Just as promised Volkswagen revealed the highly anticipated New Midsize Sedan at the Detroit motor show, and it’s a Passat for North America. To be honest after going through all those NMS teasers, we wasn’t expecting it to be called a Passat, as it was supposed to replace the Passat, but maybe they couldn’t find a better name!
The American VW Passat, or Passat US, is a significantly different than its European brother. Being a product for the US, it is larger and more comfortable. This Chattanooga-build VW is set to become one of the most fuel efficient cars of this segment with its frugal engines including 125 kW / 170 PS 31 MPG five-cylinder petrol, 102 kW / 140 PS 43 MPG Clean Diesel, and VR6 with 206 kW / 280 PS, which is paired with a standard dual clutch transmission (DSG) and does 28 MPG.
At 2,803 mm, the VW Passat’s wheelbase has been extended by 91 mm, while overall length grows to 4,868 mm (a gain of 99 mm) and the width is increased by 13 mm to total 1,833 mm when compared to the European version. In spite of its larger size and upgraded equipments, VW Passat US undercuts the price of the old model by a few thousand dollars. It has a base of price in the 20,000 US dollar range which is astonishing, but it can very well upset the market for the car’s smaller brother the new Jetta!
Volkswagen of America will offer the Passat in three equipment lines: S, SE and SEL. Even the base version (S) is very well equipped. A tyre pressure monitoring system, ESP electronic stabilisation programme, ABS with braking assistant, Hill Climb Assist (with manual transmission and DSG), six airbags and an extremely safe body structure combine to form an effective occupant protection system. Other standard features include electric windows all round, air conditioning, insulating glass, a distinctive analogue clock in the centre of the instrument panel, cruise control, outside temperature display with frost warning, radio-CD system (MP3-capable, plus external audio input) and a Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone system (with voice activation).
The car also has two new and amazing features, Valet Parking and Remote Start. f the car is to be driven by a third party, a press of the Valet Parking button in the glove compartment is all it takes to secure the boot and the compartment itself. Then they can only be opened with the special Valet Parking Key accessible only to the vehicle owner. Second: “Remote Start.” In extreme weather conditions, the driver can start the engine (automatic or DSG transmission) by remote control (maximum ten minutes running time) to have the climate control system either cool down or heat the car’s interior to a preset temperature before driving off.
The new Volkswagen Passat US version will be built in the new US plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company wants to triple the total annual volume of all of its models in the USA to about 800,000 units by 2018.