In the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” column of today’s news, Volkswagen has unveiled the first sketches of the updated 2020 Passat mid-size sedan, set to fully debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The automaker showed the full car to a select group of media in Detroit yesterday, but, as photography was prohibited, these official sketches and our description of the new sedan will have to suffice until the whole megillah is shown in a few weeks.
Related: Video: 2018 Volkswagen Passat Review
VW’s commitment to a new Passat comes as other automakers abandon mid- and full-size sedans — GM is killing the Chevrolet Impala, Ford’s ending the Taurus and Fusion — but VW says this actually creates an opportunity to snag some buyers left in the cold on traditional sedans. The new Passat is certainly that, with a traditional upright sedan shape that maintains five-passenger spaciousness and a cavernous trunk, while still keeping its tidy external dimensions. Everything except the roof gets a mild restyle, according to VW, with LED lights now standard up front.
The drivetrain is still a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. No eight- or nine-speed here: VW is keeping costs down by carrying the Passat over largely unchanged from the version today, aside from exterior cosmetics and some new interior panels, like the dashboard. The engine will put out more torque, according to VW, but power and fuel economy numbers have not been released.
The automaker is also looking to simplify the lineup by dropping the buildable trim and powertrain combinations from the current 17 to just five. As a result, Volkswagen says it will offer more standard equipment and higher-end options on lower trims. A lot of safety equipment will be standard, like blind spot warning, lane keep assist and forward collision alert, while the interior will feature a standard 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls and satellite radio. Optional equipment includes adaptive cruise control, adjustable interior ambient lighting, rain-sensing wipers and hands-free trunk opening.
The new Passat will debut in just a few weeks, with sales set to begin in the summer of 2019, according to Volkswagen. Check back here as the North American International Auto Show begins for all the latest news.
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