By on October 15, 2018

Volkswagen’s Passat has long been the choice for Euro-fetishists who believe themselves too good to purchase a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. That decision was easier to make in 2012, when VW moved 117,023 of them in the United States, diesel cars were still tolerated, and Japan had basically given up on styling its vehicles. But things are different now.

Diesel might as well be a four-letter word when not affixed to trucks and Japan’s automakers have gone mental with their newer designs. Volkswagen only sold 60,700 Passats in the U.S. last year. The automaker needs to work some real magic if it hopes to bring that number up in the years to come. While Europeans get ready to wrap their paws around an MQB-based Passat, Americans remain stuck with an older platform shared with China, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Fortunately, it looks like VW has been hard at work in Asia, delivering a sharp new sedan for the Chinese market that it might share with the U.S. next year. 

Incorporating elements from both the new Jetta and Arteon, China’s Passat still carries a familiar face. However, it’s longer and sleeker than what we’re accustomed to when viewed side-on. Roughly 3 inches longer than the European Passat, according to VWvortex, the Chinese model was likely tweaked to better accommodate rear-seat passengers — you know, because everyone in China is so tall.

While a bigger back door sounds like just the thing for Americans, history tells us that stretched Chinese models typically don’t make it here. Still, the sedan should maintain the faux fastback styling (it has a normal trunk) and same overall appearance when the MQB finally hits the shores of freedom. We would also wager that the upcoming European refresh will adopt the Chinese styling.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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25 Comments on “China’s New Volkswagen Passat Could Preview Upcoming U.S. Model...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It’s Dad of Jetta.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I randomly happened upon a sort of “hit ’em where they ain’t niche” on cars.com recently: low mileage ’13 MY Passats with manual transmissions and the 2.5L I5. You’re getting a tried and true powertrain, a stick shift to enjoy, and a roomy-as-heck family car, all for chump change because most people won’t touch a non-sporty stick shift sedan with a 10 foot pole. I’ve written positively about a rental ’16-ish Passat TSI+6spd auto I had a few years ago, but I truly believe the 2.5L would offer the least hassle long term, although it gives up a noticeable amount of fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      I had that 5-banger in a Golf and it’s an underrated engine. Not the best choice for scooting around urban areas, but get it on the open highway and it shines, especially with the manual transmission. Set the cruise at 80 and it will muscle up mountain grades without drama or downshifting. Just don’t expect more than 30 MPG, it ain’t happening.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        That’s where the 1.8TSI does well too, but at closer to 40mpg as I saw myself. But for longevity my money is on the 2.5L, I haven’t heard any horror stories. Then again neither have I heard anything much about the EA888 aside from some early cars overpressurizing crankcases and causing oil leaks at low mileage. The only other thing was some valvetrain trouble on a 1.4TSI that had been pretty seriously neglected with oil changes (variable timing mechanism and/or timing chain issues).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The 1.4 TSI only requires an oil change every 10,000 miles. I’d say that anyone who can’t manage this deserves whatever problems he gets.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            They might manage it, at jiffy lube using whatever dino stuff they have laying around. That’s my big issue with a lot of these new longer intervals on modern chain driven OHC motors (on domestics especially): a lot of American consumers are used to quite lackadaisical when it comes to maintenance and are used to their simple sturdy OHV-iron block GM cars just taking it all in stride without issue. All of a sudden we’re seeing all these chain stretching issues on a range of motors that were initially spec’d for 10k on dexos-2 approved synthetic. GM walked their OCI back to 7500 miles from what I recall. On a small turbocharged engine I’d keep an eye on the level and probably play it safe with 7500 mile changes. Most newer cars using 0W-20 seem to consume at least a bit, and some quite a bit.

          • 0 avatar

            Tesla does not need any motor oil and is much faster than this VW.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Tesla does not need any motor oil and is much faster than this VW.”

            I honestly can’t tell if that’s sarcasm?

          • 0 avatar

            No, that means that any ICE car sucks, not only VW Passat. It is like smart phone vs dumb phone.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    The model should have been launched in the US first, because if it’s launched in China first, it will look like a Chinese hand-me-down when it eventually reaches the shores of the civilized world.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Just what the US needs… another large sedan that won’t sell.

    Jetta is right sized with some showroom candy (ooo look at the digital dash!) but is mechanically cheap and nasty (booo lumpy 1.4T)

    I feel like VW is perpetually bitter with the US’ over our rejection over its unapologetically German lineup of the MKV era. The cars just seem cynically decontented and uninspired, outside of the GTI and GSW.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      nah, I think it’s more that they don’t really have a “premium” image and have to compete on price like everyone else. TDI was their “why buy” for at least a large segment of their customers, and we know what they did with that.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    I thought Chinese cars had bigger backseats so that middle-upper-middle managers and government officials could be driven to and from their offices. Is that not a thing anymore?

    • 0 avatar
      epc

      It is still very much the thing. That’s why, in the press photo of the rear seat, you see 2 expensive looking bottles of water in the center armrest cup holders.

      That’s also why I rolled my eyes when the writer wrote: “the Chinese model was likely tweaked to better accommodate rear-seat passengers — you know, because everyone in China is so tall.”

      People, please be a little less North America-centric in your “world” view. The Chinese market is bigger for the VW brand than the US. Even more so when you focus on the sedan segment. If you were the VW executive, would you also not launch this new Passat in China?

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Just Posky doing his anti-China thing – you know, all Chinese medicine is herbal and acupuncture and therefore useless, Chinese building standards are crap, and now Chinese are short people not deserving of big back seats in their cars. Low level horse manure projected by some guy who thinks he’s just so darn clever. I can discern a Posky article by the second paragraph before I even read the byline. The man majors in snide and superior remarks and writes utter tosh most of the time.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Yo, homie, ya BETTA GETTA JETTA.

    ‘Cuz your ride needs to be able to break-dance.

    That VW television ad campaign should get a nomination for the 20 Worst competition. What were they thinking??!!

  • avatar
    vehic1

    sportyaccordy: VW’s US sales over the last 5 years (2013-2017) total well above the total for 2003-2007; they’re probably not too broken up about it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Not sure what 03-07 has to do with anything; MKV era was from 06-10 or so where sales were relatively consistent

      Decontenting era started in 2012…. sales peaked, but then declined every year after until they brought the Atlas/Biguan into the mix. And the sedan/hatchback sales are still in freefall.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Admittedly I’m a VW fan but holy crap this is a beautiful car.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I like it. When the lease is over on my 17 Jetta I’ll take a hard look at whatever Passat they have in the US market.

    I’ve been doing 7500 mile oil changes on the 1.4t, even though it’s leased and VW says 10k intervals are fine, I just can’t bring myself to do it…partially because it makes me uncomfortable, partially because IF I happen to buy it at the end of the lease, I’ll feel better about keeping it in the fleet.

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