The new Passat rides on the modular MQB platform that also underpins the seventh-generation Golf / GTI, the next Audi TT and the latest Audi A3. It is slightly smaller than its predecessor and up to 187 pounds lighter thanks to the use of high-strength steel, but a lengthened wheelbase allows it to provide more interior space than the outgoing model.
Visually, the new Passat wears a clean, elegant design that is more of an evolution than a revolution. The front end borrows styling cues like its three-slat radiator grille from recent Volkswagen concepts, and the rear end is fitted with the automaker’s familiar elongated tail lamps.
The interior is a high-tech tour-de-force. In a bid to move the Passat up a notch on the market, Volkswagen has fitted it with a host of state-of-the-art equipment including digital screen in lieu of the instrument cluster, an available heads-up display and an app-based rear seat entertainment system. Safety-minded buyers can order features like Volkswagen’s City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Emergency Assist, Trailer Assist and Traffic Jam Assist.
Mechanically, the Passat is offered with no less than ten gasoline- and diesel-burning four-cylinder engines. The most efficient model of the lineup is powered by a brand new gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that can power the Passat on electricity alone for up to 31 miles. The plug-in hybrid setup will gradually be available on other members of the Volkswagen lineup in the coming years.
The Passat pictured in our gallery will not be added to the Volkswagen lineup in the United States. Instead, company insiders have hinted our Chattanooga-built Passat will be given a major update inside and out in time for the 2016 model year.
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