For 2020, Volkswagen shuffles trim levels and adds tech across the board

2020 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen is adding more tech features to nearly every car in its lineup for the 2020 model year. The updates include a fresh infotainment system that keeps occupants connected on-the-go, available wireless device charging, and additional safety features that help drivers monitor what’s in front of and behind the car.

The German automaker’s core range remains largely unchanged. It still includes models such as the Atlas, the Jetta, the Golf, and the Tiguan. It welcomed a stylish, fastback-like sedan named Arteon earlier in 2019, and the emblematic Beetle retired with no successor currently in sight. There is a five-seater Atlas on the way, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The big news for 2020 isn’t a new model; it’s an improved version of the company’s Car-Net infotainment system.

The software is available on every 2020 Volkswagen, from the entry-level Jetta to the range-topping Arteon. 2020 also brings an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot, though motorists need to subscribe to a data plan to enjoy it, which is a common practice across the industry. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility continue to come standard.

Automotive technology isn’t limited to the screen embedded in the dashboard; it also helps keep drivers out of danger. To that end, nearly every member of Volkswagen’s 2020 portfolio comes standard with a suite of electronic driving aids that includes forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, a blind spot monitoring system, and rear cross-traffic alert. Buyers previously had to pay extra for these features; they’re bundled into a $450 option package for the entry-level 2019 Tiguan, for example.

The Passat sedan (pictured above) additionally receives a long list of updates for the 2020 model year. Introduced at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, it wears a new-look design that’s sharper than before, and offers a restyled interior with a glass-covered touchscreen for the infotainment system. The only engine available at launch is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that serves 174 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Digital Trends already put it through its paces on Volkswagen’s secret proving grounds in Arizona.

Finally, Volkswagen pared down the Golf range to one trim level named Value Edition. It comes standard with keyless entry, a push-button ignition, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, leatherette upholstery, and heated washer nozzles. We’re not surprised to see the lineup reduced to a single trim. The station wagon is no longer available, and a new, eighth-generation Golf is around the corner, though it might not be sold in the United States.

The 2020 Volkswagen models will arrive in showrooms across America in the coming months. Pricing information will be released closer to their on-sale date.