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At fifty, it is time to take stock. Sometimes accompanied by a radical change of life. This is the case of the Volkswagen Passat this year. Launched in 1973, the station wagon experienced a significant decline in popularity after 30 million units were produced. It takes advantage of its ninth generation to review its philosophy. From now on, the sedan body is banned, this role being played by the electric ID.7. The new Passat is now only sold as a station wagon.
As the camouflaged prototypes suggested, Volkswagen has grown its Passat SW. It gains 14 cm in length (including 5 cm just for the wheelbase) and 2 cm in width, which brings the station wagon to 4.92 m. It’s as much as a Mercedes E-Class break or an Audi A6 Avant, yet of the upper category. It is also very close to the future Skoda Superb SW, which has always been between two categories and is also renewed this year. The Passat is thus intended to be more livable, with improved legroom in the second row and increased boot volume: it reaches 690 liters in the 5-seater configuration (+ 40 l) and up to 1,920 l with the bench seat folded down (+ 140 L).
New look for a new life
The new Passat SW is distinguished by its new front end, with a more sculpted bonnet, new optics (matrix LEDs depending on the finish) connected by a light strip or even bumpers incorporating air curtains. The sides are also worked with a line of character crossing the handles (not flush) and wheel arches accommodating rims up to 19 inches. At the rear, the tailgate features a continuous LED strip incorporating a 3D light signature. The window is surmounted by a large rear spoiler in the continuity of the roof. Considerable effort has been made to improve the aerodynamics. The station wagon reaches a record value of Cx of 0.25 (against 0.31 previously), which makes it even more efficient.
On board, the new generation Passat introduces the latest generation of the MIB4 multimedia system. The central screen measures 12.9 inches as standard, and can climb to 15 inches as an option or depending on equipment. New 10.25-inch digital counters are also offered, and are now complemented by a head-up display directly on the windshield. Volkswagen specifies that the automatic transmission control is on a steering wheel switch like the ID.7 and ID.Buzz, which frees up space on the center console for additional storage. The manufacturer claims to have reworked the quality on board and the ergonomics (note the return of the old-fashioned physical keys on the steering wheel!), Just like the soundproofing with an acoustic windshield as standard. New equipment appears like ergoActive seats massaging and with automatic temperature adjustment or an improved voice assistant.
Up to 100 km range for plug-in hybrids
Based on the latest generation of the MQB Evo modular platform, the Passat SW is electrifying. In addition to conventional thermal engines such as the 2.0 TDI diesel (122, 150 or 193 hp) and the 2.0 TSI petrol (204 or 265 hp), the German station wagon receives a new 48V eTSI micro-hybrid version of 150 hp with deactivation of cylinders. Two new gasoline rechargeable hybrid engines are coming to the catalog. Accumulating 204 hp and 272 hp, they combine a new four-cylinder 1.5 TSI Evo2 with an electric motor and a 19.7 kWh battery (against 10.6 kWh previously). This increases the electric range up to 100 km depending on the brand. Recharging can be done on alternating current up to 11 kW (instead of 3.6 kW previously) and even, for the first time, on fast terminal in direct current up to 50 kW. Volkswagen specifies that all Passat SW have a DSG automatic gearbox, six or seven speeds depending on the engine, and a 4Motion all-wheel drive on the 265 hp TSI and 193 hp TDI. The model can also benefit from an optional DCC Pro adaptive suspension.
Marketing in early 2024
Offered in four finishes (Passat, Business, Elegance or R-Line), the new Passat SW makes its first public appearance at the IAA show in Munich on September 5. It will be marketed at the beginning of 2024, at a price still unknown for the moment.
Photos : DR.
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To sum up
Just fifty years old, the Volkswagen Passat definitively abandons the sedan body and only offers the SW station wagon for its ninth generation. A big change for one of the brand’s most popular models.