This year, Volkswagen will bring significant updates to both the North American and the European Passats.
The first to arrive will be the U.S.-spec Passat, which will debut at the Detroit Auto Show later this month. VW has already started the teasing campaign for the new midsize sedan and has so far shown some sporty-looking design sketches.
As it is usually the case, those are overly optimistic and the final product will be toned down in comparison to them. For the first teaser of the actual car, VW has decided to give us a look at the alloys. In a Twitter post, Volkswagen USA reveals a 19-inch two-tone wheel shod with 235/40 R19 Continental ContiProContact tires.
— Volkswagen USA (@VW) January 9, 2019
While the five-spoke wheel looks nice, the tweet itself is more interesting. “Fact: In 2018, over 4.25 million sedans were sold in the U.S. Stay tuned” reads the accompanying text which likely hints at VW’s decision to stick with sedans in North America. Unlike domestic carmakers like Ford and General Motors, the German automaker seems determined to keep up offering sedans in the United States while developing its SUV range at the same time.
So what new things is the 2020 Passat going to bring? Well, unlike the new Passat unveiled in China last year, it won’t switch to the MQB platform. The updated model will ride on the same platform as its predecessor, retaining its 110.4in (2,804mm) wheelbase — the Chinese-spec car has a 113in (2,871mm) wheelbase due to local buyers’ preference for LWB models.
Unfortunately, this means the 2020 Passat will essentially be an eight-year-old car with a newly-styled body. It will be available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four upgraded to produce 174 hp (176 PS) and 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) of torque, and the only transmission option will be a six-speed automatic.
As for the 280hp 3.6-liter VR6 engine recently dropped from the 2019 Passat, reports indicate it won’t be offered on the 2020 model either.