Demand for saloons isn’t what it used to be before the crossovers took the automotive world by storm, and it’s evident when you look at the sales charts. Volkswagen moved a total of 41,401 Passat saloons last year in the United States, representing a major decrease of 32 percent compared to 2017. While demand in the midsize saloon segment is down, there are still plenty of people who would rather much have a saloon over a crossover.
VW is targeting that part of the market with the 2020 Passat, which although isn’t an all-new car since it sticks to the previous platform, it still comes with numerous changes in an attempt to lure buyers back into saloons. Not related to the MQB-based Passat offered here in Europe (and soon to be facelifted), the North American variant adopts an updated look with a more imposing grille and a slightly sloped roofline, but in typical VW fashion, it’s not a major departure compared to its predecessor.
VW does spice things up a bit with standard LED headlights and taillights across the range as well as by utilising wide “Passat” lettering on the boot lid in the same vein as the fancier Arteon. The 2020 Passat rides on 17-inch alloy wheels in base form, but buyers can upgrade to 18- or 19-inch sets for a sportier look on the more expensive variants.
Stepping inside the cabin, VW promises better packaging compared to the old Passat and a newly developed glass-covered infotainment touchscreen with support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink. “Premium materials” are on the menu, along with fresh colours and a choice between three themes based on the trim level. Base models come with cloth seats, but pay more and you can opt for leatherette and Nappa leather.
With the V6 gone, the 2020 VW Passat is powered exclusively by the same 2.0 TSI four-cylinder engine developing 174 bhp. The good news is torque has increased from 184 pound-feet to 207 lb-ft courtesy of a new torque converter and improved software. However, you need to keep in mind the launch-only Limited model will feature the same powertrain as the 2019MY. Output will be channelled to the front axle through a six-speed automatic gearbox.
As you’d expect from a midsize saloon, the list of equipment is quite extensive. It includes everything from front/rear heated seats and dual-zone automatic climate control to remote start and electrically folding heated mirrors. Automatic wipers and adaptive headlights (with cornering) are also available, and a power driver’s seat along with a Fender sound system.
Safety tech is comprehensive and all Passat versions have Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring. There’s also Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert even on the base model, and at an additional cost, you can opt for Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, and Park Assist.
After its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2020 VW Passat will go into production at the company’s Chatanooga, Tennessee plant and will reach dealers in the U.S. this summer in four regular trims, plus the aforementioned Limited model that’ll be available for… erm, a limited period.
Gallery: 2020 VW Passat
2020 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT AT THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
New Passat offers more of what matters: bolder design, upgraded technology and enhanced access to convenience and driver-assistance features.
• New exterior has dynamic coupe-like profile, dramatic “tornado” line, and dominant grille
• Spacious interior features sophisticated new design and premium materials
• 2.0-liter TSI® engine boosts torque to 207 lb-ft on most models
• Standard features include: 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, full LED lighting, App-Connect, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert
• Available driver-assistance features: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Park Assist
• Available premium features include: heated rear seats, leather seating surfaces, the Adaptive Front-lighting System, and Fender® Premium Audio system
• Comes with America’s Best Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, with 6-years/72,000-mile (whichever occurs first) and transferable coverage
Detroit, Mich. – Today, Volkswagen of America, Inc., unveiled the new 2020 Passat at the North American
International Auto Show. Eight years ago, Volkswagen completely overhauled the midsize sedan to cater
specifically to American buyers,with more interior space and creature comforts combined with the company’s
signature fun-to-drive nature. Building on the success of that model, today’s new Passat offers more of what
matters: bolder design, upgraded technology, and enhanced access to convenience and driver-assistance
“Passat is the only midsize sedan to offer German driving dynamics at an affordable price and has long
resonated with buyers for its combination of comfort, reliability and driving dynamics,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of
the North American Region, Volkswagen. “With this new model, we’ve stepped up the style factor and upgraded the technology to make it even more attractive. In addition, we’ve made desirable convenience and
driver-assistance features more accessible.”
While the 2020 Passat retains the underpinnings of the previous model, it has been completely restyled. A
dynamic coupe-like roofline, dramatic “tornado” line, and dominant grille give the Passat a bold new look—at
once, elegant and sporty. Standard slim LEDheadlights and taillights, along with more prominent Passat
badging that runs the width of the trunk lid, give the car a more premium look. Standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy
wheels enhance the sophisticated design, and 18- and 19-inch wheels are available.
Inside, the Passat combines a sophisticated new design and upgraded technology with the spacious cabin that
made the outgoing model popular. The cockpit features a horizontal design, incorporating air vents that flow
across the dash in a style reminiscent of premium models. A new, more contemporary instrument panel has
been fitted, along with a new glass-covered infotainment touchscreen. Complementing the new interior design
are new colors and premium materials. Three interior décor designs are available, based on trim. Volkswagen’s
V-Tex leatherette and Nappa leather seating surfaces are available in addition to the standard cloth seats, and
offer four color options.
Comfort, for both drivers and passengers, continues to be a key strength for the Passat. To help keep occupants
comfortable, Passat offers available heated front and rear seats, power driver’s seat with memory, and dual-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control. Convenience features include available power-folding, heated side
mirrors with memory, the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) with range control and cornering lights, autodimming rearview mirror, remote start, rain-sensing wipers, KESSY® keyless access and push-button start, Voice Control, and Easy Open trunk.
Infotainment technology gets a boost in the 2020 Passat. In addition to a new glass-covered touchscreen, MIB II
Composition Media infotainment with SiriusXM® radio comes standard (three-month trial subscription included)
and Discover Media with navigation is available. Every Passat comes with standard Volkswagen Car-Net® AppConnect technology, which integrates compatible smartphones with the three major platforms—Apple
CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®—making select apps accessible from the infotainment screen. For
audiophiles, top-of-the-line models feature the Fender® Premium Audio system.
Technology upgrades don’t stop in the cabin—the new Passat offers a comprehensive suite of standard and
available driver-assistance technology. Every Passat includes standard Forward Collision Warning and
Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), now with Pedestrian Monitoring, as well as Blind Spot Monitor,
and Rear Traffic Alert. Available driver-assistance features include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Lane Keeping Assist (Lane Assist), which can actively help the driver steer the car back into its lane should the vehicle start drifting into another lane without using the turn signal; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist) including
Park Distance Control. In addition, Passat offers a combination of both passive and active safety systems
including the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.
The new Passat continues to be powered by Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI®
engine, making 174 horsepower. A new torque converter, combined with new software, boosts output to 207
pound-feet of torque on most models (a launch trim will carry over the previous model’s powertrain). The power
is taken to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic®.
Every Passat model will come with the People First Warranty, America’s Best Bumper-to-Bumper Limited
Warranty. The warranty provides coverage for six-years or 72,000-miles (whichever occurs first), and the
warranty can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat will be available in four regular trim levels and a launch-only Limited model. Itis
expected to begin arriving at U.S. Volkswagen dealers in the Summer of 2019.