Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE audio review: A thumping stock system

The VW Passat Estate GTE is a hybrid estate that starts from £38,760, with the GTE Advance starting from £41,450. No matter which trim you choose, this Volkswagen comes with an eight-speaker configuration as standard.

For £1,150, one can bolster this to a 10-speaker setup that boasts 700 Watts of power, instead. Unlike the non-hybrid model, however, the ‘Dynaudio Confidence’ pack doesn’t add a physical subwoofer in the rear boot; as this space is taken up by the car’s battery pack.

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE design

On review is the Passat Estate GTE’s stock audio system. For a demo of it, watch the review on our YouTube channel.

VW Passat Estate GTE audio setup

To tinker with the audio settings, you’ll need to navigate through the vehicle’s 8″ infotainment system; it’s simple enough to find and will yield a three-band equaliser. Here are our optimal settings:

  • Treble: +2
  • Mid: +1
  • Bass: -2
  • Balance & fader: Centre

There are also general volume settings that can be found through the car’s sub-menu system; here you can adjust voice control, speed dependent volume and the navigation announcement.

When it comes to connectivity, Volkswagen offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which will be the best means of playback via USB. Alternatively, you can connect to the car wirelessly over Bluetooth; it’s limited to the SBC codec, only.

Read next: Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE review: The best hybrid estate?

VW Passat Estate GTE audio performance

For a demo of the Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE’s audio system watch the review on our YouTube channel.

As for the car’s speaker array, there are two speakers on each of the Passat Estate GTE’s doors – four at the front, four at the back. Unfortunately, there’s no physical subwoofer to be found in the boot; not even in the Dynaudio setup.

This, unsurprisingly, affects the car’s sub-bass frequencies whereby the system sounds cut-off and fails to extend lower than around 50Hz. Ironically, when listening to Christine Millian’s 2004 smash hit song, ‘Dip it Low’, the car’s stock system fails to deliver that low-end rumble that can be heard throughout the song.

While its sub-bass extension will disappoint bassheads, the system’s mid-bass reproduction is a force to be reckoned with – it’s punchy and provides a hearty thump that can be heard throughout the Passat Estate GTE’s cabin. You might even want to tone it down a few notches to avoid it overpowering the mid-range tones. Unfortunately, it’s not quite perfect, as it does lack some finesse; when the system is pushed to higher volumes, there is some unwanted rattle that can be heard, namely when you’re sat in the rear.

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE front wheel

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As for the mids, they are a touch recessed. The vocals in ‘Rabiosa’ by Shakira sound a little tame and not as forward-sounding as we’d like. Still, the car’s stock system delivers an accurate mid-range reproduction, where the overall sound signature is warm and fun-sounding.

Moving through to the highs, the system excels when a few notches are added onto the treble’s EQ. Here, there’s plenty of extension at the top end and a sound that doesn’t fatigue the ears even after numerous hours of playback; there’s no sibilance or harshness, but your mileage may vary depending on how sensitive your ears are to high-end frequencies.

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE rear

Finally, the soundstage. Here, the car’s eight speakers deliver good instrument separation and width, but fail to a convincing depth; this can be heard in more challenging songs such as Dave Aude’s remix of ‘Poker Face’. The aforementioned song has lots of different instrument and positional cues throughout the entirety of Lady Gaga’s song; a nod toward the Passat Estate GTE’s ability to separate individual frequencies but one that outlines the system’s inherent lack of depth.

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE audio award

Read next: Audi A8 L TFSIe review: The best luxury plug-in hybrid?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the VW Passat Estate GTE audio system

While the stock audio system isn’t perfect with its lack of sub-bass extension and recessed mids, it’s certainly a fun, bass-pounding setup that’ll delight most consumers.

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As a result, the ‘free’ audio system comprised within the Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE receives TotallyEV’s Value award. What do you make of VW’s audio system? Let us know in the comments or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
volkswagen-passat-estate-gte-audio-reviewThe VW Passat Estate GTE comes with an eight-speaker setup as standard. While it might not be perfect throughout the frequency range, the system does provide a fun-sounding reproduction that will appeal to most consumers. As a result, it gets TotallyEV's Value award.


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