Skip to main content

2020 Volkswagen Passat: A Modern Dinosaur Gets Updated

img 1161258386 1547436974695 jpg 2020 Volkswagen Passat | Manufacturer images

Competes with: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, the ceaseless marches of time and demand for SUVs

Looks like: The current Passat but a bit more stylish, like the designer of the CC or Arteon got to mess with it

Drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (174 horsepower, 207 pounds-feet of torque); six-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2019

As major manufacturers — and shoppers — abandon sedans in favor of SUVs, Volkswagen is clinging to the past with the Passat while hoping to scoop up shoppers who would’ve considered, say, a Ford Fusion or Chevrolet Impala before their respective manufacturers decided to cease making them. As such, Volkswagen is updating the Passat for 2020 instead of putting it out to pasture — but in a way that makes it look like the German automaker is hedging its bets.

Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Shop the 2018 Volkswagen Passat near you

Used
2018 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T SE
78,839 mi.
$14,999 $865 price drop
Used
2018 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T R-Line
65,204 mi.
$15,444

The 2020 Passat is making its debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Cars.com will be seeing it up close on the exhibit floor. Here’s everything we know at the moment.

Exterior

The exterior of the Passat gets a full refresh, giving it what VW says is a “coupelike” roofline, which: sure, if we’re being very loose in our definition of “coupe.” Concept sketches had wheels that filled the entire wheel well, with seemingly no room for tires; production Passats will come with 17-inch wheels standard, while 18- and 19-inch wheels are optional. (Tires will be both standard and visible on production cars.) Teaser photos showed Continental ContiProContact rubber on the 19-inch wheels. LED headlights and taillights are both standard, and Passat badging runs the width of the rear.

img 1609955025 1547436983134 jpg img 2058651664 1547436990806 jpg img1787618993 1547437003233 jpg img1338922354 1547437029236 jpg img890225715 1547437053225 jpg img441529076 1547437075982 jpg img 7167563 1547437089900 jpg img 455864202 1547437108009 jpg img 1737255668 1547437119065 jpg img2109014989 1547437142208 jpg img1660318350 1547437172118 jpg img1211621711 1547437188682 jpg img 1052643453 1547437198111 jpg img 722877692 1547437214708 jpg img 393111931 1547437246092 jpg img 583164845 1547437268463 jpg img 1161258386 1547436974695 jpg img 1609955025 1547436983134 jpg img 2058651664 1547436990806 jpg img1787618993 1547437003233 jpg img1338922354 1547437029236 jpg img890225715 1547437053225 jpg img441529076 1547437075982 jpg img 7167563 1547437089900 jpg img 455864202 1547437108009 jpg img 1737255668 1547437119065 jpg img2109014989 1547437142208 jpg img1660318350 1547437172118 jpg img1211621711 1547437188682 jpg img 1052643453 1547437198111 jpg img 722877692 1547437214708 jpg img 393111931 1547437246092 jpg img 583164845 1547437268463 jpg img 1161258386 1547436974695 jpg

Interior

The interior gets an overhaul, too, although it will still seat five like the outgoing Passat. The cockpit’s design is horizontally focused and features a new instrument panel, as well as a standard 8-inch multimedia screen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Cloth, leatherette and Nappa leather seating surfaces are available depending on trim level, with a total of four color options. Available comfort and convenience features include heated front and rear seats, a power driver’s seat with memory function and dual-zone automatic climate control. Rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, pushbutton start and remote start are also available.

Under the Hood

Like the 2019 Passat, the sole powertrain option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to the front wheels. Horsepower remains at 174, but torque has been increased to 207 pounds-feet from 184. According to Volkswagen, special launch trim models will have the less torquey 2019 engine.

Related: Here’s What the 2020 Volkswagen Passat Will Look Like

Safety

The Passat packs a host of standard safety features, like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, as well as blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and a parking assist feature.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Brian Normile
Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

Featured stories