Almost one year ago at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, Volkswagen (hereinafter referred to as "VW"), introduced a restyled version of its Passat midsize sedan. And while the 2020 VW Passat gets revised exterior styling to help align it with the rest of VW's lineup, the Passat still rides on the New Midsize Sedan (NMS) Platform that debuted for the 2012 model year. With the dwindling market for midsize non-luxury sedans in North America, VW sees no point in switching the Passat to the new MQB Platform that underpins the smaller Jetta Sedan, however, it still needed to update the Passat to keep it competitive in the midsize sedan market. And while this means that the Passat does without the full digital instrument cluster that's available on many MQB-based Volkswagen Group products, it gains more trim levels, safety features, and standard equipment for the 2020 model year. Last year, VW dropped the V6-powered Passat, and condensed the lineup to just two trim levels (base Wolfsburg Edition and up-level SE R-Line), which are both powered by the 2.0L TSI Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) gasoline engine, and a six-speed Dual Sequential Gearbox (DSG) automatic transmission, and are exclusively offered with Front Wheel Drive (FWD). For the 2020 model year, all Passats are still powered by that engine, still producing the same 174 horsepower, but torque is up by 22 lb. ft., from 184 lb. ft. to 206 lb ft., and the Passat is now offered in four trim levels: base S, mid-level SE, sporty SE R-Line, and range-topping SEL, and will start at $22,995 (or $2,300 less expensive than the base 2019 VW Passat Wolfsburg Edition). NOTE: All pricing in this article excludes any a mandatory $920 destination charge, as well as any applicable taxes, or other fees.
Starting out the 2020 VW Passat lineup is the base S trim level, which still offers a generous amount of standard equipment. For $22,995, buyers get standard equipment such as seventeen-inch tires and alloy wheels, front LED headlamps, Daytime Running Lamps (DRL's), and fog lamps, automatic front headlamps, LED rear tail lamps, a multifunction, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, the VW Composition Media infotainment system with a 6.3-inch glass-covered touchscreen display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a paid trial subscription, and VW Car-Net AppConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, cloth seating surfaces, full voice control of infotainment functions, two USB-A ports, Bluetooth for hands-free calling and wireless stereo audio streaming via A2DP, a rearview backup camera system, Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), a Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert. There are no available options for the S trim level.
The mid-level SE trim adds more convenience and luxury items to the base S trim of the 2020 VW Passat. For $25,845, SE buyers get all S features, as well as chrome window surrounds, the VW KESSY keyless access system with push-button starter, a remote vehicle starter system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a dual-zone VW Climatronic automatic climate control system, dual heated front bucket seats, VW V-Tex leatherette-trimmed seating surfaces, a power front driver's bucket seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, two additional charge-only USB-A ports for rear seat passengers, next-generation VW CarNet technology with 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi capabilities (requires a separate subscription), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and a Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist). The only option for the SE trim level is a power sunroof, which is available for $995.
Adding sporty exterior styling cues to the mid-level SE trim level, the sporty 2020 VW Passat SE R-Line trim starts at $28,645, and adds features to the mid-level SE trim, such as a power sunroof, a security alarm system, an ambient interior lighting system, and stainless steel pedal caps, as well as R Line-exclusive features like nineteen-inch tires and alloy wheels, an R-Line front bumper with "C"-signature air intakes finished in Gloss Black, vertical chrome strips in the front grille, an R-Line "Flitzer" badge, black window surrounds, and steering wheel-mounted transmission gearshift paddles. There are no options available for the SE R-Line trim level.
Topping out the 2020 VW Passat lineup, the luxurious SEL trim level adds even more luxury and convenience features to the mid-level SE trim level, for a very affordable $31,095. Features on the top-of-the-line SEL trim that build on the standard features of the SE trim include a power sunroof, a security alarm system, an ambient interior lighting system, stainless steel pedal caps, eighteen-inch tires and alloy wheels, the Advanced Front Lighting System (AFS), High Beam Control (Light Assist), stainless steel door sill plates, Comfort Sport Seats with luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces, a driver's memory system, a power front passenger's bucket seat, dual heated rear seats for both outboard rear seating positions, the VW Discover Media infotainment system with a 6.3-inch glass-covered touchscreen display and GPS navigation, a Fender premium amplified audio system, an Easy-Open Trunk, and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist) with Park Distance Control. There are no options available for the SEL trim level.
While interior color options for the 2020 VW Passat have not been released, there are six exterior color options available depending upon the trim level selected: Pure White (White), Reflex Silver Metallic (Silver), Platinum Gray Metallic (Dark Gray), Deep Black Pearl (Black), Aurora Red Metallic (Bright Red, available for an additional $395), and Tourmaline Blue Metallic (Blue). Exterior color options such as Fortana Red Metallic (Red), and Terra Brown Metallic (Dark Bronze) have been discontinued for the 2020 model year, and only Aurora Red Metallic (Bright Red, available for an additional $395) replaces Fortana Red Metallic (Red) as a new exterior color option this year. Built with pride at VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee Assembly Plant (which it was recently announced will receive an expansion to build Electric Vehicles (EV's)), the new 2020 VW Passat will reach VW dealerships nationwide by the end of this year (2019). What do you think of the new VW Passat? Would you purchase it over a VW Arteon? Let us know in the comments down below!