WOLFSBURG - Volkswagen's Passat has received a mid-life face-lift designed to position it further upmarket. The Passat is the upper-medium segment leader in Europe.
The revamped Passat goes on sale in November. It features new headlamp and taillight designs, and a chrome frame around the grille. There is also a fine chrome line all around the body of the car.
Interior changes include a new dashboard design, chrome applications and the use of higher-class materials. In terms of quality, the new Passat has a definite Audi flavor.
Although the Passat is moving upmarket, prices will likely remain unchanged, VW sources say. Prices currently start at DM40,390 (E20,456) for the entry-level version equipped with a 1.6-liter, 102hp engine.
Air conditioning will be standard on all versions of the new Passat.
A total of five gasoline and three diesel engines will be available, some reworked for more power, more torque and lower emissions. All the gasoline engines will comply with the European Stage IV emissions rules that take effect in January 2005.
A powerful version of the Passat equipped with 3.8-liter W-8 engine is planned for spring 2001.
Volkswagen hopes the face-lift will help Passat stay in the top 10 best-selling European cars until the next-generation model debuts at the Frankfurt auto show in 2003.
But fierce in-house competition is expected from the all-new Audi A4, due in November, and the Skoda Octavia, which recently received a face-lift of its own. In Germany, the Passat has recently suffered from tough competition and a shrinking market.