VW introduces restyled, tech-ified Passat for 2020

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Detroit — Volkswagen of America said the automaker is packing its largest sedan with technology, as Americans turn to SUVs and trucks.

The only European automaker to make a showing at this year’s Detroit auto show unveiled its new 2020 Passat on Monday, eight years after a complete overhaul in design. Although the new midsize sedan keeps the same bones, almost everything else is different inside and out.

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As U.S. automakers leave the sedan market and Asian companies introduce new vehicles, VW is giving the Passat a new feel without shifting it to the modern MQB chassis of the Golf and Jetta.

A coupe-like roofline and a “tornado” line give the car a sportier edge.

"I think we need to be smart obviously about production," Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keough said. "We need to be smart about supply, but it's still volume we can pursue and will pursue.

"As other brands exit this segment, we plan to offer them a very cool new home."

A coupe-like roofline and a “tornado” line give the car a sportier edge. A dominant grille provides a bold face to the new vehicle. It got a new fascia and standard slim LED headlight and taillights, as well. More prominent Passat lettering hangs along the trunk lid. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard, though 18- and 19-inch wheels are also available.

Inside, the cockpit features a horizontal design with a more contemporary instrument panel. Based on the trim, there are four interior design options. Volkswagen’s V-Tex leatherette and Nappa leather seats are available in addition to the standard cloth seats with­­ four color options.

A new glass-covered touchscreen features MIB II Composition Media Infotainment with available navigation. Volkswagen Car-Net AppConnect technology comes standard, integrating compatible smartphones with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link to make select apps accessible from the screen. Top-of-the-line models feature the Fender Premium Audio system.

The technology doesn’t end there, though. Coming standard is forward-collision warning, front-assist emergency braking, blind-spot monitor and rear traffic alert. Other available driver-assistance features include lane assist, park assist and a combination of passive and active safety systems including an automatic post-collision braking system.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine continues to put the Passat at 174 horsepower, but a new converter and upgraded software boost output to 207 pound-feet of torque on the four trims except for a limited launch-only model.

Volkswagen will offer a six-year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on the 2020 Passat, which is expected to hit showrooms this summer.