Volkswagen Passat updated with new tech and engines

Major facelift overhauls engine range and adds semi-autonomous tech, plus sees return of GTE hybrid

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Volkswagen has revealed a major update to its Passat range, which includes a host of new safety equipment and an updated engine range.

The new Passat takes a similar approach to the Golf, with the company describing the new vehicle as a ‘Mk8.5’ model rather than a totally new car. As such, it’s virtually identical on the outside – with just a few tweaks to the bumpers and new alloy wheel designs. LED lights are also now standard across the range.

Under the bonnet, the most significant change is the reintroduction of the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid model. Removed from sale last year amid the changing WLTP emissions regulations, the new model features a larger battery pack for a WLTP-certified electric-only range of 35 miles. Total power output remains the same at 218hp.

Elsewhere in the engine line-up, four diesels are on offer. A 1.6-litre, 120hp powertrain starts the range, followed by a 190hp 2.0-litre option and a range-topping 240hp bi-turbo unit — while a new 2.0-litre diesel engine appears with cylinder deactivation technology for increased efficiency.

There are also three petrol engines on offer – a 1.5-litre unit producing 150hp and a 2.0-litre unit with either 190hp or 270hp on offer above it.

Volkswagen Passat interior, February 2019

The Passat will continue to be offered as a saloon or estate, with the latter also available in high-riding Alltrack form.

Headline technology news for the Passat is the introduction of Volkswagen Travel Assist – essentially the brand’s first semi-autonomous system capable of operating at higher speeds.

This tech is able to take care of throttle, brakes and steering at speeds of up to 130mph – a big improvement on the previous Traffic Jam Assist’s 25mph maximum and even the 80mph maximum of rival Volvo’s Pilot Assist.

The interior has also received a technology boost – with the brand’s Virtual Cockpit tech making an appearance for the first time on the Passat, having recently been made available across a number of VW Group model. Always-online functionality’s been introduced for the top-end infotainment system, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The new Volkswagen Passat will make its first appearance in the metal at the Geneva motor show next month, ahead of order books opening in May. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but expect a modest rise over the current car’s £23,495 starting price.

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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