Sedan rides on a carryover platform but gets new sheetmetal and an uprated engine
For all the talk about the 2020 Passat midsize sedan being a full redesign, it stays on the old platform. Only the Chinese-market Passat moves to the MQB platform—yet another sign that China, not America or Europe, is the dominant market car companies cater to these days. Also, given that sedan sales in America are in the tank, you can’t fault VW for saving a bit of capital investment from the product development budget.
Instead, VW is loading up the 2020 Passat with standard features, such as 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, full LED lighting, and Apple Car Play/Android Auto/MirrorLink compatibility.
Standard safety features include a blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, and front traffic assist with pedestrian monitoring and autonomous emergency braking. Optional driver-assistance features include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and parking steering assist.
In addition to four trim levels—which will add heated rear seats, leather seats, adaptive front lights, and a Fender auto system in various combinations—a launch-only Limited model will push the luxe factor when the new Passat arrives this summer.
Under the hood, the 2.0-liter turbo remains with the same 174 horsepower, although torque jumps by 23 lb-ft to 207. A traditional six-speed automatic is the lone transmission choice. Although the 110.4-inch wheelbase stays the same, overall length jumps 1.7 inches to 193.6 inches.
VW’s press materials describe the body shape as “coupelike”—it seems all automakers are using that adjective these days—but while its shape may be a bit more dynamic, calling it coupelike might be a stretch once you see past the roofline’s descent into the rear deck. Rather, the Passat’s beefy front end and prominent grille make the car’s approach seem blunt instead of sleek.
The Passat’s interior layout, details, and fit-and-finish fall into the same realm as that of the Atlas, which means it will be midpack in the midsize sedan segment in terms of the “wow” factor.
The Passat will be built in VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It will offer a six-year, 72,000-mile (116,000-km) warranty.
|2020 Volkswagen Passat|
|BASE PRICE||$25,000 (est.)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/174-hp/207-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve inline-four|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||193.6 x 72.0 x 58.0 in|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Summer 2019|