There's a cleaner 2.0 TDI Evo engine for diesel fans.
[UPDATE, March 5] Live images from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show have been added at the beginning of the gallery, below.
After Volkswagen gave China an all-new Passat last year and the United States a not-so-new Passat last month, it’s now Europe’s turn to meet the refreshed midsize saloon. Shown alongside the more practical estate version in standard Variant and rugged Alltrack guises, the company’s second best-selling nameplate (after the Golf) is ready to take on the refreshed Ford Mondeo with an array of changes inside and out.
Although it looks a lot like the pre-facelift model, the updated Passat for the Old Continent adopts new front and rear bumpers along with a mildly redesigned front grille. VW has also tweaked the now standard LED headlights and taillights, as well as the daytime running lights and even the fog lights. Since we’re on the subject of lights, the main headlights are of the matrix variety and have been adapted from the Touareg flagship introduced in 2018 to provide greater illumination and thus improve safety.
The changes are not that easy to spot, but the “Passat” lettering on the centre of the boot lid as seen on the fancier Arteon should make it easier to identify it as the facelifted variant. It’s the same story on the inside, although the third-generation infotainment system is a first for the VW brand and works together with an improved digital instrument cluster. The touchscreen is available in 6.5-, 8.0-, and 9.2-inch sizes and offers always-online functionality with a plethora of services ranging from Internet radio to navigation with real-time info.
One of the 2019 Passat’s highlights is the expanded array of assistance systems granting partially automated driving at highway speeds of up to 130 mph. Should your wallet handle it, the car can be equipped with predictive cruise control, lane assist, emergency steering assist, trailer assist, and park assist. Another significant novelty is the adoption of an electromechanical brake servo for quicker braking as standard across the entire range, unlike the pre-facelift model where only the electrified GTE had it.
In regards to the oily bits, all petrol and diesel engines come with a particulate filter to reduce harmful emissions. There are three TSI units with 148, 187, and 268 bhp, along with three TDI units rated at 118, 187, and 237 bhp for the beefier Bi-TDI unit. It’s worth mentioning the bread and butter of the diesels, the 2.0 TDI in the 148-bhp guise, has gained the “Evo” suffix to denote it’s a revised version with 10 g/km fewer emissions than its predecessor.
The plug-in hybrid Passat GTE (pictured below, on the left) has been updated as well and can now do up to 34 miles in pure electric mode per the more realistic WLTP cycle, which equates to about 43.5 miles on the previous NEDC cycle. For the sake of comparison, the pre-facelift Passat GTE only did 31 miles using the now defunct NEDC procedure.
As a final note, we need to remind you the “Made in Germany” label of the Euro-spec Passat will cease to exist in 2023. It’s because production of the next-generation model will take place in Czech Republic, specifically at Skoda’s Kvasiny plant. If you care about this sort of thing, you have about four years left to buy a Passat built at the Emden factory where the hugely popular model has been in production since way back in 1978.
Pre-sales of the European 2019 VW Passat facelift will commence in May, with the market launch scheduled for the end of August – initially in the model’s domestic market Deutschland.
We will update this article with UK market model details as soon as we receive it.