Looking to breathe new life into the Passat’s sluggish sales numbers, Volkswagen has unveiled the updated 2016 Passat which brings bolder styling cues and a whole suite of new technology that aims to help it stand out better when viewed against rivals from Honda and Toyota
The exterior styling for example ditches the current model’s bland but understated cues and adds a dose of much needed aggression and boldness to the package. Volkswagen claims that virtually every piece of sheet metal is all new and that only the roof, doors, and the sides of the car are carried over from the old model. The front fascia serves as a key example of this newfound freshness and features crisper headlights that allow the Passat to fall in step with the company’s current design language while an all new three slat grille and rippled hood help add a hint of sportiness to the Passat’s mug. The rear fascia also benefits from the updates and features new tail lights and a redesigned trunk lid.
Buyers looking for a more performance oriented experience will be pleased with the R-Line package (pictured). Following the same script as other R-Line models, it features a tweaked package exclusive front bumper that incorporates GTI inspired black accents, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and 19 inch alloy wheels shod with ZR rated Continental tires that promise more grip than the standard all season tires.
The interior (a favorite target of critics due to its cheap plastics and bland design) has also been reworked to appeal to more younger buyers. A new steering wheel greets the drivers hands, while an updated instrument cluster and a slicker center console round out the changes and incorporate several new technologies to enhance the driving experience further.
Our favorite bit of technology is the all new MIB II entertainment system that is fully compatible with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. This is a pleasant change from older Volkswagen’s which were only compatible with Apple products and forced Android users to buy a costly adapter before hooking their products up to the stereo. A rear view camera is also standard issue and should please safety conscious buyers.
Speaking of safety, Volkswagen engineers have equipped the 2016 Passat with the company’s all new Automatic Post-Collision Braking System which applied the brakes after the initial impact to reduce the damage from a secondary collision. Other welcome safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, a lane departure warning system, and autonomous emergency braking capability.
Performance hardware for the 2016 Passat is largely carried over from the old model with the 1.8 liter turbocharged four cylinder continuing its service in the base model Passat, with higher trims featuring a 280 horsepower 3.6 liter VR6. A 2.0 liter TDI turbodiesel is also available but look for that particular engine to make its debut much later thanks to the effects of Volkswagen’s rapidly growing emissions scandal which has resulted in the company not being able to sell its diesel products due to an ongoing ban. The 1.8 liter and the 2.0 liter TDI can be ordered with either a manual or an automatic transmission, but the VR6 is only available with the company’s dual-clutch transmission.
Look for the 2016 Passat to begin arriving in dealer lots later this year with a base MSRP of $22,440. Volkswagen is keeping the rest of the pricing ladder under wraps though expect that particular bit of information to be revealed when the Wolfsburg based firm opens up pre-ordering for customers.