9th Gen Volkswagen Passat Debuts In Estate-Only Form

The new Passat also packs a PHEV powertrain that is capable of full-electric driving for 100 km.  

Volkswagen has recently revealed its upcoming 9th generation of Passat, and the big news here is that it will only be available in one body style: an estate. 

Yes, gone is the sedan shape that once was synonymous with this iconic VW nameplate, but what is lost with the three-box silhouette has nevertheless been replaced with oodles of practicality. Not least because this latest generation is stretched by 144 mm in length and 20 mm in width over its predecessor, which in turn sees its cargo capacity increase by 40 litres to 690 litres with the seats up and by a whopping 140 litres to 1,490 litres with the seats folded flat relative to the prior Passat estate. 

It is also not just in physical practicality that this newly revealed Passat estate has impressive figures, as if equipped with either of the two new plug-in hybrid powertrains on offer, its massive 19.7 kWh drive battery will apparently enable up to 100 km of pure electric driving on a full charge. By fully charging the battery and brimming the 45-litre fuel tank too, Volkswagen claims for both these eHybrid variants will achieve up to 1,000 km before having to stop for a go-juice top up. 

Marketed as eHybrids by Volkswagen, the PHEV powertrains consists of a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine and six-speed DSG gearbox working together with an electric motor. Two flavours of power output is available with this new Passat, with the more sensible option delivering 201 hp and 350 Nm of torque, while the hotter tune pumps out a combined 268 hp and 400 Nm of torque. VW has also implemented support for DC fast-charging at 50 kW, such that the drive battery can be filled from 10 to 80 percent in approximately 25 minutes.

Aside from the PHEV variants however, Volkswagen is also offering for the first time ever with the Passat a mild-hybrid powertrain option, which comes in the form of a 148 hp 1.5 eTSI unit mated to a 48 V mild-hybrid drive unit. There is nevertheless also the conventional pure petrol 2.0-litre TSI and diesel 2.0-litre TDI options available too, with power figures ranging from between 121 hp for the lowest-end oil burner to 261 hp for the highest-trim petrol-drinking 4Motion variant. 

And just continuing on the topic of conventional, Volkswagen has sensibly decided for a rather conventional styling approach with this sensible estate. A set of new developed matrix LED headlights frames the new friendly VW corporate face of this fresh Passat, while its rear is given a bit of bling courtesy of a full-width LED light bar. 

As for its interior meanwhile, Volkswagen has unfortunately continued its much-criticised corporate habit of getting rid of as many physical controls as possible and moving everything into the standard central 12.9-inch (or upgraded 15-inch) central infotainment screen. Other interior features worth highlighting within the new Passat are to be its standard 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, the option for heated, ventilated and 14-way electrically adjustable front seats, as well as a newly enlarged central cubby that comes courtesy of moving the gear selector onto the steering column. 

The new Passat will officially make its public debut next week at IAA Munich, with sales of this now Slovakian-assembled estate likely to begin early next year. Prices for this wagon have yet to be officially revealed yet, as is the possibility of it making its way over to our shores. 

PRESS RELEASE: 50 years, 34 million Passat vehicles. Exactly 50 years ago, one of the most successful Volkswagen vehicles was launched: the Passat. With more than 34 million units sold worldwide, it is the top-selling Volkswagen of all time after the Golf and ahead of the Beetle. At the world premiere at the IAA Mobility in Munich (5 to 9 September 2023), Volkswagen will present all the details of a completely newly developed Passat to the public for the first time. The new Passat will be launched as a versatile Variant in the first quarter of 2024. Clean and powerful – the new design is clearly Passat, clearly Volkswagen and yet clearly new from every perspective. The innovative range of three new plug-in and mild hybrid drives and five turbo petrol and turbo diesel engine variants is characterised by efficiency. The quiet and spacious Passat Variant offers a high level of travel comfort and will be optionally available with new adaptive running gear (DCC Pro) and new ergoActive seats (with pneumatic pressure point massage). Volkswagen has completely newly developed the intuitive operation and progressive features of the fourth-generation modular infotainment matrix (MIB4). The new Passat can also optionally park independently and cover long distances in assisted driving mode.

Progressive MQB evo. The latest evolutionary stage of the modular transverse matrix platform (MQB evo) forms the high-tech basis of the ninth Passat generation. Future customers will benefit from the significant economies of scale offered by this high-tech matrix platform. That is because a host of new systems are used on board this bestselling model and their development costs are shared across all MQB product lines. In this way, Volkswagen is democratising innovations and making them available to hundreds of thousands of vehicle drivers worldwide.

New plug-in and mild hybrid drives. The technical highlights include two completely new plug-in hybrid drives (eHybrid) with a system output of 150 kW (204 PS) and 200 kW (272 PS). In combination with a new 19.7 kWh battery (net energy content), they make all-electric ranges of around 100 km possible. This distance turns the new Passat Variant into an electric vehicle for everyday life. Taking Germany as an example: according to a study published by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport, 95 per cent of all car journeys are shorter than 50 kilometres and 99 per cent shorter than 100 km. These journeys can now be driven purely electrically with a Passat Variant eHybrid. In addition, the efficient combination of an electric drive motor and new turbocharged petrol engine (1.5 TSI evo2) ensures overall ranges of around 1,000 km. The Passat will also be available for the first time with a 48 V mild hybrid drive (eTSI with 110 kW / 150 PS). Two turbo petrol (2.0 TSI) engines with 150 kW (204 PS) and 195 kW (265 PS) as well as three turbo diesel (2.0 TDI) engines with 90 kW (122 PS), 110 kW (150 PS) and 142 kW (193 PS) complete the powertrain range. An automatic and efficient direct shift gearbox (DSG) is always standard. The Passat models with an output of 195 kW and 142 kW always have the intelligently controlled 4MOTION all-wheel drive system on board as standard; all other Passat Variant vehicles have front-wheel drive.

High-tech cockpit and running gear. Volkswagen has completely redesigned the interior. Particularly striking is the clearly arranged, large display landscape – stylish, functional and progressive. The technical basis is the MIB4: the latest generation of the modular infotainment matrix enables intuitive operation systematically designed to meet the wishes of Volkswagen drivers. The adaptive chassis control DCC Pro represents a new level of running gear technology; its spread between maximum dynamics and the highest level of comfort sets benchmarks in the mid-sized class. The newly developed ergoActive Plus seats with pneumatic 10-chamber pressure point massage function offer high travel comfort. Thanks to a 50 mm longer wheelbase with also 50 mm more legroom in the rear, a luggage compartment capacity of up to 1,920 litres and convenience systems derived from the Touareg such as the new massage seats, the Passat Variant is also ideally suited as an all-rounder for business and leisure.

Feel at home on board. The Passat Variant is the ideal touring and business vehicle thanks to the interplay of spaciousness, carefully coordinated high-quality materials, pleasant haptics and operability of all elements, high seating comfort and low level of noise while driving. With the new generation of its bestseller, Volkswagen once again has another vehicle in its range where the higher class boundary no longer applies.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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