Timing couldn’t be worse for the launch of the 2016 Volkswagen Passat. But the unveiling went on as planned in New York Monday despite the fact two top execs opted not to attend amid the growing emissions test cheating scandal facing the automaker.
VW debuted a classier-looking, better-equipped Passat that will go on sale later this fall. The Passat’s facelift starts with a bit more aggressive styling. It gets a new hood, front fenders, grille, front and rear bumpers and trunklid. It’s also the first VW sedan to offer LED head and taillights as an option. Volkswagen says the only sheetmetal that remains unchanged is the roof, the doors, and the body side stamping.
“We applied a progressive design strategy with the new Passat, giving the car a dynamic presence and a more sophisticated look,” said Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design, Volkswagen. ”We have integrated several new design elements, including a sculpted, domed hood that significantly sets the car apart from its predecessor.”
The new Passat is also the first to get the sportier R-Line package that includes black accents, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and a custom front bumper, along with 19” anthracite Salvador aluminum-alloy wheels shod with 235/40 ZR rated tires.
Inside, the 2016 Passat Volkswagen upgraded the cabin to give a more sophisticated look and feel. A new instrument panel features two large gauges and the center stack incorporates VW’s newly unveiled MIB II infotainment system. The interior also features upgraded materials, a new steering wheel and column stalk design, two-tone décor panels, and refined chrome and piano black trim. Heatable rear seats are a new available feature, along with Easy-Open keyless access that opens the trunk via moving a foot near the rear of the vehicle.
Let’s talk powertrains. You have your pick of three engines: the 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI four cylinder; 2.0-liter TDI; and the 3.6-liter VR6 engine, which makes 280 horsepower—one of the highest outputs in the midsize sedan class. The 2016 Passat 1.8T has an EPA estimated highway fuel economy rating of 38 mpg with the automatic transmission.
Expect pricing to start around $22,440, which is the same price as the previous base model when equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The new Passat will be built at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant.