger sibling, the Golf, which currently has over 35 million sales, but I was surprised to learn that the Passat is comfortably ahead of the beetle which is sitting on just 21.5 million sales.
So, what’s change since 1973? Well quite a lot. For starters, it turns out that the Passat shares its Birth year with my mum and like her, it’s grown a bit since birth. The current Passat sits at 4.88m long which is nearly 70cm longer than the original.
The GTE is a High performance Plug-in hybrid - © Volkswagen UK
Alongside the predictable growth, the Passat is now home to technologies and comforts, such as plug-in hybrid drive, that would have seemed impossible in the 70s.
Looking to the future and with the countdown to the launch of the next generation set to begin in early 2019, VW are obviously keen to see the Passat surpass 30 million sales.
My favourite of all Passat models. The R36 was fitted with a 3.6 Litre V6 engine producing 300bhp - © Volkswagen UK
It’s nice to see that they still have confidence in a product that isn’t a jacked-up version of a hatchback. Here’s to hoping for a new version of the R36 V6 Variant!