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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill holds up a signed copy of the KDFN <em>Lands Act</em> agreement during an announcement at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on Oct. 20. Under the new act, called Nan kay sháwthän Däk’anúta ch’e (We all look after our land) in Southern Tutchone, KDFN will be able to allot citizens land to build their own houses on, for example, or to use for traditional activities. The First Nation will also be able to enforce laws around things like land access and littering. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Lands Act comes into force

The act gives the First Nation the authority to manage, protect and enforce laws on its settlement lands

Two doctors in Watson Lake say they are at risk of losing their housing due to a Yukon Housing Corporation policy that only allows one pet per family. (Wikimedia Commons)
Healthcare workers in Watson Lake say housing pet policy could force them to leave

The Yukon Housing Corporation has threatened evictions for having more than one pet

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Most Read