Will the New Passat Convince Enthusiasts to Opt for the Variant Model?

The Passat stands as Volkswagen’s sole representative in the midsize car segment. Widely beloved in our country, the Passat has particularly broken sales records with its sedan body type and has managed to establish itself as a symbol. Travelling eastward in Turkey, the likelihood of encountering a Passat increases, and in some cities, residents might feel as if access to any car other than a Passat is limited. With its B9 chassis set to hit the market in the first quarter of 2024, the New Passat will be exclusively produced in the Variant body type. Considering that the majority of Passat sales in our country are sedans, the question arises: Will the Variant body type continue to make the Passat the best-selling midsize car?

Volkswagen has maintained a design language that resonates with people—simple, dignified, and characterized by straight lines—for years. This design philosophy remains unchanged, and we can observe these distinctive features in the New Passat as well. Similar to the Golf, the Passat features a modest front grille, a relatively larger and single-piece main grille underneath, and flared fenders above the front wheels, imparting a muscular appearance. While the Passat shares some resemblance with the Golf from the front, particularly if it had adopted a similar design in the headlights, the two models might have been easily confused. It would have been beneficial for the front design to differentiate itself more from the Golf. In my opinion, the B9 Passat possesses a front design that is simple, elegant, and dignified, but it falls slightly below Volkswagen’s usual standards.

Passat truly presents a handsome profile from the side, reminiscent of the older Passat Variant model. The elongation of the wheelbase by 50 mm is evident in the side silhouette. The total lateral extension measures 144 mm. The side views of the front headlights and rear taillights are genuinely pleasing. Multi-spoke wheels, body-mounted mirrors, a slightly tapering roofline towards the rear, and the butterfly window line make the Passat stand out prominently in terms of design.

The rear design of the Passat Variant is, personally, my favorite aspect. The LED taillights consist of three rectangular units and are connected by a thin chrome strip, complemented by a slender illuminated bar. Similar to the taillights, the bumper design incorporates a chrome element and seamlessly blends the reflectors with piano black accents. Placing the model name with gaps below the license plate adds a distinctive touch to the rear view. If the design had chosen to hide the wiper under the elongated spoiler, especially as seen from a rear dimetric angle in the above photo, it could have elevated the premium appearance even further, providing a muscular vibe, particularly noticeable in the view of the front fender.

Passat’s interior allows you to control many functions through a physical-button-equipped steering wheel. The cabin features an abundance of gadgets, including a large digital display panel and a massive 15-inch touchscreen based on the MIB4 system. The touchscreen, oriented towards the driver, has been enhanced with more user-friendly menus based on user feedback. However, it has shifted away from physical buttons, a design choice that may be visually pleasing but raises questions about functionality. Definitely not the most practical decision, especially compared to current Volkswagen models. Interestingly, its platform sibling, the Superb, retains physical rotary buttons for managing climate and media on the same screen. The inclusion of these physical buttons in the Superb suggests that Passat’s touchscreen-only approach is a matter of preference rather than a technical limitation. It would have been preferable if they could seamlessly integrate this enormous touchscreen into the design. Aside from that, everything else in the interior is of high quality, minimalist, and aligns with the aesthetic Passat users are accustomed to. Well, except for one thing. 🙂

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a traditional gear lever; some Volkswagen models have had shift paddles on the center console. However, given that the Passat is a higher-end vehicle, it needed to differentiate itself. In a manner befitting premium cars, Volkswagen engineers relocated the gear selector behind the steering wheel. Wasn’t this what Ferdinand Piech wanted? He aimed to position Volkswagen as the main competitor to Mercedes-Benz and Audi as the main rival to BMW. Taking cues from what your main competitor does well is, in my opinion, a smart move. When evaluating the Passat, it might be more accurate to consider it not just as a Volkswagen but as a rival to the C-Class. The presence of shift paddles is also a nice detail that adds to the overall driving experience.

The most appealing physical feature of the Variant is undoubtedly its enormous 690-liter trunk capacity. When the seats are folded down, this capacity can be expanded to an impressive 1920 liters. The inclusion of features such as a luggage cover, hooks, hook counterparts, a ski loading aperture in the middle of the rear seats, and the ability to fold the rear seats from the trunk are all quite practical. While the LED trunk lighting is nice, the addition of two more LED lights would have been even more practical for a trunk of this size.

Passat buyers prioritize comfort, and Volkswagen engineers have done an excellent job in this regard. They have developed enhanced sound insulation to counter the potential increase in wind noise due to the expanded cabin volume. Additionally, the aerodynamic improvements, reflected in the 0.25 Cd coefficient of friction, will likely reduce wind noise compared to the previous generation.

The introduction of the new ergoActive seats with massage features and the optional DCC Pro (Dynamic Chassis Control) suggests that the B9 Passat is set to elevate comfort to new heights. Developed on the MQB Evo platform, the B9 Passat will offer a wide range of engines. The dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG) will be standard across all engines, with eHybrid options featuring a 6-speed eDSG, while other engines will come with a 7-speed DSG.

According to a mobility study conducted in Germany, 95% of car journeys are shorter than 50 kilometers, and 99% are shorter than 100 kilometers. The Passat eHybrid models, with a capacity of 19.7 kWh, anticipate that 99% of journeys within a 100-kilometer range will be made using electric power. This is quite an ambitious claim. The eHybrid models will have a fast-charging capability of 11 kW AC and 50 kW DC, which means you can charge the battery in approximately 24 minutes, provided there are no limitations on the battery.

The Passat, equipped with IQ.Light LED Matrix headlights, ensures excellent illumination, while the new Head-Up Display (HUD) helps you drive without diverting your gaze from the road. With Park Assist Pro, offering fully automated parking, the Passat recognizes your pre-recorded multi-stage parking maneuvers when you approach the relevant location, prompting you to park with a single-button assist. Although this feature is expected to be operational in Turkey from mid-2024, the Passat, with its Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities, promises significant conveniences and safety on both long-distance and urban drives, including emergencies.

What are your thoughts on the B9 Passat? Do you think it will continue to be a beloved and top-selling model in our country?

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