For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen has updated the Passat inside and out in a bid to give its struggling U.S. division a much-needed boost.
Up front, the Tennessee-built Passat gains new headlights inspired by the ones found on recent additions to the Volkswagen lineup like the 2017 Tiguan, a wide three-slat grille, a redesigned bumper and a hood with four creases. The changes carried out to the back end include new-look tail lamps connected by a thin strip of chrome trim and a redrawn trunk lid.
The Passat is available with an optional R-Line appearance package for the first time ever. It brings new bumpers with GTI-esque gloss black inserts, 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped by ZR-rated tires, side skirts and a model-specific rear bumper with a small air diffuser.
Inside, the changes include a new instrument cluster that’s easier to read, a revised three-spoke steering wheel and a more ergonomic center console. 2016 also brings Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment system, which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a standard rear-view camera.
Every Passat regardless of trim level ships with a post-collision braking system that’s designed to bring the sedan to a stop after a crash in order to reduce the damage caused by a secondary impact. Buyers can also order a host of electronic driving aids such as adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system, a blind spot monitoring system and parking sensors.
Volkswagen hasn’t made any major mechanical modifications, so the Passat carries on with a palette of three available engines. The entry-level mill is a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder TSI, and buyers seeking more grunt can step up to a 3.6-liter VR6 that generates 280 horsepower. A 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel four-cylinder engine is also available, though Volkswagen is currently banned from selling oil-burners in the United States following the Dieselgate scandal.
Front-wheel drive is the only configuration available. The TDI and the TSI engines can be linked to either a manual or an automatic gearbox, while the VR6 is exclusively bolted to a dual-clutch DSG transmission.
The 2016 Volkswagen Passat will land on dealer lots before the end of the year with a base price of $22,440. Full pricing information will be published in the week leading up to its on-sale date.