2019 Volkswagen Passat, Golf Get Powertrain, Lineup Shakeup

2019 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen is streamlining its trim lineup and limiting its engine offerings on two families of cars for 2019. The Passat is losing its V-6 option, and the Golf and Golf SportWagen will now feature a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine instead of the prior 1.8-liter turbo.

Related: StaR Performers: 2018 Honda Civic Type R Vs. 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

2019 Passat

In anticipation of a redesigned 2020 model, Volkswagen is paring down the Passat's lineup to Wolfsburg Edition and SE R-Line trims. Last year's S, SEL and GT trims are gone for 2019, as is the Passat's 3.6-liter V-6 option. The sole engine this year is a new one, however: the 2.0-liter turbo that joined the Passat lineup last year. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission.

Standard features on the Wolfsburg Edition include leatherette (vinyl) seats, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning with rear traffic alert. The SE R-Line trim adds R-Line exterior styling cues, LED head- and taillights, navigation, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, lane departure steering assist (but not lane-centering steering) and an upgraded Fender audio system.

2019 Golf Family

Volkswagen refreshed the Golf for 2018, and the hatchback returns for 2019 in S and SE trims. What doesn't return is the a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder; instead, the Golf borrows the Jetta's 1.4-liter turbo, which loses some horsepower (147 hp now versus the 1.8-liter's 170 hp) but no torque (the same 184 pounds-feet). It pairs with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, up one and two gears respectively versus the outgoing manual and automatic. Newly standard this year is forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, as well as a blind spot warning system with rear traffic alert. Both were previously unavailable on the base Golf.  

The Golf SportWagen also gets the 1.4-liter powertrain update for 2019, and it returns in S and SE trims only; the SEL has been dropped. All-wheel-drive variants keep the old 1.8-liter turbo. The Golf GTI gets a bump in standard power (now 230 hp instead of 220 hp), plus a new limited-edition Rabbit model. And the Golf R joins the new Volkswagen Spektrum Program, which will allow buyers to specify one of 40 custom colors.

What we won't see from Volkswagen in 2019 is the Tiguan Limited model. The previous-generation Tiguan is finally getting the ax, replaced by the much-improved redesigned 2018 Tiguan.

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