It’s brains over beauty for this mid-life update.
German marque Volkswagen has unveiled their updated version of the B8 Passat, and with it, they’ve made their position very clear. The Passat is already a very handsome car and aesthetically, precious little has changed. The bigger updates have taken place inside and under the skin where, Volkswagen assures, the new Passat is smarter and even more compelling than before.
On the exterior, you’ll note a new set of bumpers, a new set of lights (with the adaptive LEDs now called IQ.Light), three-dimensional taillights, a more aggressive dual-tip exhaust, and a revised grille. You may also notice the alloys, which now range form 17-inches to 19-inches in diameter.
Inside, there’s a new steering wheel design, less-subtle ambient lighting, and a larger digital instrument cluster (which VW says has better graphics, is brighter, and is denser pixel-wise). But the most obvious update here is the centre infotainment system, which now incorporates MIB3. MIB3 presents itself in either 6.5-inch, 8.0-inch, or 9.2-inch displays, replete with a built-in SIM card for access to cloud-based services and apps, as well as to offer an in-car WiFi hotspot.
And as with any new infotainment system, of course it has a voice assistant. Just say ‘Hey Volkswagen!’ and the car will execute whatever naturally-presented command you give it (like ‘Find me the nearest Maccas’). This will tire motoring journalists who shoot videos of course, as the system will trigger every time you say ‘Volkswagen’ (or at least that’s what happened with Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system). Oh, but you now get wireless Apple CarPlay.
There are a plethora of drivetrains, but we’ll focus on the ones relevant to Australia. VW Oz has clarified that we can expect to see the new 162TSi from the Tiguan, as well as the 140TSi for base-level models. The 206TSi will continue to be offered for the top-spec Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, replete with its 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
There are also an assortment of driver assistance systems available with the facelifted Passat, all conveniently placed under the IQ.Drive umbrella. These features include intelligent cruise control with prediction (meaning it’ll adapt itself should the GPS tell it there’s a bend ahead, or an intersection). It also watches speed signs.
There’s also something called Travel Assist, which is at its core a Level-2 semi-autonomous driving system that’s capable of keeping the car in lane and out of harm at speeds of up to 210km/h.