VW updates the Passat with a 270bhp petrol range topper
VW has revealed the updated Passat which comes with a range of improvements and a choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. If you're like me and don't take much notice of regular, day-to-day cars like the Passat, this facelift will virtually go unnoticed as it basically looks the same as the pre-facelift model. VW calls it an evolutionary design, instead of revolutionary.
The facelifted Passat will come in saloon, estate and Alltrack guises.
Anyway, let's talk about the facelifted Passat.
Not much has changed to the exterior, but VW has managed to redesign the front and rear bumpers, a new grille, and dual exhausts at the back. Other exterior upgrades include optional LED matrix headlights, which VW are calling IQ. Light. Also, there are LED lights at the back which have a funky 3D effect.
If you like colours, the facelifted Passat can be ordered with new colours such as Lapiz Blue, Bottlegreen and Sandgold. Bottlegreen looks the part too. You can also choose some new wheels which range in sizes from 17 inches to 19 inches.
A lot of the interior has been changed over and arguably, the interior has had more work done to it than the exterior. To start, there is a new steering wheel, new upholstery options and new trim finishers. Bad news though, if you liked the analogue clock in the previous Passat, it has been removed and replaced with a backlit Passat logo.
Like many modern cars, the Passat will come with a range of screens, which come in four different sizes. The main screen is the 11.7 inch digital instrument cluster which is apparently better than the previous version. VW says that it has a new graphics processor, is brighter and has a higher resolution.
The updated Passat comes with an all new infotainment system called MIB3. No, it doesn't come with Will Smith. The MIB3 interface can be found across three screen sizes which start at 6.5 inches as standard and then the optional displays are 8 inches and 9.2 inches. The new system comes with a built in SIM card which means you can connect to the internet and make your Passat a rolling WiFi hotspot.
The infotainment system now comes with more intuitive menus and support for voice controls. The voice controls are interesting as they apparently work a lot like Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa. For example, all you have to do is say "Hello Volkswagen" and then the system will listen to you to say something like "I'd like to go to Tesco Express in Bradford" and then, in theory, the system will automatically start the GPS system.
And if you happen to own a recent iPhone, the Passat now supports wireless Apple CarPlay.
With the facelift, the Passat receives a host of driver assistance systems. Some of these systems include emergency steering assist and an adaptive cruise control system which comes with predictive cruise control as a sub-system. The predictive cruise control uses GPS information to slow the car down when it goes around a corner or a roundabout. There is also a camera somewhere at the front of the car which reads speed limit signs and uses this information to match the car's speed according to the sign.
There is also an additional option called Travel Assist which replaces the now old Traffic Jam Assist system. Basically, this system is a Level 2 semi-autonomous driving system, as the Travel Assist can allow the car to drive itself at speeds up to 130mph.
However as it is a Level 2 system, the driver must keep their hands on the steering wheel. The Passat uses a smart steering wheel which is capacitive, meaning it can detect if the driver has their hands on the wheel or not. Things get scary though. If the driver doesn't touch the wheel for over 10 seconds, a number of warnings start going off, and if the driver ignores these warnings, the car will eventually stop itself.
Let's start with the petrol's, shall we? Starting off on the small side, the 1.5 litre TSI is the entry level engine which produces 148bhp. Then you have the 2.0 litre TSI which can be had with either 187bhp or 268bhp. The 268bhp version tickles my fancy as this could be a solid competitor to the likes of the Vauxhall Insignia GSI and the BMW 330i.
Surprisingly, VW is still bothering with diesel engines. There is a new diesel engine in the line up which is the 2.0 litre TDI EVO which produces 148bhp. Other options include a 1.6 litre TDI with 118bhp, and a 2.0 litre TDI with either 187bhp or a meaty 236bhp.
The Passat GTE makes a welcome return to the range, but now with a 13kWh lithium-ion battery which allows it to have a decent electric range of about 34 miles. The GTE also comes with a 1.4 litre TSI petrol engine which puts out 113bhp and comes with a specially developed 6-speed dual clutch gearbox. The Passat GTE can use the battery and petrol engine to produce a combined output of 215bhp.
What do you think?
For what is a normal car, the new Passat seems like a good option when compared to its rivals. But I want to know what you think? I'm looking forward to the updated Passat as it'll be very popular with taxi drivers meaning I'll have a comfortable ride home whilst on the way back from the pub.