Over the past 45 years, the Volkswagen Passat has quietly grown into the world’s best-selling midsize sedan, with more than 29 million sold. Since 2011, Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn., factory has assembled more than 730,000 Passats, for sale in America and elsewhere. Yet to hear some automotive experts say it, the popularity of SUVs has rendered sedans all but obsolete.
Last year, some U.S. automakers have said they would pare back or stop selling sedans altogether. At the Detroit auto show this week, Volkswagen went the other direction – unveiling the 2020 Passat, a thorough update designed to make style, space and technology more accessible than ever to midsize sedan buyers.
As Volkswagen of America President and CEO Scott Keogh told reporters in Detroit, Americans bought more sedans – some 4.3 million last year – than all passenger vehicles sold in Germany in 2018.
“The Passat is a vital entry point into the brand, and as other brands exit the segment, we plan to offer sedan buyers a very cool new home,” he said. “We kept what customers told us they loved and improved what they didn’t.”
The updates on the Passat start with the redesigned exterior, featuring a more aggressive grille, a coupe-like roof profile and a dynamic crease known as a “tornado” line. With standard LED headlights and taillights, enhanced decklid badging and standard 17-inch wheels (with optional 18- and 19-inch designs) the entire look of the Passat feels more upscale.
While the Passat has many changes outside, what did not change was its reputation for comfort and spaciousness. The new interior was enhanced with horizontal vents running the width of the dash, a more contemporary instrument panel and touchscreen entertainment system. That system comes standard with Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect technology,2 which integrates compatible smartphones with the three major platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. Other available comfort-enhancing options include remote start and keyless access to heated front and rear seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, along with an available Fender premium audio system.
To help add confidence to drivers on the road, every 2020 Passat comes standard with 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 also include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist (Lane Assist), and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist) including Park Distance Control.3 The Passat also offers a suite of passive and active safety systems including the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.
For power, all trims of the 2020 Passat except for a special launch edition employ an updated version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 174 hp and an increased 207 pound-feet of torque, connected to a six-speed Tiptronic transmission.
And like almost every other Volkswagen model, every 2020 Passat comes 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 over its term.1
While prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date of the new Passat this summer, Keogh said the changes would keep with Volkswagen’s long tradition of value, and continue to serve as a cornerstone of Volkswagen production in Chattanooga for years to come.
“The Passat, Atlas and upcoming electric vehicles clearly demonstrate our commitment to further deepening our roots in America,” he said.