Unlike competitors that offer multiple powertrain choices, including hybrid propulsion, the Passat gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and that’s it. Photo: Toyota

Unlike competitors that offer multiple powertrain choices, including hybrid propulsion, the Passat gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and that’s it. Photo: Toyota

Just the right amount of ‘new’ polish to show off this gem

When is a new car really new? That question might be on the minds of new-car buyers as they scope out the 2020 Volkswagen Passat

When is a new car really new? That question might be on the minds of new-car buyers as they scope out the 2020 Volkswagen Passat.

The Passat could be called a second-tier midsize sedan, meaning it falls below the line in popularity compared with top-rung models such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and the Nissan Altima. But with increasing preferences for utility vehicles, few if any of these class members are experiencing upticks in sales.

For the Passat’s first redesign of any significance since the 2012 model year, VW has chosen to rework the car in subtle ways. Most body panels, including the hood, fenders and door-panel skins, are new, and the headlights and taillights are more elegantly shaped. But what’s most noticeable is the enlarged and aggressive-looking grille as well as the swept-back roofline that Volkswagen now considers “coupe-like.”

The net effect is a sedan that’s more attractive while still retaining its longstanding understated appearance.

Revisions to the Passat’s passenger compartment are a bit more obvious. There’s a new control panel that looks decidedly high style. Only the gauges and the driver-information screen interrupt the ventilation outlets, which extend ribbon-like across the full width of the dashboard. A new glass-covered 6.3-inch touch-screen (on the smallish side in this class) comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Beneath the sheetmetal, the Passat remains unaltered, unlike the versions sold in Europe and China that are built using VW’s latest MBQ platform. So it’s no surprise that all key measurements — length, width, trunk room and distance between the front and rear wheels — closely mirror those of the outgoing sedan.

Most sedans in the Passat’s class offer two or more powertrain options (including hybrid choices) and some even make all-wheel-drive available. The Passat offers only a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes 174 horsepower. For 2020, there’s a new torque converter for the transmission plus software updates for the engine’s electronic controls. Torque output increases to 206 pound-feet from 184.

Carrying over is the six-speed automatic transmission that directs power to the front wheels.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.2 l/100 km in the city, 6.9 on the highway and 8.7 combined.

The base Passat Comfortline starts at $29,000 in Canada, including destination charges. It comes with just the basics including air conditioning, heated front seats and a few power-operated items.

The Highline adds dual-zone climate control, leatherette upholstery (instead of cloth) and power trunk lid and 17-inch wheels (16-inch wheels are standard.

On the safety front, the Highline also gets automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection plus blind-spot monitoring that alerts when other vehicles are approaching from the rear in adjacent lanes.

The Execline ($38,400) tops out with power sunroof, power passenger seat and heated rear seats (all seats are leather covered), automatic high-beam headlights, navigation and premium six-speaker Fender-brand audio. In addition, 19-inch wheels are standard.

Execline buyers also get lane-keeping assist plus adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance to the vehicle in front and adaptive headlights that pivot as the Passat turns.

Paddle shifters and a rear spoiler are Execline options, along with an R Line package. It includes a unique grille, rear spoiler, brushed stainless steel pedals and aluminum door sills.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the Volkswagen Passat is considered entirely new or merely revised. As well, the lack of a hybrid or an all-wheel-drive option might not be of great concern.

What counts most is the sedan’s style, roominess, content, economy of operation and reasonable price point. With these virtues, the Passat stands a better chance of ending up in more driveways.

What you should know: 2020 Volkswagen Passat

Type: Front-wheel-drive midsize sedan

Engine (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC I-4, turbocharged (174)

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Market position: Domestic automakers have curtailed the midsize-sedan class (Ford’s is abandoning it completely), but the remaining players continue to introduce significantly new or revised models as they battle for market share.

Points: Modest redesign departs only slightly from the previous model. • New interior styling adds more high-tech accessories. • Base turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes more torque than before, but falls short of most competitors’ outputs. • Lack of performance, hybrid options and AWD could limit buyer interest.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); emergency braking (opt); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 10.2/6.9; Base price (incl. destination) $29,000

BY COMPARISON

Toyota Camry

Base price: $25,250

Top-selling sedan offers four-cylinder and V-6 options. AWD now available.

Chevrolet Malibu

Base price: $23,000

One of only two remaining midsize domestic sedans. Hybrid is gone for 2020.

Nissan Altima

Base price: $25,000

New-for-2019 model comes with turbo and non-turbo I-4 engines. AWD is available.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read