Volkswagen has unveiled the mid-life facelift for the Passat ahead of its global debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Sporting massaged styling, new technology and a revised Alltrack with a raised ride height, the facelifted Passat is now better equipped to battle the established mid-size class, which includes the ZB Holden Commodore, new Peugeot 508, Mazda 6 and Toyota Camry – among many others.
The Passat update also includes a new umbrella term of Volkswagen’s autonomous driving technology called IQ Drive, which includes a new system in the Passat called Travel Assist, which allows the car to autonomously drive up to 210km/h by itself.
According to the company, “the 30 millionth Passat will leave the assembly line this spring. This landmark makes it the most successful mid-size model worldwide. And that’s not all. After the Golf (35 million vehicles) – and ahead of the legendary Beetle (21.5 million units) – the Passat is one of the three most popular vehicles from Volkswagen to date.”
“A major technical update sees the new Passat incorporate the latest brand innovations.”
Best described as subtle, the exterior changes to the Passat are limited to new bumper designs, massaged lighting styling and new alloy wheels ranging from 17- to 19-inches in size. Newly designed headlights with new chrome touches fit into the new centre grille, while the lower air intakes are larger for a sportier stance. The tailights have been redesigned with new LED internal lighting, and if the Matrix lights are optioned, they also now feature sequential indicators front and rear.
The changes to the interior are equally subtle, though according to Volkswagen, make the Passat more practical and advanced than ever before. New LED lighting features in the dashboard inlays, while the new corporate steering wheel design that first debuted in the T-Cross small SUV also features. The analogue central clock has been removed and replaced with a Passat for a more modern look. The infotainment systems have been upgraded with new software for increased speediness and now feature wireless Apple CarPlay – the first time we’ve heard of it outside the BMW/MINI range.
A handful of new technology is also making its debut in the facelifted Passat, making it one of the most advanced mid-size cars available. Now sitting under Volkswagen’s IQ Drive umbrella for autonomous driving features, the updated Passat introduces Travel Assist, as well as Emergency Steering Assist to the range. Both systems give the car the ability to drive itself – the former at highway speeds up to 210km/h and the latter around objects thanks to a new camera and touch capacitive steering wheel.
Matrix LED headlights also make their debut in the updated Passat after first launching in the new Touareg. Featuring adaptive high beam, the Matrix system is said to be a big improvement on the current LED headlights in the Passat range thanks to their increased range and field of vision. The company has also installed the latest version of their Active Info Display digital driving gauges, with improved speed and picture quality from an 11.7-inch screen.
Volkswagen has also introduced an improved turbocharged engine range with the facelifted Passat, comprising of three petrol, four diesel and the plug-in hybrid GTE – all turbocharged. Petrol units will be a 110kW 1.5-litre, a 140kW 2.0TSI, a 162kW 2.0TSI and a 200kW 2.0TSI. Diesel units will be an 85kW 1.6TDI, a 110kW 2.0TDI, a 140kW 2.0TDI and a 176kW bi-TDI.
As before, the GTE is powered by a 115kW 1.4TSI with a lithium ion battery pack and an 85kW electric motor for a 160kW total output. Despite offering an increased electric-only range of 55km, the GTE won’t be sold locally.
Volkswagen Australia confirmed to Chasing Cars that the updated Passat range will launch in Australia in December of this year. The range will include the new 140kW 2.0TSI to replace the 132kW 1.8TSI, as well as the 162kW 2.0TSI in both the Highline – which will feature for the first time since the 2018 update struck it and the 140TDI engine from the local Passat range – and Alltrack, while the hero of the range will still be the 206kW 2.0TSI R-Line wagon.