Here’s two new 2014 VW Passats for the price of one: it’s the regular four-door saloon and five-door estate model, spotted testing in Spain.
Both cars are expected to be launched early in 2015, after a debut at the 2014 Paris motor show, and like the new Golf, will use a new underpinnings to increase cabin space, save weight, and cut costs for VW’s profit-hungry machine.
What do we know about the new VW Passat?
The redesign is a real copycat job of the new Mk7 Golf. That means while there’s no design revolution on the outside, there's an all-new platform hidden under the skin aiming to make the Passat a less mediocre drive yet cheaper to run.
Styling wise, expect a refinement of the current ‘B7’ generation, albeit with more sharply defined body creases, LED lights and a bolder, more three-dimensional grille. The slimline horizontal cues from the Golf Sportsvan concept are expected to be applied to the new Passat, giving a wider, lower look.
If you’re hankering after a more compelling bodystyle, wait for the four-door coupe CC replacement (officially no longer called a Passat, of course), which is set to offer buyers Mercedes CLS-aping looks at A-class prices when it lands in 2015.
Underneath, the 2014 Passat will be the biggest car to use VW’s modular MQB platform. MQB is the VW Group’s lightweight architecture, which allows engine, drivetrain and subframe sharing between anything from a Polo-sized supermini to a full-size family estate. It’s already being used to underpin the VW Golf, Audi A3, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon, and will also be utilised in the next Audi TT and VW Scirocco sports coupes.
The new chassis will save around 75kg in weight against the outgoing Passat, which itself is a heavily facelifted version of the ‘B6’ model first seen way back in 2005. MQB is also a more space-efficient piece of kit, so the new Passat will have a roomier cabin and bigger boot, despite not swelling hugely in exterior dimensions. Expect that cabin to get a high-quality quasi-Phaeton makeover, as per the Mk7 Golf. It’ll need to be a sumptuous cabin to match the likes of the tech-tastic new Ford Mondeo and Mercedes C-class rivals.
All engines will be turbocharged, and all will have four cylinders – the 3.0-litre VR6 engine is well and truly dead thanks to new emissions legislation, and slow sales. Petrol motors range from a 130bhp 1.4-litre to a 250bhp 2.0-litre, but the big draw for fleet buyers and eco-conscious punters are the diesels.
Top of the eco charts is the 1.6-litre diesel Bluemotion, good for 105bhp but potentially capable of around 75mpg. A plug-in hybrid version using technology from the VW’s efficiency hero, the space-age looking XL1, is also being slated as a future Passat eco flagship. Of course, ‘4Motion’ all-wheel drive is set to be an option across the range, as is a paddleshift dual-clutch gearbox.