Declining sedan sales have pushed General Motors and Ford to abandon some segments, but Volkswagen isn’t following suit as the company will introduce the 2020 Passat in Detroit. We get an early view of the car thanks to our friends from Wheelsage who tipped us off on these pictures.
Despite being billed as an all-new model, the 2020 Passat is reportedly an extensive facelift of the existing North American sedan. Volkswagen only sold 41,401 Passats in the United States last year, so the company probably felt they couldn’t recoup the costs of a full design.
It looks like China’s redesigned Passat, doesn’t it?
Regardless of their reasoning, the 2020 Passat adopts a new front fascia with a larger grille and restyled headlights. This particular model has also been equipped with the R-Line exterior package which adds an aggressive front bumper, faux fender vents and stylish two-tone alloy wheels.
The sportier styling continues aft of the A-pillar as the Passat gains sleeker bodywork and a more pronounced shoulder line. One of the biggest changes occurs around the third quarter window as subtle curves give the family sedan a more modern appearance.
Out back, the Passat has been equipped with a new truck that features an integrated rear spoiler and slimmer taillights. The R-Line package also adds a black spoiler and black trim around the car’s new exhaust tips. Overall, it strongly resembles the new Passat for the Chinese market that was revealed late last year.
Interior gets a makeover too
Moving into the cabin, drivers will find a new dashboard with restyled air vents which appear to span nearly the full width of the cabin. This is simply a styling trick, but it helps to eliminate the expanse of black plastic which was seen on its predecessor.
Many of the components appear to carryover, but designers installed a new instrument cluster and an updated infotainment system. We can also see revised trim and additional gloss black accents.
What drives the people’s sedan
Motivation will reportedly be provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 174 hp (129 kW / 176 PS) and 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) of torque. It will be connected to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.
While previous Passats were available with a 3.6-liter VR6 engine that produced 280 hp (208 kW / 283 PS) and 258 lb-ft (349 Nm) of torque, the option was quietly dropped from the 2019 Passat. Reports have also suggested it won’t be making a return on the 2020 model.
The updated Passat will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show tomorrow, so stay tuned for full details.