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    2020 Volkswagen Passat first drive review: This is fine

    Meet the brand new Passat. It’s the identical because the previous Passat, largely.Volkswagen pulled the wraps off the 2020 Passat sedan earlier this yr, debuting a refreshed look and… not a lot else. The up to date mannequin options the identical underpinnings and expertise as its predecessor, a platform that dates again to 2011. Volkswagen is banking massive on the brand new look, higher perceived worth and its popularity to hold the brand new Passat via this point-five replace, hoping the common buyer would not know or care about the remainder.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    “We said, OK, let’s keep the carryover platform,” VW Group of America CEO Scott Keogh mentioned in an interview earlier this yr, “and focus on the things the customer sees and interacts with. That is the design, the aesthetics, the look, the feel.”On some stage, I suppose we needs to be comfortable that VW remains to be dedicated to enjoying the midsize sedan recreation in any respect. The US market is skewing extra towards SUVs and crossovers each day and, in accordance with the automaker’s figures, sedan gross sales are down practically 10% for the business and practically 8% at VW alone. Where some corporations are merely leaving the phase, VW is solely staying the course.More torque, much less efficientUnder the hood, the Passat is packing the identical 2.0-liter turbo-four engine as earlier than — as soon as once more, the one engine possibility accessible within the States. It nonetheless makes 174 horsepower, however (surprisingly) will get a bump to 206 pound-feet of torque — 22 pound-feet greater than earlier than. The six-speed computerized transmission additionally returns, sending energy to the entrance wheels solely.
    With extra torque, the brand new Passat can hustle from 0 to 60 mph half a second faster than earlier than, which is a purely educational enchancment that you’re going to barely discover over the 8-ish-second 0-to-60 dash of its predecessor. You could, nonetheless, discover the slight discount in gasoline economic system, which is estimated at 23 miles per gallon metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 27 mpg mixed — down round 2 mpg throughout the board versus final yr.Design tweaksFor as a lot that’s the similar inside, the Passat’s exterior replace goes a bit above your primary midcycle refresh. VW says that just about all the sheetmetal beneath the roof has been reshaped indirectly for 2020.That mentioned, the most important adjustments you will discover are the brand new entrance and rear bumper designs and the now-standard projector headlamps, multi-segment daytime working lights and rear taillights — all of that are LED illuminated. A brand new “tornado line” crease runs alongside the Passat’s flank from the nostril to tail, bringing a bit of recent Arteon taste to this growing older sedan. There are additionally new wheels, which now begin at 17 inches for the bottom mannequin with non-obligatory 18s and 19s on the menu.The new look provides about 1.7 inches of size — just about all entrance overhang — and about 50 to 80 kilos to the curb weight, relying on trim stage and tools. Safety and cabin tech2020 model-year Passats now come commonplace with ahead pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, auto braking help and post-collision braking, however many of the security expertise is essentially unchanged from the earlier technology. One new characteristic is the addition of Parking Steering Assist system to the record of choices. Thusly geared up, the 2020 Passat can detect and steer itself into parallel or perpendicular parking spots with the contact of a button.
    Volkswagen
    The remainder of the choices, together with the additionally commonplace blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a rear digicam, work in addition to I remembered from final yr’s Passat. My SEL tester is far absolutely loaded with non-obligatory adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping steering help, parking distance sensors and computerized excessive beams.Inside, the sedan’s cockpit will get an overhaul that largely echoes the outside — a brand new look over the identical previous structure. My Passat SEL contains a reshaped dashboard with wooden accents. Dark brown leather-based trim for the seats lend the cabin a good-looking, if not a tad primary, look.However, entrance and heart in that reshaped sprint is similar 6.3-inch model of the MIB II infotainment suite as earlier than. In a world the place even the compact Golf may be had with a beefy 8-inch show, the Passat’s display screen feels tiny. Being primarily based on an older platform, the Passat additionally lacks Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit. At the very least, it does help Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink as commonplace options, however general, the Passat’s cabin tech suite is form of a bummer.The driving expertise is principally indistinguishable from the earlier technology, which is to say it is effective. The energy supply is OK. The experience is comfy sufficient and the Passat is a reasonably quiet cruiser. It’s not a foul driving expertise. It’ll get you the place you are going with minimal fuss, however there’s nearly no character — no pleasure.There are a number of nitpicks to deal with. The seating place is awkward. The steering wheel is not centered with the motive force’s seat — it sits about 2 inches inboard — which is mildly infuriating when you discover it. I used to be additionally aggravated that I could not tilt the wheel as little as I like. These aren’t new issues, however carryovers from the earlier automobile.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    Not rather more on your cashAt the very least, the brand new Passat is a barely higher worth than its predecessor. Reorganized trim ranges have the 2020 Passat starting from a base S mannequin coming in at $22,955 — the identical worth as final yr, regardless of extra commonplace tools — to the line-topping SEL mannequin’s $31,095. Those costs are, after all, earlier than a $930 vacation spot cost. However, the brand new Passat is barely actually a greater worth when judged towards its predecessor. That worth proposition falters when different automakers enter the dialog. A HondaAccord is costlier, however affords a way more satisfying driving expertise than the growing older Passat with a extra premium cabin. Kia’s Optima and the Hyundai Sonata additionally supply worth for the greenback that make the Volkswagen a tricky option to justify.VW appears to be hedging its bets for the midsize sedan phase. On one hand, it would not need to go away the phase uncontested. On the opposite, it would not see sufficient worth within the shrinking and more and more aggressive house to justify funding and even enchancment. The result’s the 2020 Passat. It’s effective, but it surely might be so significantly better.Editors’ observe: Travel prices associated to this story have been coated by the producer, which is widespread within the auto business. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s employees are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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