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

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

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

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read