Volkswagen has launched the Passat, aiming the premium saloon segment by challenging cars such as the BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. The Passat, which is Volkswagen’s second best-selling car, is currently struggling with tough competition from mid-priced cars such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and so on. Furthermore, with mainstream brands adding value to appeal buyers, and premium carmakers pushing their models into more affordable categories, the new Passat needs to reinvent in order to stay relevant.
The eighth generation Passat, based on Volkswagen’s incredible MQB platform structure will be smaller than the predecessor – but is claimed to be more spacious and practical than the model it replaces. The Passat uses a combination of high strength steel, hot-formed steel and aluminium within the body structure; claiming a reduction of 75kg over it’s predecessor.
A new range of diesel and petrol engines were introduced, starting with the 1.4-litre petrol engine with either 123bhp or in combination with Volkswagen’s Active Cylinder Technology that closes down the middle two cylinders on part throttle loads for added fuel savings, 148bhp. The 1.8-litre petrol engine with 177bhp, as well as a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 216bhp and 276bhp, which will be introduced later.
For those who prefer oil burners will have a choice of three 2.0-litre units producing 148bhp, 187bhp and a twin-turbocharged 2.0 litre diesel producing up to 237bhp . Volkswagen also hinted a few powertrains in the pipeline – that includes a more economical 1.6-litre 120bhp four-cylinder common rail diesel engine, a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine and a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system. Gearbox selection for the Passat including the six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox with automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation functions. Also, selected engines will be given choices of either standard front-wheel drive or optional 4Motion four-wheel drive via a Haldex multi-plate clutch.
A plethora of modern safety features and gadgets (Traffic Jam Assist, City Emergency Braking, Park Assist,Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert) are available in the new Passat, which we think we will elaborate more in the future should the new Passat arrives in Malaysia. Furthermore, we may not get all the features which available for the European market here in Malaysia.
The choices of either a saloon or an estate will be available for now, with the gorgeous CC and Alltrack variants arriving by 2015. It may not look much different compared to the previous Passat, but Volkswagen can clearly be seen to be paying a little more attention to the finer details.