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2020 Volkswagen Passat: First Look

  • New coupe-like exterior styling.

  • More available safety/driver-assist technologies.

  • Nearly a 13-percent increase in torque on most grades.

  • On sale in the summer of 2019.

Using the North American International Auto Show as its stage Volkswagen, revealed the 2020 Volkswagen Passat. As VW’s banner bearer in the midsize-sedan arena, the Passat brings German handling dynamics to the segment at an affordable price. It also provides the carmaker’s new 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

If you like the current Passat, you’ll like the 2020 model. Not much is changing. Although more of a freshening than a redesign, VW penned new exterior styling that not only conveys a sportier attitude with more coupe like lines, but a more elegant face with a beefier grille. LED headlights and taillights, as well as 17-in wheels are new. A more contemporary instrument panel leads the changes inside. Volkswagen has yet to announce pricing, but the entry-level price probably won’t exceed the current base (including factory delivery fee) of $26,190 by more than $1,000, and likely will be less.

More Torque

Keeping the underpinnings from the current vehicle intact, the 2020 Volkswagen Passat uses a new torque converter and software to nudge the torque from the carry-over 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine upward from the current 184 lb-ft to a more robust 207 lb-ft for most 2020 grades. The new Launch trim level will use the current powertrain. Horsepower remains at 174 ponies across the board. Output arrives at the front wheels via a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. VW hasn’t announced mileage numbers.

Comfort and Convenience

Among the things not changing in the 2020 Volkswagen Passat is the level of standard and available creature comforts. Among those features are heated front/rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-folding heated outboard mirrors, an adaptive front lighting system with range control and cornering lights, remote start, rain-sensing wipers and push-button start.

Boosting Tech

In today’s high-tech environment, you can’t avoid upping the technology ante even when just refreshing a vehicle. In the 2020 Volkswagen Passat, VW hasn’t raised the technology bar in the midsize segment, but it has raised the level of technology, slightly. Standard on all grades is an 8-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite-radio capability. Fender audio is still the sound-system upgrade.

Also standard is the same suite of safety/driver-assistance technologies as before, including forward-collision warning, auto emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Among the available features: adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and Parking Steering Assist with park distance control.

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Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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