Mid-cycle updates from VAG are usually subtle, but maybe the refreshed midsize sedan will be an exception.
While the U.S. will finally get an all-new Passat in 2019 to replace the aging model, Europeans will be given the opportunity to buy a refreshed version of the much newer MQB-based midsize model later this year. Announced mid-March, the facelifted Passat in Euro attire hasn’t been caught on camera by spies just yet, but knowing how VW refreshes its cars, it’s not that difficult to imagine the nip and tuck the designers have been working on for the sedan and wagon.
Having seen the closely related Arteon as well as the recently introduced Touareg, one could assume the Passat will also be getting VW’s shiny new grille that “meets” the headlights. It probably won’t be as imposing as it is on the two more expensive models, but even so it should breathe new life into the Passat.
Slightly modified bumpers and updated lighting clusters are also expected, but the changes will likely be on a subtle level as it was the case with the Golf 7.5. VW hasn’t shared any details about the tweaked Passat, other than saying it will continue to be available as a more practical Variant (wagon) and as a hybrid (GTE).
Don’t get your hopes up too high about the Passat getting the Touareg’s fancy Innovision Cockpit with the 15-inch touchscreen as that would require some extensive changes to the dashboard, changes which would be more suitable for a next-gen model rather than a mere facelift. Nevertheless, some new tech could be implemented like extra safety systems and a revised infotainment system. The new luxury SUV is the first model from the VW core brand to get a night vision system and perhaps the folks from Wolfsburg will offer the thermal imaging camera as an option for the Passat as well.
What we’d really like to see is a performance version to slot above the current 280-hp model taking into account VW is cooking up a new turbocharged V6 for the Arteon with well over 300 horsepower. It would serve as a spiritual successor for sporty Passat models such as the R36 (pictured above) with its 3.6-liter VR6 engine. However, this is just wishful thinking for now.