VW’s new wagon takes a step up in size and plushness for its ninth generation.
Volkswagen marks the 50th anniversary of its hugely popular Passat with the unveiling of the slick new ninth-generation model, which provides a combustion alternative to the similarly sized ID 7 EV.
The new wagon comes with a choice of updated four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, together with new plug-in hybrid drivetrains, however, the model will not be coming to Australia.
Twinned with the upcoming third-generation Skoda Superb – alongside which it will be built in Slovenia – the new Passat is the first in a series of new Volkswagen models to be based on an updated version of the MQB Evo architecture.
The revised platform, also used by the upcoming third-generation Volkswagen Tiguan, has received a series of significant upgrades, including a stiffer rear axle carrier that is claimed to improve rolling refinement and control.
It has also been designed around the need to accommodate an electrified drivetrain, meaning the Passat gets significantly more advanced connectivity and chassis functions than its predecessor.
The Passat retains MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension, but it has been heavily reworked with new two-valve dampers and Volkswagen’s new Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) system in a move that, Volkswagen claims, brings added comfort and a greater breadth of driving characteristics between the various driving modes.
VDM allows wheel-specific braking interventions by the electronic stability control, as well as wheel selective adjustment of the dampers. Buyers can also specify an optional Dynamic Chassis Control Pro system, which brings further adaptive damping properties.
The new Passat has also grown considerably. Length is up by 144mm at 4917mm and width by 20mm at 1852mm, while height is reduced by 10mm at 1506mm. Crucially, though, the wheelbase is 50mm longer than before, at 2841mm.
The increase in size makes for a roomier interior: Volkswagen claims rear leg room is up by 50mm and luggage capacity is boosted by 40 litres at 690 litres – extendable to 1920 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Up front, it receives a heavily restyled dashboard among other changes aimed at providing a cleaner and more upmarket driving environment than before. Included as standard are new 10.3in instrument and 12.9in infotainment displays – the latter optionally upsized to 15.0in on top-spec trims.
The new displays run the fourth-generation of Volkswagen’s MIB operating system, with revised menu structures, higher-resolution graphics and conversational voice control for the first time.
The controversial slider control unit is carried over from other Volkswagen models but now lights up for easier adjustment of the sound system and air conditioning at night.
There’s a new multifunction steering wheel too and the gear selector has moved to the steering column, which frees up space within the centre console for larger cupholders and an optional smartphone charging pad.