In the Middle East we’re due for the US-spec Volkswagen Passat, but the Europeans get all the good bits to themselves, like a feature that allows the car to drive itself at over 200km/h
Last month at the Detroit motor show the American public got an early look at the 2020 Volkswagen Passat and the unveiling was relevant to us too since this is the model we’ll be getting in the Middle East later this year.
Since this is Volkswagen we’re talking about – the people who consider grey to be the boldest colour in the light spectrum – from the outside the car looks like a Passat and when you step inside you get some more Passat. Also, 19-inch wheels, LEDs, and some doors, bumpers, and windows.
In the US customers will get the new Passat powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 174 horsepower, but it’s still out in the open whether our GCC-spec cars will carry on with the ageing 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine rated at 170 horsepower and driving the front wheels with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Now just to rub it in our faces a little more, Volkswagen is about to reveal another European-spec Passat at next month’s Geneva motor show, which is like the Detroit show Passat only better. A highlight is the Passat GTE, with a plug-in hybrid system rated at 215 horsepower and capable of covering up to 70km in zero-emissions mode.
The best bit in the Euro Passat is a feature Volkswagen calls Travel Assist, making this model the first VW capable of partially automated driving at speeds of up to 210km/h. Additionally it’s also the first VW ever to come with a capacitive steering wheel which detects your finger tips for multifunctional features on the wheel spokes.
Although saloon sales are on a slowdown globally, Motormouth spoke to a Volkswagen Middle East representative who says that on the back of positive Arteon sales in our region, the Passat is expected to boost figures this year once it lands in the UAE by the fourth quarter. Currently the Passat commands 16 percent of VW’s total sales in the Gulf, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon. Fleet managers love ‘em.