The 2016 Volkswagen Passat is not an all-new model, but the changes and upgrades are still far reaching. The revamped Passat’s doors, roof, and rail stampings are the only pieces shared with the outgoing model. The hood, front fenders, front and rear bumpers, and trunk lid are all new. Along with the new available LED lighting front and back, the changes bring a more substantial look that exemplifies Passat’s tradition of reserved European elegance.
For those who prefer their European styling a little less “reserved”, the optional R-Line trim brings unique rocker panels, a black-accented front bumper, a non-functional rear diffuser and special 19-inch wheels.
The Passat’s gas-powered engines are carried over unchanged. Available are the 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter VR6, both of which deliver excellent performance. The four, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, gets an impressive 38 mpg on the highway.
Aside from the attractive new sheetmetal, there’s a new dual-binnacle instrument cluster inside, plus upgraded materials, a new steering wheel, and chrome & piano black trim. Beyond these cosmetics, Volkswagen has also made some substantial upgrades to the connectivity and safety features of this car.
The dashboard now features VW’s MIB II system, with two different sizes of touch screen available depending on the option package you choose. Most models will use capacitive touch screens, similar to those found in smartphones and tablets. These screens will also feature proximity sensors to pop up the relevant controls as your hand gets closer to the screen. The system is set to offer Volkswagen’s Car-Net connectivity system, which allow you to seamlessly connect nearly any smartphone.
The safety upgrades are just as impressive: Automatic Post-Collision Braking, which prevents the car from crashing into other objects after an initial impact, is standard on all models, as is a rearview camera. Optional are adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and parking steering assist.
More than a mid-cycle facelift, these changes ensure that Volkswagen’s Passat remains a leader in what is possibly the most competitive segment in the automotive industry.