Volkswagen chose the 2019 North American International Auto Show to reveal the latest version of the US Passat, which goes on sale there later in 2019. Featuring completely overhauled styling and new interior parts, the 2020 US Volkswagen Passat is based on the same PQ46 platform of its predecessor, which dates back to the Mk5 Golf from 2003.
For the 2020 model year, Volkswagen North America also reduced the available engine options to just one – a 130kW/280Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine – with the previous 3.6-litre VR6 engine being shelved. Because Australia sees the European Passat, the American model won’t ever be sold in Australia, though it is nice to see what models are offered overseas.
“Passat is the only midsize sedan to offer German driving dynamics at an affordable price and has long resonated with buyers for its combination of comfort, reliability and driving dynamics,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen.
“With this new model, we’ve stepped up the style factor and upgraded the technology to make it even more attractive. In addition, we’ve made desirable convenience and driver-assistance features more accessible.”
Although the 2020 US Volkswagen Passat clearly uses the same body as the previous model, it has been restyled to look more modern and takes cues from both the current Jetta – not offered locally – and the Arteon coupe sedan. The new grille and headlight design is much more aggressive than the current US Passat, and the new tailights feature new LED internals. A range of wheels ranging from 17- to 19-inches is available, while an R-Line model – pictured – is also available for US consumers wanting a sportier look, though not sportier performance, than the regular model.
The interior of the 2020 US Passat is drastically different to the European model with a more dated dashboard, and older infotainment system from the Mk7-era of Golf. The company updated the top of the dashboard with grilled vents like the European model, and gave it new trim options, though changes have been surprisingly limited for a car that’s more than eight years old.
Under the body sits the PQ46 platform, which is based off the PQ35 platform from the Mk5 and Mk6 Golf era of Volkswagen cars. Originally developed as a Chinese and North American specific model to be cheaper than the European model, the ‘NMS’ Passat originally came with four-, five- and six-cylinder engines. For 2020, just one engine is available – a 130kW/280Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol that’s matched to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. That’s correct, no dual-clutch technology here.
In a win for US customers, available technology has been improved with autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with lane departure warning and automatic parking have been added to the available features list.
Unless Volkswagen decides to merge the next generation cars, the 2020 US Passat won’t ever be sold in Australia due to the European Passat being sold locally. Considering how wide the Australian Passat range is, and its more luxurious interior and advanced equipment list, we doubt many customers will be troubled.
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