Volkswagen has made a big effort to ensure its latest Passat keeps its spot as Europe’s best-selling midsize car, including measures to attract more buyers to the station wagon version, which already accounts for most of the model’s European sales.
VW Passat tackles trailer troubles
Besides Trailer Assist, the Passat gets an emergency braking system that halts the car if the driver suffers a medical emergency or falls asleep. It is also the first VW model to offer a head-up display.
A typical Passat buyer is a 43-year-old key account manager with a wife and two children, VW says.
VW will build 191,390 Passat wagons and 105,799 sedan variants next year, IHS Automotive forecasts.
Maximum cargo capacity
Increased 47 liters to 650 liters in the wagon and up 21 liters to 586 liters in the sedan.
The midsize segment is shrinking as customers increasingly choose crossovers instead of sedans and wagons, but VW hopes features such as a function that can back the car and a trailer autonomously into a parking space will boost the Passat’s appeal. This option may lure more wagon drivers who tow a boat or caravan. The wagon variant accounts for 90 percent of Passat sales in Germany, said Christine Roch, the car’s marketing head.
Launch date: November (Europe)
Base price: 30,375 euros (Germany)
Where built: Emden and Zwickau, Germany
Lowest CO2 emissions: 35g/km (Passat GTE plug-in hybrid)
Main rivals: Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia, Peugeot 508, Citroen C5
The Passat is the largest car to date based on VW’s new MQB platform, which allowed engineers to cut the vehicle’s weight by up to 85kg and add more space for rear passengers and luggage. At 4767mm, the new Passat sedan is 2mm shorter than its predecessor but its wheelbase has been lengthened by 79mm to 2791mm.
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The new Passat’s engines are 20 percent more fuel efficient than those on the current model. VW will add a plug-in hybrid version that uses a more powerful version of the Golf GTE’s plug-in powertrain. Designers lowered the Passat’s body, gave it a wider track and shorter overhangs to give the new car a more solid look, but overall its design is not radically changed to ensure that existing buyers stay loyal.