Volkswagen’s Passat has ceased production in the U.S., but the unrelated European car bearing the same name is getting ready to be reborn, and it’s taking on some styling and tech cues from its Golf and ID brothers.
SUVs might be replacing sedans, wagons and MPVs as the number one choice for family transport, but these pictures show Volkswagen is sticking to the traditional Passat recipe, and not taking the 50-year-old model down the crossover road. Rumours suggest that the B9 Passat, which will ride on an updated version of the MQB platform, will grow slightly in size versus the current car, and be the final iteration to be offered with combustion power.
This prototype’s disguised production shell looks fairly conservative, which has been a Passat USP for most of its life, but the body appears wider and lower thanks to a reduced window height. And it looks like things are even more forward-thinking on the inside. Our latest pictures show that the 2024 Passat will adopt a tablet touchscreen, bringing it into line with recently introduced VW products like the Mk8 Golf and all-electric ID.4 SUV.
That might not be good news for drivers because many people find the touch-sensitive sliders used to control functions like the cabin temperature on the Golf and ID cars incredibly frustrating. We’re hoping that the Passat also has some extra hard keys to give easy access to often-used controls, but we’re not holding our breath.
The steering wheel also appears to adopt the touch-sensitive (and in our experience, equally annoying) steering wheel buttons found on the Golf, but the spy pics reveal one feature that you won’t find on a Golf Mk8. This prototype shows that VW has moved the automatic shift controller for DSG transmission cars from the console to a column stalk, presumably freeing up some space between the seats.
We don’t know whether that means VW will only offer dual-clutch transmissions in the B9 Passat, or whether lower-grade cars will still get a manual option and a different console when the 2024 car arrives in 2023, but a mix of mild-hybrid and PHEV engine options are guaranteed to feature in the lineup.
Image credit: Andreas Mau/CarPix