Tuesday, July 28, 2020

2020 Volkswagen Passat SE: The Brand’s Traditional Design Midsize Sedan

Highlight: An in-vehicle Hotspot service is available.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $26,855 (Base S Model: $23,915)

Seating Capacity: 5

Safety Features: ABS; air bags; rearview camera; heated integrated mirrors with turn signals; front assist system; a blind spot monitor system; an automatic post collision braking system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a compact spare tire

Standard Features S: 17-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; a four wheel independent suspension; chrome exhaust pipes; automatic headlights; 6.3-inch infotainment screen; cloth seats; manual control front seats; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a manual operated ventilation system

Standard Features SE: a keyless entry system; a push button ignition starter system; a remote starter system; leather-like seats; a power driver’s seat; heated front seats; a leather steering wheel; a dual automatic ventilation system; rain-sensing wipers; an automatic rearview mirror; a radar assisted cruise control system; a lane assist system and two USB ports in rear center console

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: Sunroof

Other Trims:

S Plus

SE Plus



Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM with SiriusXM satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Smartphone/Android- AppleCar Play Compatibility: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder/174-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/34-hwy

What’s New: For the 2020 model year, the brand’s midsize sedan has undergone a midcycle refresh. VW’s design team has enhanced the exterior design theme, updated the interior and infused some of the latest technology into the new Passat.

Why: The updated Passat is available only in a front wheel drive configuration. The roomy midsize sedan, which offers loads of legroom, is available in four trims: S, SE, R-Line and SEL.

While the folks at VW has redesigned the sheetmetal of the vehicle, giving the big body sedan a fresh and more contemporary look and feel, the overall essence of the Passat is still the same. Such unique touches as standard LED headlights and taillights, as well as new grille and headlights slightly alters the overall appearance of this year’s VW.

Inside the vehicle, one will notice the immense changes VW’s design team has made to rework the instrument panel too. The instrument panel incorporates a more modern design theme. Unlike a number of its competitors, one won’t find a stand-alone iPad-like screen, which houses the audio, ventilation and navigation system. VW’s interior design team has managed to incorporate the systems with their easy-to-use MIB II Infotainment touchscreen, which is neatly integrated into the instrument panel.

The Passat also offers the latest safety driving aids too, ranging from a blind spot monitor to a rear cross traffic alert system to a radar activated cruise control system to a parking steering assist system too. Some of the features noted are on available on designated trims.

And the vehicle offers many luxury touches too. Depending on trim one can load their vehicle up with such features as heated seats, leather seats, a push button starter, a navigation system, an automatic climate control system and a higher end 400-watt audio system.

Moreover, buyers seeking a sportier appearance can step up to the R-Line, which offers a bolder look, 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and a blacked grille.

But: While the other midsize sedans are adding all-wheel drive configurations, a panoramic roof and a more hatchback-like design cues to add flair to the dwindling segment, the Passat has steered clear of going down that road - focusing on traditionalism, while adding a few modern touches.

Also with this being one of the largest vehicles in the midsize segment, one would expect a more big car ride like the Chevy Impala. However, despite the vehicle’s fullsize look, its quite obvious the ride and handling is more like the traditional midsize cars.

Lastly, the Passat is only available with one powertrain. Some of the competitors offers both a gasoline and a hybrid configuration. With the additional powertrains, the competition offers more horsepower too.

Verdict: For those seeking a traditional looking family sedan, with loads of interior room, the VW Passat is a great alternative to many of today’s swoopy designs.

Competition: Chevy Malibu; Honda Accord; Hyundai Sonata; Kia Optima (K5); Nissan Altima; and Subaru Legacy


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