Detroit 2011: Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Bigger is better. At least that’s what Volkswagen is telling its North American audience after creating a unique Passat just for them. To clear any confusion the European Passat is our Passat and should be in Australian showrooms sometime after March. Meanwhile, the ‘mericans will have to wait until August to get their hands on their Passat.

The Euro Passat, revealed last September, is too slim for the Yanks. This New Midsize Sedan, then, gets 91mm added to its wheelbase, an extra 13mm to its girth and a whole lot more bland added to its styling. And that’s saying something; the Passat is hardly the most exciting model Volkswagen has ever produced.

If anything their Passat looks like an upsized Jetta. And, let’s face it, if it has been upsized, it must be better. That said, their Passat has also been produced to a price. Starting from US$20,000 their Passat is several thousand bucks cheaper than the old model. Partly helped by the fact their Passat will be made in the US at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant.

Actually, when you consider the current market rates, maybe the joke is on us. We can’t imagine getting our Passat on the roads here for anything less than about AU$45K.

More after the break. Including a really weird video—that fireball is straight from the Jeremy Clarkson school of daft marketing.

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen Passat (US market)

Volkswagen unveils new US-built Passat at Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen’s New Mid-size Sedan (NMS), which will be called the Passat, has been unveiled on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show.

Set to be built in an all-new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and designed specifically for the North American market, the new Passat aims to set benchmarks in efficiency, comfort and value when it goes on sale later this year with an estimated starting price of $20,000 (approx. £13,000).

Despite the familiar name the new Passat differs significantly from its European counterpart. Every external panel is new, with a look drawing on the styling of the seventh generation Passat yet featuring subtle changes to the window line, rear lights, bootlid and bumper as well as restyled doors and front wings. At 2,803 mm, the Passat’s wheelbase has been extended by 91 mm, while overall length grows to 4,868 mm (a gain of 99 mm) and the width is increased by 13 mm to total 1,833 mm when compared to the European version.

The result is a car that aims to offer class-leading interior space with generous rear legroom and a boot measuring 529 litres. It will also be well equipped with an insulating acoustic film applied to the windscreen to reduce road and wind noise, air conditioning, cruise control, a CD stereo system and Bluetooth all being fitted as standard. In addition, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), ABS with Brake Assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system will be fitted to every Passat.

Powering the new Passat sedan will be a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel engine is fitted with an oxidation catalytic converter, a particulate filter and an SCR catalytic converter to allow it to adhere to emissions standards across all 50 US states, and making it one of the cleanest and most efficient diesel engines in the world. This engine can be specified with either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.

Predicted to be fitted to two thirds of all Passats sold in North America, the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder petrol engine produces 170 PS, allowing the car to accelerate to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, this engine can also be specified with a six-speed automatic (torque converter) gearbox.

The range-topping engine will be a 3.6-litre V6 petrol unit developing 280 PS and 258 lbs ft of torque, with a six-speed DSG gearbox fitted as standard.

The new Passat will be launched in North America in August; there are no current plans to offer the car for sale in Europe.