First Drives Uncategorized

2016 Volkswagen Passat First Look Review

Volkswagen adds an R-Line model to Passat lineup.

Volkswagen adds an R-Line model to Passat lineup.

The current generation of the Volkswagen Passat made its debut for 2012, and went on to be named Motor Trend’s 2012 Car of the Year. With little changes, the model was in need of a refresh, and the 2016 Volkswagen Passat hopes to address the needed updates. And on top of that, VW hopes the Passat can be a ray of light in the otherwise long, dark cloud it faces over its EPA emissions cheating. Volkswagen gave the new Passat a significantly updated exterior with more aggressive features, while the interior was treated to more refined appointments.

But perhaps the biggest change comes with the addition of the first-ever R-line model in the Passat lineup for the North America. The newest addition to the lineup features a sportier exterior with a unique rocker panel, more stylized front bumper with contrasting black accents, a modified rear diffuser, and will ride on 19-inch anthracite Salvador aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 235/40 ZR rated tires.

While not as outright aggressive as the R-Line Passat, the refreshed 2016 Volkswagen Passat features a revised front end, with a new sculpted hood design with stronger character lines, a new grille, as well as updated front and rear bumpers, trunklid, and available LED headlights and taillights. The headlights themselves are slimmer in appearance, with lines that flow right into the four-bar grille. The lower grille is now more rectangular than the outgoing model.

At the rear, Volkswagen has added a chrome strip to the trunk, which lowers the appearance of the rear lights, and gives the Passat a more grounded look. The chrome strip around the windows remains unchanged from the previous model year, along with the roof, doors, and side stamping.

Inside, the new Volkswagen Passat features an upgraded cabin with a new instrument panel and infotainment system. Premium materials outfit the cabin, while a new steering wheel, two-done dcor panels, and a chrome and piano black trim completes the look. For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen will offer heated rear seats, and Easy-Open keyless access to the trunk that only requires a moving foot near the back of the vehicle to open it.

The new Passat gets the latest version of Volkswagen’s “modular infotainment platform,” or the MIB II. Standard on all models, the system uses a capacitive touch sensor like that on a smartphone for gesture controls like pinch-zooming or swiping. This technology offers up shorter response times, and with the proximity sensor, the system will switch its display automatically for an easier selection of certain features. The MIB II platform is also the foundation for the Volkswagen Car-Net system, which offers App-connect technology, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. This allows for integration for nearly every smartphone.

The 2016 Passat also gets a host of safety features, including automatic Post-collision Braking System, which is now standard on all models across the lineup. This new system will apply the brakes after a primary collision is detected by airbag sensors, which helps to reduce residual kinetic energy and the possibility of additional damage. Select models will be offered with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane departure warning, and parking steering assist.

For 2016, Volkswagen will carry over its current engine lineup, which includes a 1.8-liter turbocharged gas direct-injection TSI four-cylinder, and a 3.6-liter VR6 engine that delivers 280 hp, which is one of the highest outputs in the midsize sedan segment. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, it also includes or would have included a 2.0-liter TDI. Whether that engine ever gets offered again, some analysts say, is doubtful. VW ordered dealers Monday to stop selling it until (if ever) the emissions issues that have angered the EPA and customers are addressed.

Pricing will start at $22,440 USD for the base model before destination charges, but full pricing will be announced closer to the launch of the new 2016 Volkswagen Passat later this year.